Site Meter

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Prison scheme that slashed re-offending to be extended

Prison scheme that slashed re-offending to be extended

A prison project that has slashed youth re-offending rates by 64 per cent is to be rolled out across London.

Project Heron, launched last year at Feltham young offender institution, gives intensive targeted support to 15 to 21-year-olds, and has seen reoffending fall from 78 per cent to 14 per cent.

Justice minister Nick Herbert visited the unit in west London with Mayor Boris Johnson to launch the extension.


Mr Herbert said: 'The Heron Unit is an innovative approach to tackling crime and an excellent example of breaking the cycle of reoffending.

'The 14 per cent reoffending rate is much lower than the average and shows what can be achieved. The current success of the Unit is a credit to the hard work of prison staff, police, councils, youth offending teams and other frontline services. This is a great example of successful joint effort and I hope that we can build on this programme.'

Mr Johnson said: 'I'm pleased that a year after it opened it has one of the lowest re-conviction rates in the country.

'I'm now funding resettlement support for young offenders across the city and hope it will really drive down youth crime and make our communities better places to live in.'

Dedicated unit

Young offenders at the Heron Unit are provided with a key worker to help them with education or in finding a job while inside prison and, crucially, during and after release.

It is the UK's first dedicated resettlement unit for teenagers and two ex-Heron boys have already secured university places, while over the last six months 70 per cent have gone on to employment, education, or training.

The Mayor is now providing £9 million until 2012 to a number of organisations, including Nacros, St Giles Trust, Catch 22, Serco and the London Probation Trust, to deliver resettlement support.

'Own business'

A former young offender at the Heron Unit said: 'The staff help you with everything from putting together your CV, to dealing with any family issues you have.

'Now they call me once a week and see how I'm doing which I really appreciate, especially if I've got anything on my mind I need help with.'

He added: 'Since leaving the unit I've done work experience and I've started university. I think I can do something with my life now and I'd like to have my own business.'

No comments: