Trial and error

Children in young people in trouble with the law

Young offenders don’t often generate much sympathy. With stories in the media everyday of teenage stabbings and gang warfare, many members of the public see youth offending as spiralling out of control.

But in reality it is only a small number of young people who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime. What many young people need, instead of custody, are opportunities and support to get back on the straight and narrow.

NPC’s report, Trial and error, explores the issue of youth offending and highlights some of the innovative and promising ways that charities are helping young people to stay out of trouble. The report, aimed at charities and funders, examines strengths and weaknesses within the youth justice sector, outlines the role government plays, and highlights areas where investment could create greatest impact.

Read Breaking the cycle, NPC’s report on adult prisoners and ex-offenders.

 For 16-year-old Michael (on a community sentence for drug offences) what worked was an intensive dance course run by the charity Dance United—it provided structure, support and a route out of offending.

Matthew von Poortvliet, report author