The Council of Ministers have outlined how Government plans to tackle the issues, including early intervention and alternative options to custody for young people, highlighted by the Youth Justice report.
The original report, from the Constitutional, Legal Affairs & Justice Committee, made several recommendations to improve the way the Island deals with juvenile offenders.
These recommendations included increasing the range of early intervention options, designed to support and prevent young people from becoming involved with crime before they come to the attention of the Police or Courts.
Council of Ministers accepted the spirit of the recommendations, but have proposed some amendments to the wording to reflect the work which is already underway.
One of the pieces of work which has already started is the new Community Safety Partnership (CSP). A cross government group of officers from the Departments of Health, Home Affairs and Education, as well as the Police, Probation services and Manx Care.
Where the Committee have recommended introducing a ‘Youth Justice Board’, mentions of this have been proposed to change to the CSP – as one of the aims of the group is to oversee the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub which will deliver early intervention programmes including youth justice work when it is put into operation over the coming months.
Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jane Poole-Wilson MHK, said:
‘The Council of Ministers made a commitment to early intervention to protect and support vulnerable children in the Island Plan, and the work around Youth Justice is an important part of that. The Committee’s report is extremely timely and highlights areas where we could be better supporting the young people in our community.
The Chief Constable highlighted in his last report that it is just a small number of juvenile offenders who were responsible for a large number of youth crimes. We hope that the work already underway to establish a new Community Safety Partnership will be able to use these recommendations to shape our youth justice in a way that creates opportunities for those young people to make positive changes.’
The Committee’s recommendations and the suggested amendments from Council of Ministers will be discussed at the February sitting of Tynwald.