Here's from a piece by Ben Byrne in UK's The Guardian. In these first few paragraphs he makes a concise case for Restorative Justice for youth offenders:

Every local authority is grappling with the challenge of increasing demand for services at a time of severe financial constraint. To meet this challenge we will need new partnerships and new relationships with our residents to help us solve local problems.

One way to approach this challenge is to put restorative practice at the heart of a local authority's work. Surrey's restorative story started in youth justice and our impressive results mean we have tried to spread the principle across the work of the county council.

We know that 70% of young people who get into trouble with the police do so only once, so we don't want to send that vast majority into adulthood with the burden of a criminal record that never goes away. Together with Surrey police, we have tried a different way of responding to young people who get into trouble.

The cornerstone of this project is youth restorative intervention (YRI). This means that, before any decision is made to caution or prosecute a young person, the file on the young person goes to a co-located team made up of our staff and police officers who contact the victim and offender, get an understanding of what has happened and help to repair the harm that has been done.

What this restorative intervention brings is a level of understanding and problem solving largely absent from many of our formal criminal justice responses. It requires those who are affected to identify the best means to move forward. Many young people just need to say sorry, acknowledge their mistake, and both they and their victim can move on.

Read the rest, which further discusses the success of restorative practices in Surrey: Helping people to help themselves | Local government network | Guardian Professional.

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