Too many young offenders of non-violent/non-serious crimes are processed through the prison system at an early age and are becoming institutionalised career criminals. Prison is not an environment conducive to rehabilitation. My proposal gives young offenders a meaningful second chance and keep them out of prison.
I propose a scheme to keep young offenders of non-violent/non serious crimes out of prison and create a conditional amnesty for first time offenders to clear their criminal record if they do not re-offend for 3 years.
The scheme will have four elements:
1. It will provide a mentoring system where offenders are matched with a relatable mentor from their own community, ethnic and socio-economic background. The mentor will continue to be part of their lives as someone who can help set goals, offer advice and understand the challenges they will face.
2. To earn the amnesty they have to enrol on an educational/vocational programme that will give them a qualification that will lead either to employment or an apprenticeship.
3. Additionally the young person should get involved in a community project, possibly helping other young or vulnerable people.
4. They will also be required to take part in a sport either coaching or participating themselves.
If at the end of three years they have earned the qualification and are in position to get a job, have continued to work positively within their chosen community project and have remained engaged with the sporting scheme they will have their criminal record wiped clean.