According to a study by the University of Portsmouth, the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP), which sees offenders aged 10 to 17 put under supervision rather than in custody, is failing because 90% of offenders go on to commit more crimes.
Tom Ellis from the university’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies said: “It is clear, from whatever perspective you look at it, that ISSP doesn’t work. It is time to stop flogging a dead horse.”
The programme, which commenced in 2001 and incorporates crimes such as grievous bodily harm, robbery and burglary, has been condemned and ridiculed by a number of offenders, with one saying: “The ISSP is not a big part of my life. You just tell the workers what they want to hear and then carry on as normal.”
The Ministry of Justice, however, issued a statement saying that the study’s findings were not representative of the national picture and the government continues to believe that young people can be more effectively dealt with in the community, where all the issues that contribute to their offending can be tackled.
“Often for the first time, while the intensive programme of supervision is designed to tackle the root causes of offending behaviour – including education and training, inter-personal skills and family support,” the MoJ said.