Guidance on a new approach to youth justice and female offending in Wales has been announced today.
The approach is outlined in new ‘blueprints’, which have been developed jointly with HM Prison and Probation Service and the Youth Justice Board Cymru.
The Youth Justice Blueprint and Female Offending Blueprint set out Wales’ key aspirations and guiding principles for women and young people in or at risk of entering the criminal justice system.
Focussing on early intervention and prevention, the blueprints recommend a holistic and rehabilitative approach to divert people away from crime and to support those who find themselves in the criminal justice system.
Whilst the UK government is responsible for justice in Wales, many of the services integral to helping people avoid crime and to help rehabilitate offenders such as health, housing, education and social services, are devolved to Wales.
The Thomas Commission is currently underway examining the future operation of the justice system in Wales. Due to report in the autumn, its findings will be factored into the work on the blueprints moving forward.
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, said:
“The blueprints we are publishing today are timely; they will help address many issues around female offending and youth justice, including those raised last week by the Welsh Affairs Select Committee specifically around youth justice and the creation of residential support for women in Wales.
“Too frequently people are caught up in the criminal justice system because they have been failed earlier in their lives, experiencing adverse childhood experiences sometimes well into their adult lives."
Jane Hutt continued:
“The Welsh Government is committed to working with a range of partner organisations on the delivery of the blueprints – an ongoing collaborative approach is key.”
Justice Minister for the UK government, Edward Argar, said:
“I am delighted to have worked closely with the Welsh Government on this important issue and to see these blueprints come to fruition today.
“It is important that within the context of the existing devolution framework, we have a distinct local approach for delivery on the ground in Wales - one which provides tailored support for offenders to boost rehabilitation and diverts people away from crime for good.
“These new blueprints will build on the work we are already doing to better support offenders in Wales and help to break the cycle of offending.”