Flagship Young Offenders Scheme To Close

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 76 months ago
Flagship Young Offenders Scheme To Close

A project to cut youth reoffending rates, already mired in controversy when the Mayor falsely or mistakenly claimed it was doing better than it was, is to close.

Project Daedalus, at Feltham's Heron Unit, aimed to get young offenders into jobs or education when they left. But only 50% were found places and just one in six stuck them out for at least six months. Money for the scheme came from a European fund and when it runs out this summer there'll be no more.

The Unit has also seen disappointing reoffending rates. Boris Johnson initially told people reoffending had dropped from 80% (the national headline rate) to below 20%, but was using figures his office had been told were preliminary (the row escalated to the point where the Mayor called the head of the UK Statistics Authority, a former private secretary to Margaret Thatcher, a "Labour stooge"). Last October the rate had risen to 40% and the final figure, likely to be higher, won't be known until summer. For a trial using low-risk offenders showing a "willingness to change", that's not particularly successful.

David Lammy is fuming. He told the BBC

A few years ago this was the flagship – you can't just discard it quietly, you've got to explain why you've decided to destroy it.

Which is a bit harsh – if it's not working, it's not working. Apparently Boris wants to set up a new initiative if he's re-elected (though we're pretty sure any candidate will want to do something about turning young people's lives around) and is being urged to spend money on early interventions.

Photo by n.a. from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 01 March 2012

Susan Jamson

Chickenshed Theatre is thrilled that Boris will want to set up a
new initiative to offer young people alternatives and choices  if he is re-elected, or, if  he isn’t elected to be the next Mayor, then
his successor will also want to do something about turning young people’s lives
around. 

 

Chickenshed has been working at achieving this since it started
in 1974. Since 2009 following three tragic deaths of teenagers associated with
the Company, we have embarked on an initiative to stop our young people picking
up knives and spreading the disease that comes with gang involvement.

 

Our production, Crime of the Century has been touring the UK for
three years and has received massive praise from educators and workers in the
front line working with young people. 
Many have asked to see the production in their areas and schools.  Chickenshed not only performs this powerful
show, but also offers workshops which allow young people to share their
experiences, voice their fears and interact with other young people.  Communication is the key to understanding
what is happening to our young people.

 

Most recently Chickenshed has partnered with Tottenham Hotspur
Football Club to create opportunities that will change lives by using sport and
the performing arts as a vehicle for positive change.  We have created programmes specifically to
tackle criminality and violent behaviour by offering an alternative pathway
through sport and performance.  We will
be training young people to become peer mentors and as the Olympics,
Paralympics and Special Olympics come nearer, we will use these themes to allow
participants to discover each other’s unique qualities.

 

People who have seen Crime of the Century have said:

 

 “…if the twenty first century
will be remembered as the time we let our children kill each other, Chickenshed
will be remembered as the theatre company who had the guts to ask how and why.”

Time Out ****

 

“It would be senseless for this production
not to tour every senior school in Britain. The poignancy and power of
Chickenshed’s piece earns it the right to be noticed and commended; not only by
theatre critics but by politicians.”

What’s on
Stage *****