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Most young criminals re-offend after jail

The Local · 20 Oct 2011, 15:39

Published: 20 Oct 2011 15:39 GMT+02:00

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Delegates at a conference on youth incarceration in Greifswald heard that increased staffing of the 29 juvenile detention facilities since 1994 had reduced the re-offending rate by nine percent.

“But many former criminals do not cope with their sudden freedom, are unsatisfactorily integrated into society and end up committing new crimes,” said criminology professor Frieder Dünkel at the conference. He said that up to 40 percent of re-offenders commit crimes serious enough to return to prison.

The major trouble identified by the academics at the conference was the lack of provision to help young criminals prepare for life on the outside.

A study by Greifswald University showed a reduction in young criminals being allowed holidays during their sentence, from 8.3 percent in 2006 to 5.8 percent last year, while day release programmes are only run in five of the 16 German states.

The restrictive practices result in young convicts being unable to find their way once they have served their sentences, said Dünkel.

The number of staff, social workers and psychologists employed in youth detention centres has increased over the last few years, so that on average each social worker takes care of 17 young prisoners now – in comparison with 31 four years ago. The number of probation officers has also increased.

But projects which help prepare young people for life after prison are still too thin on the ground, the conference heard.

Youth crime has become a hot topic in Germany in recent months, as a number of violent attacks particularly on public transport, have hit the headlines, with teenagers often being the perpetrators.

Story continues below…

An 18-year-old was sentenced to nearly three years in prison last month for attempted manslaughter after kicking a man in the head as he lay defenceless on the ground in a Berlin metro station.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:00 October 20, 2011 by Englishted
If they can't cope with their sudden freedom don't give it to them.
12:26 October 21, 2011 by moshe rosen
The time to get to these people is when they are children. When they are young they can still be led into constructive living. When they become adults and get entrenched in this type of lifestyle, it becomes so much more difficult to change these life style beheivors.

Conentrate the efforts to the young ones (8 to 18) and society will get more bang for it's buck. Hope is in the children.

Moshe in Berlin
12:46 October 21, 2011 by raandy
I agree ,the more effort and time that you put into the children the better.
23:19 October 21, 2011 by FN Cee
...re-offend largely due to lack of serious discomfort and punishment during their confinement ... the stronger the medicine, the more likely the cure ...
05:22 October 23, 2011 by jjc12

FN Cee, if that is the case, why are recidivism rates in the U.S. (in which you're around 8 times more likely to be locked up in the first place) so comparable?
06:16 October 23, 2011 by Sastry.M
The youth know if the age knows.If elders can spare time to care the young ones and behave in the way they expect their offspring to be modeled, most ills in society will automatically be corrected.Greedy desires of elders cause loss of confidence and nihilistic hopelessness in the youth leading to acts of crime to vent out pent up emotions.
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