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Monday, 5 November, 2001, 12:48 GMT
'Robust' scheme brings better behaviour
Electronic tagging
Offenders are tagged and given night-time curfews
Tailor-made penalties to keep young offenders out of trouble are showing early signs of success.

Several teenagers have already been put on the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) launched in east London by Home Secretary David Blunkett in July.

It's methods include tagging and night time curfews.

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) says the scheme is gathering pace and reports several early success stories.

The ISSP is no soft option. It gives magistrates a robust alternative to custodial sentences

Home Office minister Beverley Hughes
A YJB spokesman said a 14-year-old joyrider from Newham, east London, who was the first in the country to be put on an ISSP, has made great progress.

He said: "Youth offending team workers have noticed an immediate change in his behaviour because of the night-time curfew with an electronic tag.

"He is home by 9pm and getting a full night's sleep, rather than hanging out with peers until the early hours.

"He arrives for his supervision and activities half an hour early."

Individual schemes

The scheme, which allows social workers to design individual programmes for offenders, was set up in 41 areas across England and Wales with a 45m investment.

Some youths are electronically tagged and others have to respond to telephone calls, which verify their voice patterns.

This checks they are where they are supposed to be at certain times of the day.

Another 17-year-old boy from Rotherham, who has convictions for motoring offences, assault, burglary and criminal damage, is following a programme which includes a 28-hour motor vehicle course and literacy classes.

Home Office minister Beverley Hughes said: "The ISSP is no soft option.

"It gives magistrates a robust alternative to custodial sentences and remands for young hardcore repeat offenders - ensuring they are not just punished, but also made to take responsibility for their actions."

The ISSP's progress will be discussed at the Youth Justice Board's annual convention in London later this week.

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See also:

23 Aug 01 | UK
Youth justice: How it works
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