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Saturday, 30 June, 2001, 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK
Blunkett targets young offenders
Young offenders' institution
Many young offenders are not detained
Home Secretary David Blunkett is planning a new crackdown on young offenders.

Mr Blunkett is expected to announce a "two strikes and you're out" policy when a major review of sentencing is published on Thursday.

The home secretary is understood to be especially keen to "nip youth offending in the bud" and make the current community sentence system more easily understood.


The time has come for honesty in sentencing

David Blunkett
quoted in Daily Express
Those aged 18-21 are regularly punished for more "minor" crimes with community sentences, often probation or community service or a "combination" order.

Government sources say the home secretary wants to extend its use while sweeping away the confusing variety of different community sentences.

The system will become more easily understood to the public and offenders.

Reparations plan

It could mean those who break the conditions of their sentences and re-offend will be brought quickly back to court to face a possible jail sentence.

The proposals are also thought to include making all first-time young offenders pay back the cost of the damage they have caused and performing work to the community.

David Blunkett
David Blunkett: Forceful start for Home Secretary
Mr Blunkett is also expected to say he wants such a system of reparations used more for adults committing minor offences.

Someone caught spraying a wall with graffiti could be made to clean it off.

But it is understood the fine details of any new scheme are yet to be worked out.

The government said in the Queen's Speech it would use a report released on Thursday, by senior civil servant John Halliday, as the basis for an overhaul of sentencing.

While it is thought Mr Blunkett will not use the report as an immediate blueprint for legislation, the proposals for youth sentencing are believed to be in line with his thinking.

Mr Blunkett is expected to opt for wide consultation on the findings both with law and order professionals and the wider public.

Clear programme

Other possible proposals include longer jail sentences for dangerous offenders under a new system to deal with violent criminals.

Mr Blunkett was quoted in the Sunday Express newspaper saying: "Giving first offenders a clear programme - including reparations for the victim - is to offer one chance of redemption before getting really tough."

He continued: "The time has come for honesty in sentencing.

"We must protect the public and punish the guilty.

"Reducing crime means there must be a fair deal for victims and we must break the cycle of re-offending among our young people."

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See also:

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