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US News Low-level offenders swap prosecution for rehab in Durham scheme

08:15  15 february  2020
08:15  15 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Cities across the country are starting to follow Miami-Dade’s example, trying to use data to keep low - level offenders out of jail, figure out who needs psychiatric help, and even set bail and parole. In the same way that law enforcement uses data to deploy resources—so-called predictive

Offenders avoid prosecution if they take part in rehabilitation programme. Durham police said only five victims had complained out of the 2,660 offenders who had completed the programme. It’s generally a pretty bad way to manage low - level offences which are the highest volume offences,” he

a man that is standing in the snow: A trial scheme has managed to drive down reoffending rates in Durham (Tom Wilkinson/PA) © Tom Wilkinson A trial scheme has managed to drive down reoffending rates in Durham (Tom Wilkinson/PA)

Experts say a pioneering rehabilitation scheme by Durham Police could significantly affect the justice system after a trial run reduced reoffending rates among criminals.

The Guardian reports that the experiment, known as Checkpoint, allows criminals convicted of offences such as burglary and assault to avoid prosecution if they complete certain rehabilitation programmes.

The first results of the trial, which tracked 519 offenders over two years, found a 15% drop in reoffending for those who took part in the initiative compared with those who chose not to participate.

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Only 6% of the 2,660 offenders involved in the trial have reoffended.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Durham chief constable Jo Farrell said the Checkpoint system was aimed at helping low-level offenders break out of their cycle of crime (Durham Police) © Provided by PA Media Durham chief constable Jo Farrell said the Checkpoint system was aimed at helping low-level offenders break out of their cycle of crime (Durham Police)

At least five other police forces, including Surrey and Cornwall, are believed to be considering introducing the scheme.

The results are part of a University of Cambridge study into whether so-called “soft justice” initiatives are successful in reducing crime and cutting costs.

Durham Chief Constable Jo Farrell told the paper the scheme was aimed at helping break “the cycle” for people charged with low-level offences such as shoplifting or drug possession.

“This isn’t about trying to do things on the cheap or divert people away from court or prison,” she said.

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AN offender has become the first to complete a ground-breaking scheme which has seen him rebuild his life rather than get a criminal conviction. “Many adult offenders are often at crisis point when arrested, feeling unable to find a way out of their cycle of offending , as they have poor support

“It’s a cohort of people for whom this cycle will never end unless we do something different.”

Although Checkpoint costs the Durham force £480,000 a year, it is estimated that it saves at least £2m a year in reduced crime for every 1,000 offenders.

Sophie Gregory, the criminology course director at Birmingham City University, said Checkpoint’s results were a significant step forward in changing the way the justice system tackles low-level crime.

“We know that around two-thirds of women and a third of men are reportedly committing crime to fund addictions, so if we can go back to that root problem and help with some tailored support long term it has got to help reduce reoffending,” she said.

The Checkpoint programme is due to be discussed at the National Police Chiefs’ Council later this month.

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