According to the Government’s most recent research, 75% of young people sentenced to youth custody re-offend within one year, as do 68% on community sentences.
Youth reoffending is a massive problem in the UK. Despite the Government’s concerted efforts to reduce the number of young people in custody, during the August riots the youth prison population reached a record high. Rioters had, on average, 11 previous convictions; with 9 out of 10 already known to police.
Most young offenders are trapped in an endless cycle of offending; they must not only convince others to give them a second chance, but they must also overcome their own internal struggles, insecurities and addictions: 1 in 4 have suffered abuse, 1 in 4 have learning difficulties and 70% grow up without a father-figure. Gangs typically prey on these vulnerable young people with low self-worth and no real job prospects.
Reflex are disarming the gangs and giving young people hope for the future, by partnering with churches and charities to place professional youth workers, called ‘Outreach Workers’, in youth prisons ("YOI's") across the country. Reflex Outreach Workers run youth clubs and chaplaincy groups, deliver creative and accredited education programmes and facilitate mentoring schemes; they are specialists in helping young people move forward with their lives, diverting them away from gangs and helping them resettle into society. Using a tried and tested methodology: ‘creative reflection – positive expression’, Reflex help young people reflect creatively on their lives and positively express their hopes for the future. An independent evaluation recently verified that Reflex approach leads to a reduction in offending.
In short, Reflex exist to empower children, young people and young adults to break the cycle of offending and reoffending. In 11 prisons, across 5 regions, they equip young people with the skills, confidence and opportunities to realise their full potential.
To find out more please go to www.reflex.org