The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland has published a report on the prosecution of young people. This followed 95 offenders referred to COPFS
. Michelle Macleod, HM chief inspector, said: “We found that 80 per cent of young offenders offered diversion successfully completed the programme, of which, almost two-thirds did not re-offend within the following year.
There is, however, scope to take more young people out of the adult criminal system through greater use of diversion and/or other alternatives to prosecution for all young people under 18.” This matches the recent report that calls for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised and there be a different justice system for those under 21. The report made 12 recommendations to ensure that young offenders who can be dealt with by the Children’s hearing system will be dealt with in this way and also they advised the COPFS should exercise the maximum use of alternatives to prosecution.
The report also highlighted that support is not offered for specific vulnerabilities of young people and this needs to be addressed going forward.