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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 27 November 2007

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Guidance Programme has helped 6,000 young offenders since 1997



An Excerpt

In his Opening Address, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan announced the increase of up to 25 per cent in funding for the 17 social service agencies that are running the Guidance Programme (GP) - a six-month programme for first-time young offenders to divert them away from being charged in Court.
In the programme, participants undergo counselling, groupwork and other activities aimed at addressing offending behaviours and imparting life skills.
The programme also aims to address participantsí vulnerability towards re-offending.
Initiated by MCYS in 1997, GP has diverted about 6,000 young offenders from the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Among those who completed the programme, only less than 10 per cent re-offended subsequently.
In 2004, GP was extended to offenders in the 16 to 19 age group, instead of being limited to juveniles (below 16 years of age).
Currently, offenders in the 16 to 19 age group make up about 30 per cent of all GP referrals. In July 2006, a pilot to extend GP to intellectually disabled offenders was implemented. The diversity of cases referred to GP has called for a calibrated, instead of a onesize fits all, approach in addressing the criminogenic needs of offenders.
With increased funding, the GP agencies can develop better capabilities among staff to continue running the programme.
In addition, agencies will also be expected to conduct a risk assessment for each youth assigned in order to better tailor the intervention programme to suit the needs of individual youth offenders.
Please refer to Annex 6 for a detailed fact sheet on GP, and Annex 7 for information on selected GP agencies.

Full Text of Media Release

Source: Media Release 20 Nov 2007

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