By James Slack
Junkie burglars ‘cheat justice’: Serial teenage criminals to escape with a slap on the wrist
Serial teenage burglars and muggers could escape with a caution if they have a drug habit, it emerged last night.
Even when a tearaway commits a string of crimes, a ‘conditional caution’ could be handed down instead of a court trial and possible jail sentence.
The conditions could involve simply saying sorry to victims or repairing damage. The Tories called the controversial Government proposals ‘cheating justice’. Critics fear they remove a significant deterrent to repeat offending.
The new guidelines will allow burglars to escape with a caution if they have a drug habit
Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve said burglaries, thefts, robberies and muggings would all be covered by the new rules.
He added: ‘People will be rightly shocked at the idea of serial offenders receiving a single caution for numerous offences. Labour’s reliance on out-of-court measures is cheating justice.’
It also discloses that a young offender who misses a compulsory drug rehabilitation appointment – a possible condition of the caution – may still be treated as having complied.
Figures from the Youth Justice Board showed the total number of offences carried out by 10 to 17-year-olds in 2007/08 was 277,986 – or more than one every two minutes.