Home Affairs Minister wants to extend Youth Justice scheme

A scheme which aims to stop young offenders from repeating their crimes could be extended to include older people.

The Youth Justice Team has been working with those under 18 who end up before the courts since its introduction.

However, Home Affairs Minister Bill Malarkey wants to offer those under 25 the chance to work with the team as well.

Those who take part in the scheme can get involved in restorative justice - where they speak to young people about the impact of their behaviour, and can also be referred to other schemes that deal with drug and alcohol problems.

Over the last 12 months, 167 offenders have been working with the team - with 22 referred on three or more occasions.

There were a total of 287 referrals, a slight increase on the 270 from the previous year.