Monday, 12 November 2007

Britain breeding 'lost generation' says Ian Duncan-Smith

Britain is in danger of creating a "lost generation" of wayward teenagers responsible for soaring levels of gun crime and drug and alcohol abuse, a Tory-backed group claims today.

In a stark warning about the extent of the "broken society", it says a toxic combination of family breakdown and school failure is creating a violent and anti-social youth culture.

The Commission for Social Justice will today launch an inquiry into the epidemic of gang and youth crime that threatens to turn inner cities into no-go areas.

It will study New York's success in reducing crime and the impact of a zero tolerance approach to law enforcement.

The commission, chaired by the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, released shocking statistics:

• every year an estimated 70,000 school-aged offenders enter the youth justice system;

• 18- to 20-year-olds constitute 42 per cent of all first-time offenders;

• three quarters of male offenders between 18 and 21 re-offend within two years;

• the most likely person to have a knife is a boy of 14-19.

• four out of 10 muggings are committed by under-16s.

• the total of young offenders in custody has been above 2,500 every month since April 2000 and 1,504 of those in custody now are 16 or younger.
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