A Study of 'Prolific' Offending by Young People in Wales 2009 - 2015

Katherine Williams, Diana F Johns, Kevin Haines

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This report offers in-depth empirical findings based on a twelve-month research project into the underlying nature and social context of ‘prolific’ or high-volume offending by young people in Wales, UK. The research was commissioned by the Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice in partnership with the Youth Justice Board (YJB) Cymru. This largely qualitative study builds on earlier work by YJB Cymru (2012) focused on a small proportion of young people involved in a large amount of crime.
In 2012, working with the Welsh Government, YJB Cymru set out to profile young people deemed prolific in their offending, identifying those who in 2009 had already been convicted of 25 or more offences and who reoffended during 2010. This group comprised 303 individuals of which 117 cases were examined. The profiles were based on case assessments and local data provided by Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) across Wales. The information gathered on these 117 cases provided the starting point for this research.
is study sheds light on the nature of offending deemed ‘prolific’, the ways that ‘prolific’ young people are constructed in terms of vulnerability and risk, and how and why children and young people become involved in and move away from high-volume, persistent and/or frequent anti-social, risky and harmful behaviours. It offers insights into the most effective ways of working to interrupt such offending patterns and to support young people’s transitions to more positive, pro-social futures. This emphasis on processes of youth-adult transition – rather than ‘non-offending’ as a singular destination – is distinct from much of the desistance literature, which is focused on adults and therefore tends to marginalise young people’s experience.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCardiff
PublisherYouth Justice Board Cymru with Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice
Commissioning bodyWelsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice and Youth Justice Borad Cymrru
Number of pages173
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


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