Beyond Youth Custody

“The only thing that supported me through my whole experience is the support from the people around me”

Ex-resident at a secure unit

My story begins at the age of seven with the loss of my mum. It affected me massively because I was a mummy’s boy and my brother was a daddy’s boy, so when we lost her it affected me the worst. I felt that my family was all processing it themselves so I couldn’t go to them. I felt that my safety net had gone, and I had no one, I couldn’t even go to the funeral. When that happened my behaviour went downhill, I became very, very angry and upset. When I hit secondary school I started organising fights and participating in a fair few myself. I became very arrogant, rude and nasty, which led to me not being a very nice person to be around.

At secondary school I was convicted and sentenced for my offences. When the police turned up at my house at 3am to arrest me, all of my family were shocked and upset. When the police handcuffed me and took me away, I didn’t see my family home again for three and a half years.

When I was sentenced I had a conversation with my family, and they told me that if I got into any more trouble that they were done with me. So while I was in custody they were very supportive they turned up to every one of my meeting and always come to visit me. They made me feel like I was still a part of the family, which helped me get through the week till their next visit.

While I was doing so well in custody there were still challenges for my family, like the media and they still lived in the community that I committed my offences. My dad’s business took a big impact because of my crime, but they still stood by me. Professionals even advised them to move from the area because of any friction or backlash from my crime.

The only thing that supported me through my whole experience is the support from the people around – they were all there when I need to ask a question or even just to have a little moan about something. They are all very supportive and they are all good to me but hard work.

Just before I was going to leave custody I was asked to move to a placement away from my family, but I said no and dug my heels in, as I had ambitions for my life ahead and I’m very close to my family. This led to me not knowing where I was going to live two days before me leaving custody. This put me in a bad place because I didn’t know where I was going or what was going to happen to me. I got a placement later that day and I had no choice but to take it but the placement left me very isolated and lonely. However, my family came to see me as much as they could. I still couldn’t visit them and my licence restrictions didn’t even let me breathe without them knowing where I was or what I was doing.

Although I am doing good I still get a lot of criticism… but after all this time I have realised I have got my family still behind me supporting me. Now that it has been two years since my release, I see a lot of my family who are still very supportive, and I also play in a sports team, I work Monday to Friday every week. I have learned to drive and passed my test first time; also I have passed my NVQ Level 2 and started on my NVQ Level 3.

Tagged with the theme:


Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes