Beyond Youth Custody

A week in the life of a Youth in Focus Project Manager

Moving On Project Manager


A hub area at Holloway prison opened with which we have been involved as a voluntary agency. The prison are keen to provide an area for women to use on the day of their release where they can charge their phones, have breakfast, get information and gather their thoughts before they leave the prison. This is being staffed by the VCS and feels like a great opportunity to work together. This was a successful first day and all of the women released came in for some support before going on their way.

In the afternoon, I attended a conference on trauma and women offenders which confirmed again how important it is to respond appropriately in these circumstances and to develop a service which is “trauma informed”. This led me to revisit our potential offer for the new Transforming Rehabilitation bid process and I made a note to talk to the trustees about the implications of working with women who have experienced a high level of trauma.


I dealt with a social services request for information regarding a court case followed by a visit to a client who is struggling with bringing up three small children. It was great to see how she is getting on post-release, but also made me aware of the need to ensure there is sufficient support for her because we can’t do everything ourselves. I booked some training for the team in conflict management and started thinking about how to improve our risk assessment process.

In the evening I was contacted by the prison about a client whom we have been supporting who has an uncertain immigration status. Without warning, she was about to be released so I needed to arrange last minute “through the gate” support for her to help her with the transition into the outside world as she is homeless. She had been living in a garage prior to prison.


I dealt with another safeguarding situation regarding children and then caught up with a member of staff who is working with a client who has learning disabilities, substance abuse problems and has been living in a bin shed. We had recently secured a hostel for this young woman but she hasn’t been staying there so will lose the place. Another client called into the office to do some work on her CV and we spent a while chasing another who was supposed to be doing an interview with us for some publicity materials. I signed off a pile of expense claims from the mentors and chased some invoices that hadn’t been paid. I attended a meeting at London Probation to discussed the pan-London approach to working with women and was pleased to meet the new women’s lead for the recently-formed National Probation Service.


I was supervising some of the mentors in the team when I was alerted to some risks with a client who is depressed, another who has severe mental health problems and another who is about to be thrown out of home by her family because of persistent drug use. Meanwhile, I was pleased to hear that one of the clients has got a job in a telesales company and that one of our oldest clients is returning to college to study hairdressing. I was concerned to hear about a client who is failing to attend probation and pleased that she’d chatted with her mentor about the need to apologise to the officer rather than complain about the times of her appointment. I spent some time collecting statistics for a government report on mentoring and finished the day by talking with the police about the trafficking of women in London.


I visited a client in the psychiatric hospital and spent an hour with her social worker discussing a plan of transfer to rehab in Warwickshire. I then called in to the prison to do some recruitment and interviewed three young women who fit the criteria for the project. Two were keen to have a mentor but the third was too distressed to really talk properly and I alerted the prison to her fragile mental state before I left. I dealt with a producer from an independent TV company who has been bothering me for “stories” for the past month by making it crystal clear that the work we do is not for the benefit of the media. I ended the day by chasing up a probation officer for one of our clients who is due for release next month but is without housing and has no family support whatsoever. I was disappointed to hear about a client who has been recalled for breach of licence and emailed the mentor asking her to visit the prison about this as soon as possible next week.

Tagged with the theme:


Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes