Beyond Youth Custody


Andrew, who’s from a dual heritage background, first came to the project for help when he was living in the community. He had offended in the past, but was not under any criminal justice licence or sanction at that time.

The project provides culturally appropriate counselling, advocacy and support to BAME adults and young people who may have experienced mental health difficulties, whatever their background. Andrew was usually distrustful of criminal justice staff, but he had built up a good relationship with the staff at the project.

Unfortunately, Andrew re-offended, and was given a custodial sentence. His probation officer was very proactive, and linked up with the staff at the project. This enabled joint visits to the prison. The process of joint working meant that in resettlement terms, a bridge between custody and the community was built.  Resettlement staff at the prison would work with Probation and the project to plan for Andrew’s release.

Andrew’s primary needs were having a place to live and having education and training to pursue. Through joint working, both of these were organised and arranged before he left prison. Importantly, Andrew was always at the centre of it and directing things; asking people to speak to one another about the issues which he faced. The resulting resettlement package was client focused and client led.

At the core of things is the relationship between the project and Andrew. This was a relationship that was established before Andrew went to prison. The success of a multi-agency approach is highlighted here. A more joined up approach to resettlement work has the potential to result in more successful outcomes in the long term.

Tagged with the theme:

Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes