Beyond Youth Custody


Curtis has been using drugs and offending from a very early age. At 10 he was smoking cannabis and using LSD. He started committing thefts and by 15 had committed an armed robbery. At 16 he was addicted to heroin.

He’s served three custodial sentences – the first being a ten month stretch in a young offender institution when he was 15-years-old. The second time Curtis was sent to custody, his partner Emma was also remanded. This severely disrupted family life. Emma’s mother looked after their two children to prevent them having to go into local authority care.

Curtis was raised by his maternal grandmother. During his last prison sentence, she passed away and he was unable to attend her funeral. He also missed the birth of his second child, and was not able to visit Emma and his son in hospital, even though the baby was born prematurely.

Curtis has recently been released from prison and is back living with Emma and the children. The whole family is under an enormous amount of stress. They’ve recently moved and have started to experience problems with their neighbours – to the extent that they now fear leaving the house empty.

Emma has been prescribed anti-depressants and often feels stressed and paranoid because of her situation. The family had been receiving support from a local children’s centre, which they found really helpful, but it has recently been closed down.

Both Emma and Curtis are currently in treatment for drug dependence and being prescribed methadone. Curtis is involved with a peer support project, but Emma isn’t, and feels that her fortnightly appointments with her drug worker do not give her the level of support that she really needs.

Tagged with the theme:

Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes