Beyond Youth Custody


Staff from the project met Dina in late 2012, whilst she was serving the custodial part of her sentence in prison. In preparation for Dina’s release, she was granted ‘release on temporary licence’ in the spring of 2013, and used this opportunity to meet her mentor.

Together they developed a list of Dina’s personal goals. She wanted to get fit, learn to drive and get some training and work. Their discussions identified that Dina’s primary immediate need was housing.

Once released into the community, Dina typically met with her mentor once a week. Together they worked on making a housing application and finding Dina a place which could become a home. After several months in temporary accommodation, Dina secured a permanent place to live. Project staff helped her with a grant application so that she could buy a fridge.

Dina worked hard to make changes in her life, and her mentor supported her as she developed healthy and supportive relationships with her family and friends. Her mentor presented her with a photograph frame as a housewarming gift.

With the help of project staff and other agencies, Dina managed to get a copy of her birth certificate which she needed as identification. She began looking into jobs and courses. She tried volunteering, but seemed to have trouble sustaining a long term commitment. Her mentor called a local college to get information about apprenticeship opportunities.

One thing that did motivate Dina was her ambition to learn to drive. Project staff helped her secure a discretionary grant towards the cost of driving lessons. Dina practised for her theory test on a computer in the project office.

Dina now meets up with her mentor every two or three weeks. After 18 months, she’s not back in prison. She’s maintaining, and enjoying, semi-stable accommodation.

According to her mentor, “she’s got some motivation now” and she’s working hard to sustain it. According to Dina, her mentor provides a supportive focus. “It’s helped me a lot actually, to look into life… my future, other things to do, my driving lessons… Having a mentor there is nice; you get a phone call to see how things are going, to keep on track with things you have to get done…”

Dina is currently on an apprenticeship which combines college with a work-based placement. Dina will come out with a qualification in customer service and work experience gained from a hair salon.

Tagged with the theme:

Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes