Beyond Youth Custody


When Kayleigh was released after spending twelve months in custody, the first thing that she noticed was how fast all the traffic was moving. Resettling back into her old neighbourhood felt unusual and uncomfortable. Things didn’t run as smoothly as she thought they would. Even the family environment had changed. Her older sister had moved out and as a result, Kayleigh was expected to help more with the chores.

In the first couple of days back home, Kaleigh felt tired all the time. Being at home again didn’t live up to the expectations that she had had about it inside her head. In the second week, Kayleigh started at her college placement. She had regular meetings with her YOT worker who was able to spend time talking with her and reassuring her about her prospects for being successful and putting the past behind her.

One of the most challenging things for Kayleigh was to pick up from where she left off with her old friends. To begin with conversation was slow and stilted. It was almost as if she had lost the ability to communicate properly. It felt strange just doing ordinary day to day things like going to the shops or catching a bus. When she was inside the prison everything was ordered and regimented. It felt like the world had moved on without her and that the life that she had known was no longer there.

As time went by, things began to get easier for Kayleigh. She made new friends and was enjoying her college course. In retrospect, she wishes that there had been more support for her when she left prison, particularly in the first couple of weeks after release when everything in the outside world appeared to be so alien to her.

Tagged with the theme:

Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes