Beyond Youth Custody


Lance was first arrested when he was 13-years-old. His criminal activities continued as he started socialising with other young offenders and taking drugs more frequently. He was involved with arson, theft, street robbery and burglary.

At 17, Lance was sent to a Young Offender Institution (YOI). Upon release, he was on a curfew and under the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP), but he started committing street robberies again and his behaviour became more violent. When he was 19, he was sentenced to a community supervision order for possession of an offensive weapon. When he was younger, his local YOS provided his family with information and support, but as an adult now under the probation service, this ended.

When Lance was sent to the YOI, his younger siblings were not told that he had been imprisoned, but that he was away because he was ill. However, his older sister knew the truth and was very upset. Other family members reacted differently to Lance’s behaviour, exacerbating the tension within the family. Neither his grandfather nor his mother’s partner wanted anything to do with him, which left him feeling rejected by the two main male figures in his life.

Lance has recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia. His mum and dad are concerned about the impact his behaviour has on his younger siblings. Lance’s parents are trying to shield their younger children from what has been happening. They  are worried that their emotional needs are being overlooked because of all the attention given to Lance.

Lance’s mother has had contact with mental health services, and other support services, for over a year now. She feels frustrated and let down by them because they just refer her on. She is stressed and anxious and has been diagnosed with depression. In the past, she has used alcohol to try to reduce her stress but is trying not to rely on that. She would welcome family therapy and intensive emotional support; ideally a dedicated support worker who could assess their individual needs and provide tailored support.

Lance is currently living with his girlfriend in supported housing and they are expecting their first child.

Tagged with the theme:

Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes