Beyond Youth Custody

Young people case studies

Experiences of young people who have been in custody.


Adisa

Theme:

Adisa found it difficult to adjust to life outside after he was sentenced to custody when he was 16

Daniel

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Daniel had served a number of previous prison sentences. He talks about dealing with ‘freedom’

James

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James’s project worker met him on his day of release to ease his anxieties about being in unfamiliar places and using public transport

Michael

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Michael spent his 21st birthday on remand in prison. After being released straight from court, it took him some time to get used to a different routine

Ash

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Ash was referred to the vulnerable prisoner unit due to ongoing investigation into historic head injuries, following episodes of impulsive and erratic behaviour

Curtis

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Curtis and his partner Emma both have experience of custody and drug dependence. Emma’s mum helps them look after their children

Lance

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When Lance was younger, his family were supported by his local youth offending service (YOS). As an adult under probation, this no longer happens

Lee

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Lee’s mum is under pressure to stop visiting him. He’s about to lose what family he has. Lee doesn’t know that yet

Shelley

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Shelley wouldn’t call her ex-friends a gang but some might see it like that. She had no family to speak of. As a care leaver, social services were supposed to support her – Shelley’s case worker showed her how to ask for what she needed

Tyler

Theme:

Tyler’s mum was scared of her son and the dangers he brought into their home. Tyler and a number of his associates were arrested for attacking another young man. The fall-out brought the situation to a head

Rory

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Rory was always fighting at school, which led to his exclusion. He felt more confident in a gang of peers

Kaden

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When Kaden was in a gang, he was respected and had money to spare. He’s now crime-free and aspires to be ‘a normal fella’. He could readily find a quick and easy way to ‘make ends meet’, but has so far resisted

Jordan

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On release from prison, Jordan required education or employment, housing outside of gang territory and support to comply with his licence agreement

Daniel

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Due to gang affiliation, Daniel was forbidden to return to his home area. His project worker introduced him to his new home town and helped him to establish tentative roots

Aidan

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While serving a custodial sentence, Aidan resolved to change his behaviour and “get out of the gang”. Once released, a resettlement project supported his choice

Andrew

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Andrew has benefited from culturally appropriate counselling, advocacy and support and a multi-agency approach to his resettlement needs

Jason

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Jason, from the Travellers’ community, arrived at HMP Ford unable to read and write. A culturally competent intervention helped him to keep in touch with his family

Faarooq

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In prison, Faarooq met Muslims who, like him, had “trouble with the idea of citizenship”. Support in the community has shown Faarooq that he can “be a Muslim and a British Citizen and be proud of both”

Kwame

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Kwame, a Muslim of West Indian heritage, was offered a choice of resettlement projects; one reflected his interest in sport and fitness. When out jogging in the park with his case worker, Kwame opened up about his life, experiences, and hopes for the future

Peter

Theme:

Peter is Black British, but never felt that he ‘fitted in’ or belonged. By the time he was 23, he had spent seven years of his life in custody. Peter has not been reconvicted in almost two years, and attributes much of his progress to his mentor

Lisa

Theme:

Lisa’s desire to use her time in custody positively and take part in education enabled her to secure employment upon release. Her relationship with prison staff and positive attitude led her to be deemed suitable for release on temporary licence (ROTL) that helped secure her qualifications and employment

Jon

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Concerns about the high risk of harm relating to Jon’s gang-affiliation meant that he needed to be relocated upon release.

Aaron

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After being relocated upon release from prison because of his gang-association, Aaron felt lonely and isolated. He needed through the gate support to help him through this challenging time.

Jake

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Would Jake fall back on his previous bad ways while living in a hostel?

Simon

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“The first two weeks is the test. [It] proves whether someone is going to re-offend or not.”

Kayleigh

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How Kayleigh overcame her uncomfortable feelings after being released from custody

Linda

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After being released on temprorary license, Linda knew what she wanted – she just didn’t know how to achieve her goal. Linda’s mentor helped her make the necessary practical steps to achieve her dream of going to univeristy.

Sarah

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Sarah was shy and found it hard to trust people after having been let down frequently in the past. After her release from prison, a mentor slowly gained her trust by attending dance classes with her, and helped her with job and grant applications. Sara has since had a number of interviews.

Dina

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After being granted release on temporary licence from her prison sentence, Dina used the opportunity to meet with her mentor and work to create personal goals which have helped turn her life around.

Adam

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Adam has ADHD. His home life had been particularly difficult and traumatic. When he was released from Youth Offenders he needed a high level of support and encouragement in order to turn his life around.

Ches

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Ches had an emotionally traumatic upbringing. His offending behaviour began when he was 13 years old. He has ADHD and has found it difficult to resist peer pressure

Darren

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Darren grew up in an environment where committing crime was something to aspire to. The local Police classed him as a Priority Prolific Offender or PPO. With time and effort he managed to completely change the way that he led his life and is now working full-time and is crime free.

Jack

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Jack’s persistent offending was connected to his misuse of drugs and the lifestyle that accompanied him on a modern housing estate. He is trying to make a break with his past and find full-time training and employment.

Jason

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Jason witnessed drug-taking by his parents from an early age. On release from custody he had a restrictive curfew in addition to high intensive supervision at the YOT. He faced problems with finding a place to live and his paranoia and poor mental health didn’t make it easy for him to live in a hostel-type environment in the meantime.

Katy

Theme:

Katy’s troubled home life led her to develop a significant drug habit which quickly developed into an addiction. Katy witnessed the violent death of her boyfriend. She began to get more and more involved in criminal activity in order to buy the drugs she needed to block out the emotional hurt and associated bad memories.

Martin

Theme:

Martin formed a bond with the YIF resettlement team which was helped by them bringing him some lunch on the day of his release from YOI. He tried hard to engage in the programme of activities that was provided. Progress was gradual, however he managed to deal with some of the issues which had previously been a problem in his life.

Matthew

Theme:

Matthew had an extensive criminal history when he was referred to the YIF project via Probation. He had a history of mental problems which included self-harm. He admits that his crimes were often committed under the influence of alcohol, although accessing the support services that he needed was often the biggest problem that he faced in terms of not reoffending.

Petey

Theme:

When Petey was seven years old his substance misusing father used to give him amphetamines which made it difficult for him to concentrate at school. As he got older, Petey spent time living in care and later on he spent time in custody for violent offences. Eventually he became homeless whilst also suffering from psychiatric illness.

Sean

Theme:

Sean drifted into criminal behaviour with a group of his friends. After he left school he was dealing drugs and he thought that he wouldn’t get caught. After serving a custodial sentence he became involved with the YIF project and within a year was a peer mentor and role model for others.

Steven

Theme:

Steven was considered to be at medium risk of reoffending when he was released from his first custodial sentence. Without a strong network of family and friends, he found resettlement quite difficult. In addition, Steven struggled with substance misuse and mental health problems.

Wayne

Theme:

Wayne came out of YOI and went straight into a job that had been organised for him by the YOT. After this particular work had dried up Wayne was able to get involved with a bike project which led to his participation in the Coast to Coast race for charity. He has not reoffended and has become involved with some peer mentoring.

Themes

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Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes