Beyond Youth Custody

Education, work and families essential to reduce reoffending – messages from the Conservative Party Conference

9 October 2015

Nacro and Beyond Youth Custody (BYC) held a round table event, ‘Throw away the key? Ending the cycle of reoffending’, at yesterday’s Conservative Party Conference. The event, held in the Youth Zone, was attended by a variety of leaders and opinion formers and included contributions from: Andrew Selous MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Justice; Stephen Greenhalgh, London Deputy Mayor; Cllr Nick Worth, Local Government Association Safer and Stronger Communities Board. The event was chaired by Jacob Tas, Nacro Chief Executive, drawing upon evidence from the BYC programme to frame discussions on how to end the cycle of reoffending of young people leaving custody.

Conservative party conference pic

Key themes arising from discussions included:

  • Reflections on successful partnership work and integration and the need to develop local approaches to resettlement which join up local authorities, PCCs, health and the voluntary sector and local businesses.
  • The need to focus on outcomes to reduce reoffending, and the options of pooling resources to achieve this.
  • Andrew Selous outlined the context of the recently announced review of youth justice by Charlie Taylor that will be reporting in summer 2016. He identified education, work and family as key areas of focus for resettlement, as well as the importance of recognising the value of the voluntary sector and thinking about how different sectors can work more effectively together.

In response to some of the key issues highlighted in the meeting, Pippa Goodfellow, BYC Programme Manager, outlined areas of BYC’s upcoming work including research on the role of families in resettlement, considering how different stakeholders measure success in resettlement and how these ‘outcomes’ shape the priorities for services.

Michael Gove gave a speech at the conference that highlighted the importance of giving offenders “the chance to get the skills and qualifications which they need to make a success of life on the outside”.

Responding to these comments, Jacob Tas, Nacro Chief Executive said:

“We welcome the focus on rehabilitation and importance of increasing numeracy and literacy skills among prisoners. We know that quality education, skills and work-based opportunities for offenders are vital to reducing reoffending. Beyond Youth Custody research shows that to be effective, education, training and vocational traineeships and apprenticeships need to be joined up from custody to community, and be tailored to each young person’s previous experience and levels of attainment.

“However, education cannot be the sole focus. Young people in custody are some of the most difficult to work with, having complex and multiple needs. We must address all of these needs if we are going to break the cycle of crime that too many young offenders fall into and struggle to get out of.

“We look forward to seeing how these proposals will be implemented in practice and continuing to work to bring about benefits and lasting change to young people leaving custody and the communities they return to.”

See Michael Gove’s full speech here.



Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes