Beyond Youth Custody
Beyond Youth Custody (BYC) is one of three England-wide learning and awareness projects funded under the Big Lottery Fund’s Youth in Focus (YIF) programme, which aims to support vulnerable young people through changes in their lives.
BYC has been designed to challenge, advance and promote better thinking in policy and practice for the effective resettlement of young people.
It brings together Nacro, the crime reduction charity, with three research and evaluation partners: ARCS (UK), and Salford and Bedfordshire universities.
BYC’s aim is to help young people turn around their lives by ensuring the right resettlement services are in place for them in custody through to the community. Our five-year programme works to establish an evidence base of effective practice that can be used to support a clear strategy for resettlement services.
We focus on the following areas of work:
1. Producing robust evidence about what works
We analyse existing and emerging research and explore under-researched issues to identify best practice that can be applied across diverse settings.
We do this by:
- publishing regular updates that bring together the latest lessons from research, policy and practice in the resettlement of young people
- publishing thematic reports that provide an analysis of resettlement through different lenses (such as engagement, gender-specific approaches, coping with release and the impact of gang involvement)
- consulting widely with young people, practitioners and other stakeholders by conducting interviews, focus groups and developing an archive of case studies
- helping Youth in Focus project practitioners to evaluate and monitor their own service by collecting additional primary data
2. Giving young people a voice
We actively encourage young people who’ve been in custody to voice their opinion about resettlement services – because nobody understands the challenges better.
We do this by:
- consulting with young people before and after their release about their needs, expectations and experiences of resettlement services
- asking young people who have been through resettlement services to help shape future policy and raise awareness of the issues affecting people leaving custody
- involving young people in innovative communication projects about effective resettlement – like blogs and short films
- extending the scope of BYC up to the age of 25, to capture insights from young adults who also require a distinct approach
3. Developing and promoting good practice
We work with practitioners to improve resettlement practice and help them deliver effective services for young people leaving custody. We use our evidence base to steer future policy and encourage change that improves outcomes for young people leaving custody.
We do this by:
- identifying the practice implications of our research and providing ongoing feedback to practitioners about what works
- developing sustainable delivery models that can be replicated and adopted on a national scale
- feeding examples of what’s working in practice into research, creating forums to test emerging findings, and helping practitioners to put BYC’s learning into practice
- publishing a series of practitioners’ guides that focus on key areas of resettlement practice
4. Identifying and communicating what needs to change
We continue to build a network of stakeholders so that we can test findings, share best practice and communicate the lessons we learn.
We do this by:
- engaging with policy and decision makers through events, party conferences, all party groups and responses to consultations
- initiating and contributing to discussions that explore the challenges related to policy and practice • running on and offline campaigns and an online hub to share findings and raise national awareness of the issues affecting young people leaving custody
- membership of the Youth Justice Board’s Resettlement Steering Group, Transition to Adulthood Alliance (T2A), the Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ)
Youth in Focus projects
The Big Lottery Fund’s Youth in Focus programme has also funded 15 service delivery projects across the country to work with young people leaving custody. The Beyond Youth Custody programme has worked alongside these projects and supported them to evaluate and monitor their own service, to compare and contrast different models of resettlement and to provide ongoing feedback about effective practice and lessons learnt through the research.