Beyond Youth Custody

Are young people being “set up to fail” on release from custody?

17 February 2015 | Tagged with the theme:

Beyond Youth Custody research released today says young people do not feel prepared for release and lack the support they need to cope with the transition back into the community.

The report ‘Custody to community: How young people cope with release’ identifies a gap in knowledge about the way young people experience the transition from custody back into the community. The research carried out by Dr Tim Bateman and Professor Neal Hazel found that the period in the early days to weeks following release can be an overwhelmingly stressful experience for young people. While some young people navigate this period relatively smoothly, the dominant theme is that young people find it hard to cope and feel disorientated when adjusting to life in the community.

Recommendations from the report include planning for release as soon as the custodial period starts, wider use of Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL), more focus on maintaining family relationships and interactions while young people are in custody, and ensuing all young people are met at the prison or young offender institution upon release by someone they know and trust. Download the report here

A video released to complement the report shows young people from the ADAPT project in Salford and the Howard League’s U R BOSS project describing their experience of the transition from custody to the community. They also make recommendations about what can be done to better prepare and support young people with this difficult transition. You can watch the video here or read about what they have to say in two blogs here.

Responding to the report, Penelope Gibbs, Chair of the Standing Committee for Youth Justice said:

“Resettlement is a vital part of reducing the chances of children reoffending when they leave custody – which around 70% do. But too often resettlement goes wrong and doesn’t provide children with the support they need. Understanding how children experience the move from custody to community is important if we are to improve the services we offer them.”


Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes