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Lack of resettlement provision for young offenders

Damning report highlights high re-offending rates and poor health, educational and employment support

young offenders rehabilitation probation resettlement

Professional Social Work - 8 October, 2019

Government inspectors criticised a “process-orientated and passive” approach to resettling young offenders back into the community who as a result were being “set up to fail”.

A study tracking 50 12 to 17-year-olds found half were under police investigation three months after being released from young offender institutions. Ten had already been convicted of a further offence.

The Youth resettlement report by the HM inspectorates of probation and prisons, said it was “immensely disappointing” to see no progress since similar concerns were highlighted in 2015.

It said: “In too many cases children were not being effectively prepared to re-enter their communities and start to live productive and safe law-abiding lives.

“The services that they needed on release were often not in place to help them resettle and the risk that they posed were not always sufficiently managed in their early days in the community.”

Lack of accommodation was a problem with some not knowing where they were going until release day.

The report also highlighted gaps in meeting education, training, work and health needs. Only 11 of the group – one in six of whom had been in care - went straight into education or training. More than 60 pe cent had health needs identified in custody but only 26 per cent got any support after release.

Substance misuse affected three-quarters, but only 44 per cent got support in the community. Inspectors judged 37 needed input from children’s social care, but only six received the support required.

Justin Russell, HM chief inspector of probation, said: “The real tragedy is we are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on custodial places but we are failing to put the services around the offender on release so people are set up to fail.”

Among a list of recommendations, the report calls for a national network of community-based accommodation for children posing the highest risk. It also says intervention programmes to help resettlement should be increased and central funds made available to ensure all children are suitably accommodated.

This article is published by Professional Social work magazine which provides a platform for a range of perspectives across the social work sector. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the British Association of Social Workers