Reintegration & Resettlement for young people who are involved with Youth Justice.
The project's final report has been published and is available here.
We have also produced a best practice guide for setting up Reintegration and Resettlement Partnerships.
Reintegration and resettlement - what does it mean?
Receiving a criminal conviction can mean being labelled as an offender, resulting in the loss of opportunities. It can be more difficult to access services and agencies, or individuals may view young people as too risky or undeserving of help and support. It means that even though they are young people, the label of "offender" can mean that their vulnerabilities and needs can be ignored.
Reintegration means finding a way to overcome these obstacles, helping young people to stop offending and looking at what they can do more constructively in the future.
Resettlement concerns itself with providing young people who are leaving custody with the service provision they need to have the best possible chance of a successful life away from crime. Resettlement needs can be broadly classified into the seven pathways of:
• Education, Training & Employment
• Health (inclusive of physical and mental health)
• Substance misuse
• Finance, Benefits & Debt
• Transitions & Case Management
To ensure the best outcomes for young people, resettlement must be delivered holistically, with services put in place at the earliest possible point in a young person’s journey through youth justice. The services they receive should meet their needs, continuing beyond the end of their statutory order with the Youth Offending Team, taken over by universal services more generally available in the community.
Llamau’s Resettlement Project
Since 2013, the Welsh Government and the Youth Justice Board (YJB) have funded Llamau to deliver an initiative to improve the reintegration & resettlement of young people given custodial sentences. Currently there are two projects, each with a “resettlement broker,” a key feature of the project. One broker operates in north Wales, Dr. Kathy Hampson, (07880 404 587) and the other, Tracey Kinsey, (07966 981 058) in the south.
The South Wales project
In south Wales, the broker works with the Youth Offending Teams (YOT) and their partners to establish reintegration and resettlement panels, and to improve the links between community services and the secure estate, which includes HMP & YOI Parc and Hillside Secure Children’s Home. The broker works across 13 local authority areas, which encompass 8 YOTs:
• Blaenau Gwent & Caerphilly
• Cwm Taf (including RCT & Merthyr Tydfil)
• Monmouthshire & Torfaen
• Vale of Glamorgan
• Western Bay (including Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea)
We produced a report mapping services against need in south Wales in September 2013.
We also produced a document entitled "The Coordinated Approach: Working together for better outcomes for young people" in December 2013.
You can download this slide document "After Justice" which has more information about our approach and our work in south Wales.
The project has benefited from the academic supervision of Professor Neal Hazel (Salford University), who has had editorial oversight of a report looking at youth resettlement across Southern Wales, to which he has also added some initial evaluatory analyses of the Resettlement Broker Project (up to March 2015). The full report is available here, with an executive summary of the project available here. Progress since this report (up to September 2015) has been reported here.
The North Wales project
The north Wales broker works with YOTs and other relevant agencies to establish and develop reintegration and resettlement panels in each YOT region (or in the case of Wrexham, assist with the development of their existing panel). The broker worked Hindley YOI to improve the continuity of young people’s experiences when they went into custody, and enable better communication between YOTs and the secure estate, but since its decommissioning by the YJB, links are being developed by the broker between the YOTs and Werrington YOI, which is now the YJB’s choice of institution for north Wales. The broker works across 6 local authorities, encompassing 4 YOTs:
• Conwy & Denbighshire
• Gwynedd & Ynys Môn
We produced a report mapping services against need in north Wales in January 2014.
You can download this slide document "After Justice" which has more information about our approach and our work in north Wales.
The project has benefited from the academic supervision of Professor Neal Hazel (Salford University), who has had editorial oversight of a report looking at youth resettlement across North Wales, to which he has also added some initial evaluatory analyses of the Resettlement Broker Project (up to March 2015). The report is available here, with an executive summary available here. Progress since this report (up to September 2015) has been reported here. .
For the past three and a half years, this project has been funded by the Youth Justice Board Cymru and Welsh Government, who have also had strategic oversight. This funding has now ceased, although the project is currently continuing and further funding is being sought. This report, covering both project areas, summarises all the project learning, outcomes and achievements, alongside further recommendations for continuing development.
The Youth Justice Board Cymru/Welsh Government strategy document Children and young people first identified the need for a multiagency approach to resettlement, while also expanding out those who should be given resettlement services from those exiting custody to a wider group. This acknowledges that many young people given community orders are often just as complex as those serving time in prison. The need for this was discussed in a blog by Dr Kathy Hampson, the North Wales Broker. The Resettlement Broker Coordinators took the lead in establishing these Reintegration and Resettlement Partnerships (RRP). They have now established a total of nine RRPs across North and South Wales, with the first established just celebrating two years in operation. They have now written a good practice guidance for setting up RRPs to enable other areas to utilise the learning from this experience. Please contact the brokers if you need any further assistance.
What does the broker do?
Youth justice workers are used to brokering services for young people and advocating for their rights to services and support. However YOTs rely on other services to support their objective of preventing offending by reintegrating young people into mainstream provision, or providing the welfare services they need. The role of the broker can make all the difference by assisting YOTs to establish and embed multiagency panels in their area. They have a remit to identify gaps and barriers to effective provision, implementing appropriate resources where possible, and where not, to escalate concerns strategically.
Research shows that effective multiagency working can make a huge difference for young people, increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes, and reducing the likelihood of them reoffending.
Becoming an ex-offender
The primary purpose of YOTs is to reduce reoffending, and this requires young people to learn how to see themselves as a non-offender, by changing their own personal narrative. Young people also need to be properly integrated into society, so they can take advantage of opportunities generally available for young people of their age. The reintegration and resettlement panels brought together by the brokers are a way of ensuring that all agencies play their part in helping young people to turn away from crime and lead fulfilling, happy lives.
Llamau would like to see the project develop in the future as the type of brokerage work that we deliver has the potential to be better embedded into the practice of the regional panels. We want to develop the work of third-sector partnerships and to extend the project to cover the whole of Wales, including Powys, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. Brokers are independent of YOTs and social services, and they are in a good position to advocate for individual cases as well as influencing best practice and learning within resettlement and reintegration panels. We want the project to provide a legacy which will improve the outcomes and opportunities for young people across Wales.
From the Mouths of Dragons: Young people’s views of their custody and resettlement (N Wales): available online here doi:10.1177/1473225415625374 - Published in Youth Justice