University hosts major Youth Justice conference
The University of Salford’s MediaCityUK campus today (Tuesday 16 October) is host to a major youth justice conference. More than 90 senior practitioners and policy makers from across the country are there to discuss what can help to stop young people reoffending after they leave prison.
The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales conference includes the launch of a new report on resettlement after custody, written by Salford Professor Neal Hazel and Mark Liddle from national research team ARCS. The report highlights the lessons for policy makers and practitioners from all research on the issue over the last 10 years, much of which was carried out by Professor Hazel and the University’s Centre for Social Research (CSR.Salford).
At the moment, between 60-80% of the 4,000 young people who have been in custody each year currently go on to reoffend within 12 months. The research will be used to inform and improve policy around young people who are going back to live in the community after a period in custody so that this reconviction figure can be reduced. The report contains a number of key recommendations, including:
· There should be a focus on release and ‘resettlement’ throughout the custody period to make sure that the young person is prepared and ensure that sufficient support is available to them when they return to the community;
· The first priority on release should be to keep the young person occupied with constructive activities so that they do not fill their time hanging around with peers who may be offenders;
· Young people should be resettled in their own areas wherever possible to increase their support networks;
· Arrangements for education, training or employment should be in place prior to release, as should accommodation provision; and
· Better partnerships need to be forged between different organisations involved in supporting the young person. This includes public sector organisations, employers and others.
Frances Done, Chair of the Youth Justice Board, welcomed the report as providing clear and constructive messages for the future.
“The authors demonstrate that there are many ways in which we can make a clear different for young people trying to establish a positive lifestyle after custody. We know that effective resettlement support can transform lives, helps protect society and saves money.
“This overview of the research captures the key learning and will be of significant value to all of us who are trying to improve resettlement.”