Greater focus upon resettlement needed to address rising youth custody levels, says Nacro Chief Executive, Jacob Tas | Nacro
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Greater focus upon resettlement needed to address rising youth custody levels, says Nacro Chief Executive, Jacob Tas


“It is very disappointing that figures from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) show that youth custody levels are on a continuous rise for the first time in almost a decade. There has been more than a 6% increase in the number of children and young people aged up to 18 years old within the secure estate, in comparison to 2016. With the proven juvenile reoffending rate currently standing at 69.4%, it is now increasingly likely that more young people will get caught up in a destructive cycle of offending that they will struggle to get out of.
“A recent report from our policy and research programme, Beyond Youth Custody (BYC), found overwhelming evidence which showed that the majority of children and young people in custody come from disadvantaged families and communities, with experiences of childhood trauma such as neglect and abuse.  Failing to identify trauma and mental health concerns at the earliest opportunity means pre-existing trauma and mental health concerns will get worse during time in custody. This leads to the type of dysfunctional behaviour that causes repeat offending.

“BYC research found that effective resettlement is a process that supports a shift in a young person’s personal identity. This starts with an acceptance of offending behaviour and moves towards an eventual point where offending has ceased and the young person has a more future-oriented and positive sense of self.

“To ensure that this worrying trend does not continue, there must be a relentless focus upon putting resettlement at the heart of a custodial sentence, so that young people can take the important steps they need to move on from crime, identify and achieve their goals, and flourish in our communities.

“At Nacro, we work with offenders and ex-offenders across the country, often with complex needs, supporting them to build positive and independent futures.  We do not give up.  Time and time again, Nacro staff have seen young offenders living in our supported housing or those we have helped through skills education and training, turn their back on a life of crime after being given a chance to do better.

“We are delighted that Nacro’s BYC programme will be working with the Ministry of Justice and the YJB to develop a resettlement strategy for young offenders, and we look forward to working in partnership with government and organisations across the sector.”