Research undertaken by Scotland’s national centre for youth justice could have an impact on reducing reoffending and the amount of young people serving custodial sentences.
Findings from the research have been published by the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ) in two reports.
Both reports take a detailed look at paths in and out of custody by young offenders serving sentences at HM Young Offenders’ Institution (HMYOI) Polmont, compiled through interviews and data collection. They focus on the experiences, attitudes and relationships of the young men, and their plans for the future.
‘Young Men in Custody: A report on the pathways into and out of prison of young men aged 16 and 17’ was based on a review of prison psychology files from HMYOI Polmont, along with social work reports for 125 young men, aged 16 to 17. Semi-structured interviews were also carried out with 11 young men.
‘Supporting Forth and Fife Valley: Pathways into prison and supports available to young people from Fife and Forth Valley’ was the result of parallel research undertaken on behalf of the Fife and Forth Valley Community Justice Authority (FFVCJA), who expressed an interest in the initial research. This project examined the social work reports of 32 young men aged between 17 and 21 from the Fife and Forth Valley areas who were serving sentences in HMYOI Polmont. The research included semi-structured interviews with young men who agreed to speak to researchers.
Recommendations made by both reports include: offering alternatives to custody in cases exempting murder; support for continuing engagement with education; continued relationships with community based social workers whilst in prison; the availability of clear information about court processes; and more support for young offenders, tailored to individual needs.
CYCJ hopes that this work will improve practice and understanding of working with young offenders, and ultimately lead to a reduction in those serving a custodial sentence.
Access the reports here: