Together with partners, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has refreshed its co-produced ‘Vision for Young People in Custody’. This updated Vision reflects new evidence and the many factors, including the continuing reduction in the numbers of young people in custody and the incorporation of the UNCRC into Scottish law, that are changing the landscape of youth justice in Scotland.
Dr Gill Robinson, Professional Advisor for Young People’s Strategy with SPS, stated: “Refreshing the vision was important because we’ve learned more about these young people since the original document was published in 2014, including the complexity and severity of individual young people’s needs and risks. This helps us as we plan with our partners how best to meet their needs. At the heart of the refreshed vision is the importance of constructive, trusting relationships between staff and young people.”
With its central premise to help young people in custody prepare for a positive future, the Vision has guided SPS’ work at both a strategic and local level and considerable progress has been made in implementing the Vision.
Key amendments include:
- Details of continuing reductions in the population of young people in custody and a resulting increasing complexity of needs and services required to make sure that the needs are addressed.
- A stronger emphasis placed on the mental health and wellbeing of young people, taking account of the findings from publications including the Expert Review of Provision of Mental Health Services at HMP & YOI Polmont.
- Reference made to policy with implications for young people in custody such as the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) into law and messages from the Care Review regarding the appropriateness of placing 16 and 17-year-old children in prison-like settings.
- Reinforcement of the principles and purposes of the original vision which have been shown, through experience and external scrutiny, to remain valid. These include the importance of constructive, trusting relationships between staff and young people to realising the vision.
- It acknowledges that while the implications of Covid-19 are not yet fully understood, that life chances for vulnerable children and young people are likely to be impeded and that the fundamental premise of the vision thereby becomes imperative.
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