The CYCJ roadshows involve our team travelling to locations across Scotland to meet with and deliver training to youth justice practitioners working in local authorities, voluntary sector organisations, residential settings and other relevant areas. In this blog post, CYCJ’s Debbie Nolan explains what the Reintegration and Transitions roadshow involves, and how it can benefit practitioners.
When talking to youth justice practitioners about reintegration and transitions practice, it can feel like you are preaching to the converted. Yes, there may be some debate about the terminology used (such the appropriateness of ‘reintegration’) but generally it is agreed that we should:
- Maximise the use of the Children’s Hearings System;
- Provide appropriate support to young people in transitions and at the interface of the Children’s Hearings System and criminal justice system;
- Exhaust all alternatives to secure care and custody, and where detention is deemed necessary, utilise secure care rather than Young Offenders Institutions;
- Where a young person is deprived of their liberty, provide a range of throughcare and reintegration supports.
Why then would there be a need for a roadshow on this topic? Well, because we know the practice reality can be quite different. For example, as highlighted in the forthcoming CYCJ paper on Young People at Court in Scotland, many children and young people continue to be criminally prosecuted as adults in adult courts (with the resultant long-term consequences this brings) for behaviours that in the majority of cases could be addressed in the Children’s Hearings System.
Moreover, as highlighted by Lightowler, Vaswani and Orr (2014), financial barriers remain to the increased use of age-appropriate facilities for children and young people deprived of their liberty which can result in decisions based on cost rather than need. Likewise in research undertaken with young people in developing the Scottish Care Leavers Covenant, young people reported Compulsory Supervision Orders being prematurely terminated and quickly ending up in the adult criminal justice system, as well as experiencing transitional and throughcare support that was inconsistent, short-term and was not based on individual need. It is also often acknowledged that in a climate of ever-increasing financial and workload pressures, throughcare and reintegration support can be an area of practice that is not adequately prioritised.
In recognition of the above and the complexities of practice in this area, CYCJ’s reintegration and transitions roadshow aims to provide some insight into how the gap between rhetoric and reality can be bridged, as well as the opportunity for reflection on what is currently working well (or otherwise) in your own practice, agency or area. In doing so, the roadshow seeks to explore the legislation and policy in this area; to clarify practitioner’s roles and responsibilities at different stages of a young person’s journey; and to highlight the theory and research on what we know about young people’s experiences of reintegration and what makes throughcare effective for both sexes. As with all CYCJ roadshows, this can be tailored to local need, so why not get in touch to discuss?