Effective resettlement for young people in the criminal justice system needs to start at the pre-sentence assessment stage, continue through the young person’s induction to custody, their period in custody, and their transition back into the community on licence, and post-licence. The aim of this approach being to provide as seamless as possible a transition for young people back into their communities. See Figure 1 below: Pre-sentence Custody Community Community on licence post licence Seamless transition between phases Pre-Sentence The YOT case manager establishes what the young person’s housing circumstances are when completing the Pre-Sentence Report. If the young person has their own tenancy the YOT case manager, with the young person’s consent, needs to inform the housing provider of the potential change in the young person’s circumstances to try and ensure that the young person’s accommodation will be secured if the young person goes in to custody. Alternatively, the worker may request for the housing provider to give permission to the Court to allow electronic tagging equipment to be installed in the property to prevent the young person being remanded/sentenced to custody. If the young person is residing at home, the YOT case manager needs to liaise with the young person’s parents/carers/family to ascertain whether or not there have been difficulties with the young person living at home and if the young person will be allowed to remain/return home. If the young person is living in insecure accommodation or homeless, the YOT case manager needs to liaise with the YOT housing worker to ensure that appropriate referrals are made. Pre-Sentence Housing Needs Assessment should consider the following questions: What accommodation is the young person currently living in? How long has the young person lived at the accommodation? Is the young person renting the accommodation? Is s/he claiming housing benefit? If the young person gets a custodial sentence will they be able to return to the accommodation? Does anything need to be done for the accommodation to continue to be available to the young person on their release from custody? If the young person gets a custodial sentence and is released early will s/he be able to live in the accommodation on electronic tag? Does the young person have personal belongings in the accommodation? Can the young person’s belongings remain in the accommodation? If they can’t, do they have any friends/family they can store their belongings with? Does the young person have any additional welfare/support needs? Would the young person benefit from Independent Living Skills training? What areas does the young person want/need to focus on? How does the risk of harm (to self/others) assessment completed by the YOT impact on the young person’s housing options? Do the housing options available address young person’s diverse needs (e.g. ethnicity, sexuality, religion, disability, health, etc.)? Sentence/Reception in Custody Where a young person receives a custodial sentence, the YOT will inform the young person’s family/accommodation provider/housing worker. If the young person is in receipt of housing benefit a YOT worker needs to inform the local authority Housing Benefit of the young person’s change in circumstances, ensuring that the young person’s housing benefit claim continues (this can be for up to 13 weeks whilst the young person is serving a custodial sentence) and that the young person does not get into rent arrears. The YOT Case Manager ensures that all information regarding the young person’s housing situation is shared with the YOI case manager. YOI Case Manager reviews the housing assessment carried out by the YOT Case Manager at Pre-Sentence stage to see if there have been any changes. YOI Case Manager facilitates the young person’s independent living skills training. Custody Initial sentence planning meeting to be held within 10 working days of a young person being sentenced to serve a Detention and Training Order (DTO) and admitted to custody. The planning meeting informs the young person’s sentence plan. It should have representatives from education and health, as well as the YOT, the YOI, the young person and their parent/carer, and where relevant housing/social services. The young person’s views/wants/needs in relation to accommodation should be part of the planning process. The sentence plan lists objectives to be achieved whilst the young person in custody and post-custody this would include issues around independent living as appropriate as well as factors that contributed to the young person’s offending. Within 1 month of the initial sentence planning meeting a review meeting has to be held with the young person, YOT case manager and YOI case manager, to ensure that the sentence plan is being followed as agreed. Housing workers should follow up on this. A review meeting must then be held at least every 2 months if the young person is serving a DTO of less than 8 months, or every 3 months if the young person’s DTO is longer. These meetings should be attended by all the people who attended the initial sentence planning meeting and each meeting should consider the young person’s suitability for early release. The young person’s licence and any possible restrictions (e.g. curfew, exclusion area, electronic monitoring, etc.) should also be discussed as these may impact on the young person’s housing options and access to other services. 1 month prior to the young person leaving custody a ‘resettlement review meeting’ must be held to ensure that all the arrangements are in place for the young person to resettle back into the community effectively (e.g. housing, education, health, offending behaviour work, etc.). In addition to statutory meetings, additional visits can be made to the young person in the YOI by their families/carers and other agencies. A list of approved visitors will need to be provided to the YOI by the YOT case manager. Ideally the young person will be collected from the YOI, either by their parent/carer, YOT case manager, housing officer or other suitable person. Licence The young person has to report to the YOT the same day they are released from custody. It is therefore extremely important that any housing related meetings do not clash with the YOT meeting as the young person will immediately be in breach of their licence and risk being sent back to Court. The YOT case manager must arrange a review meeting within 10 working days of the young person being released from custody. The purpose of this meeting is to review the resettlement plan agreed when the young person was in custody. The YOI case manager should attend this meeting as should all the people who attended the sentence planning review meetings in custody. Following this meeting, review meetings should be held every 3 months or at the end of the young person’s Order (end of the licence period). The housing support worker should be invited to attend all review meetings. The housing provider should provide the YOT case manager with a copy of the young person’s tenancy agreement so the YOT is clear of the young person’s responsibilities as a tenant and what levels of service the young person can expect to receive from the housing provider. The housing provider should invite the YOT case manager to attend the initial support planning meeting. The YOT case manager should visit the young person at their home within 5 days of their release from custody. If the young person is willing, it may be possible to coordinate the YOT home visit with the initial support planning meeting. The YOT case manager should then arrange to visit the young person at their home at least once a month. Again, it may be possible to coordinate these home visits with the support plan review meetings. The housing support plan should address the young person’s resettlement needs and should include work on independent living skills (carrying on work started in the YOI) as well as motivational work and linking in the young person with mainstream health and education services. There is the potential for confusion between the housing support worker and YOT case manager where there might be some overlap in work being carried out with the young person. It is extremely important that the YOT case manager attends the initial support planning meeting and subsequent review meetings to ensure that the professionals concerned and the young person are aware of who is taking responsibility for carrying forward a piece of work with the young person. Prior to the end of the young person’s Order, the YOT case manager should facilitate a meeting to review the young person’s progress in the community and identify a professional to take the lead in working with the young person and coordinating information sharing across relevant agencies. Post-Licence The young person will no longer be under the YOT’s statutory supervision. However, it will be good practice for the YOT to maintain a stream of communication with the housing provider, to regularly review joint-working arrangements and to track the young person’s progress and outcomes.
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