Alternatives to secure care and custody: guidance

Guidance for local authorities, community planning partnerships and service providers on developing a whole system approach.

7. Nothing Works?

Should a young person not engage with an alternative service to secure care and custody, everything possible should be done to ensure that they do engage. The views of the young person should be taken into account but services also need to be persistent in engaging them.

If however, they are sent/sentenced to such an establishment, planning should start immediately for their return to the community. As desistance literature suggests, there are a variety of reasons why young people stop offending, and commitment to that young person should not change because of their lack of engagement. Professionals should remain involved and supportive and plan appropriately for them, following the principles of GIRFEC.

Length of sentence may influence professionals' involvement, but, initially, community based social workers should be in contact with the secure provider or the Scottish Prison Service to share information and contribute to the young person's GIRFEC plan.

If a young person is subject to a supervision requirement, this should not be terminated because they have been given a custodial sentence. Termination should be the result of full a need and risk assessment. A 72 hour looked after review should be arranged for those young people subject to a supervision requirement though the Children's Hearings System or post sentence meeting for those who are not. Remaining on supervision allows a young person to be fully supported when they return to the community.

If the young person is returning to their family home, work should be undertaken, where possible, to ensure that the family/carers can provide for their needs and reduce any future risks of re-offending. If the young person is unable to return home or is homeless, plans should be put in place to ensure adequate accommodation is available for them on release.

During their time in secure care or custody, work should be undertaken to meet their needs, as identified by their plan. Work should also be undertaken to address their offending behaviour and any criminogenic needs, as highlighted by the risk assessment. This work should continue when a young person returns to the community or if they move within the secure or prison estate.

Further information can be found in the Reintegration and Transitions Guidance 81 .


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