Alternatives to secure care and custody: guidance

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

8. Finances

Currently residential establishments average £3,000 - £5,000 per week and secure care costs approximately £5,500 per week. 82

There are also increases in ancillary costs for the fieldwork support for young people placed in residential settings, with estimates of up to £250 per week. 83

Over a one year period, it can cost Local Authorities approximately £260,000 for one young person to be placed in secure care, and £31, 703 for custody. 84

Alternatives to secure and custody demonstrate significant cost savings:

  • ISMS costs approximately £2,000 per week 85
  • Intensive Fostering is approximately £1,400 per week 86
  • Intensive Support Services average package is approximately £600 per week

The Howard League recently reported that: a child in the criminal justice system costs taxpayers over £200, 000 by age 16, whereas a young person given support to stay out costs less than £50, 000. Sending one person to prison for one year costs £45,000, where a one year community sentence costs £3,265. 87

As can be seen from these costings, alternative services to secure care and custody are not only shown to be in the best interest of the young person, but also to local authorities and society at large by the financial savings which can be made and the more positive outcomes for young people that can be achieved as a result.


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