Reintegration and transitions for young offenders: guidance

Best practice information for local authorities, community planning partnership and service providers.

Appendix 4 - Scottish Prison Service

In accordance with the SPS Strategic Framework for the Management of Young People in Custody, young people coming into custody, regardless of their status are offered access supportive sessions where available, such as:

  • youth work;
  • fitness and stress;
  • local community supports Mentors (Mentors UK, Includem, Life Coaching);
  • referrals to appropriate supports (such as Phoenix Futures, SDS, housing); and
  • healthy relationships

All convicted young people serving seven days or more will receive a Core Screen interview, carried out by a competent SPS staff member, within 72 hours of admission. All referrals identified through the Core Screen interview will be made in accordance with the Core Screen guidance. 116

Young People will be allocated to either Enhanced or Standard Integrated Case Management ( ICM). ICM is multi-agency process designed to ensure individuals in prison are helped and supported to deal with their social or personal difficulties so that they are less likely to re-offend when they are released.

Young people will be encouraged to think about the areas of their life that they need to change, to make plans for their release and to decide what prison activities will help them to make a successful return to their community when they are released.

The Standard ICM Route is usually for those serving less than four years in custody and who will not have statutory social work involvement post-release. Staff should support young people to reach their goals and to discuss their progress with their family. The Enhanced ICM Route is usually for prisoners who are sentenced to more than four years, and who will have social work involvement when they are released from prison. Young people on both ICM routes will contribute to a Community Integration Plan which will be very much a part of the young person's single plan.

Where an individual is subject to post-release supervision, the prison Governor will ensure relevant notification is issued to the supervising local authority within 14 days of receipt of the relevant information from the court. Such notification will include a request to appoint a lead professional for the young person and all relevant documentation will be copied to them upon receipt of such information from the court.


Plan-B is a new programme, led by Barnardo's Scotland and bringing together voluntary agencies along with statutory provision to provide a co-ordinated and structured programme of support based on the needs of individual young people. It operates in both HMYOI Polmont (Blair House) and HMP and YOI Cornton Vale. It also actively develops support for young people on their return to their communities across Scotland by linking young people with existing provision and resources.

Plan-B builds on young people's strengths, including relationships with significant others. It maximises the impact of current provision by enabling a coordinated, partnership approach.

Plan-B provides young people with a tailored plan of support along with an exit strategy for their return to the community, or transition to an adult establishment. One of the key features of this service is that each young person will own their Plan-B and be a partner in its success.

Partnership and collaboration

As is evident from this report, effective partnership working is critical to improving the outcomes for young people in prison and on their return to the community. Plan-B involves a continuous process of engagement with statutory and voluntary agencies to support young people's access to the services they require and to agree the best approach for joint-working. This includes all aspects of a young person's life. However, at the point of release young people can be especially vulnerable and key factors such as on-going support, housing and accommodation, access to specialist services and to opportunities such as training, skills and employment make a significant difference to the young person and the likelihood of their return to custody.

The Plan-B process - in Prison

Young men in Blair House, Polmont aged 16-17 and young women aged 16-21 in Cornton Vale will be eligible for Plan-B. Detailed referral criteria have been agreed with each establishment and will be subject to review as the service develops.

The first steps in Plan-B include a preliminary assessment which includes meeting individual young people to identify their strengths and support needs. This process also draws on other available information, for example, an SER, where available. Following this initial process each young person has a bespoke Plan-B that includes access to the services and supports they require. This includes specialist services where possible. Typically, Plan-B addresses: wellbeing and self-confidence; peer and family relationships; substance use and self-harm; learning, training and skills development; rights, responsibilities and life skills; preparation for transitions.

The Plan-B co-ordinator works closely with the prison team to ensure young people have access to the services they need. The Co-ordinator also seeks additional resources and services in order to address any gaps in delivery. Plan-B is designed to maximise existing resources and to enable effective partnerships to develop. It is not intended to duplicate that which already exists. All participating agencies should benefit from the process and, essentially young people can expect a more co-ordinated and meaningful approach in addressing their needs and preparing them for return to the community or transition to an adult prison.

The Plan-B process - in the community

Plan-B includes an exit plan detailing the support young people will access on their return to the community, and any advance work or contacts to be undertaken prior to that event. This includes relationships with family or significant others, and with agencies with whom the young person has established a relationship. Access to community based services varies across Scotland. Where there are no apparent resources, Barnardo's will provide a 'Plan-B Coach' who will provide initial, short-term support for the young person and assist in ensuring access to pre-identified services. In any case, relationships will be developed at the earliest stages and, where possible, key staff will make a minimum of two prison visits to meet with the young person pre-release and then arrange to meet them at the point of release. The initial stages of Plan-B have been encouraging in this respect and it would appear that both young people and participating agencies are benefitting from a shared, partnership approach to working with young people on their release.

Plan-B in Blair House, Polmont is funded by the Robertson Trust for three years whilst Plan-B in Cornton Vale is funded by 'Breaking the Cycle', also for three years. A continuous evaluation process across the life of the programme in both establishments will enable all partners to address learn about effective processes and to address issues that will arise.

Plan-B is a new service which aims to draw together the wide range of supports and activities that young people could have access to in a way that enables the participation and ownership of the young person. Plan-B is currently undergoing a Test Phase. This ends on the 31 st of May 2011 (4 months) and will enable Barnardo's, SPS staff and partners, to test and develop the model, ensuring that, from assessment through to delivery, the process is effective.

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