Reintegration is a term recognised to apply to children returning to the community following a period of being deprived of their liberty, either in secure care or custody, or going from being subject to an alternative to custody to having no legal order in place (CYCJ, 2020a).
The period immediately following a child leaving secure care or custody “…has been identified as a window of opportunity during which young people may be committed to giving up offending (Bateman, Hazel and Wright, 2013). The shock of leaving custody, however, if not addressed, might tend to undermine that commitment, thereby reducing the prospects for desistance” (Bateman and Hazel, 2015, p.7). It is essential that the stress, disorientation and trauma this can bring are recognised and appropriate support is provided before, during and after such transitions (Scottish Government, 2021). Such post-sentence support is often referred to as throughcare (CYCJ, 2020). This is distinct from aftercare for looked after children, although many children will also have entitlements to such support.
Statutory responsibilities of the local authority
- To provide throughcare services to individuals who have been sentenced to be deprived of their liberty for over four years or released on licence
- To provide voluntary assistance to others leaving custody, on request, in the first 12 months of their release
- As per the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 (section 27) with replacements by Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990 (section 61)
The responsibilities for social work services are outlined in the National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System.
There is no requirement to provide post-sentence support to individuals who have been sentenced to community-based disposals.
Responsibilities to children under the Whole System Approach (WSA)
Local authorities and community planning partners have a responsibility under the WSA to ensure resources are available for all children returning to the community from secure care and custody to support their reintegration, promote the child’s wellbeing, uphold their rights and improve outcomes. Such support is crucial as research consistently finds:
- The chance of support and intervention in secure care/Young Offenders Institution (YOI) being successful and children having positive outcomes is improved by the nature, quality and length of support on return to the community.
- Children who leave establishments without resources, support and coordination between agencies have a higher risk of returning to secure care/custody. Support is a fundamental part of successful reintegration and helps children on their journey of change to see a way towards a more positive identity away from that linked to being in conflict with the law, and a future.
Post sentence supports should be tailored to individual need and meeting these needs, be detailed in the Child’s Plan, adopt a GIRFEC approach, and reflect the research findings on effective supports as detailed in secure care - transitions. This should combine personal support, to help children see the way forward towards a more positive identity and future and the pathways that can help to achieve this, alongside structural support; often including accommodation, education, training and employment, health and substance misuse, involvement of families and financial stability (Hazel et al., 2017) (see CYCJ, 2020 for more information). This will require the involvement of a range of agencies with responsibility for the child’s care and support. Where children are transitioning to other services, such as adult services, the child must have an identified professional contact to take over from the lead professional and all relevant information, including the child’s views, plans, risk assessments, formulations and risk reduction plans must be shared as part of the transition planning (Scottish Government, 2021).
Many third sector organisations provide support to children on return to the community. This can include continuing to provide services that commenced while the child was subject to a sentence, as well as throughcare support services for individuals leaving short sentences and not subject to post-release supervision.
Children released on licence
Once released into the community, the child will be under the supervision of a social worker in the community where they are residing. The responsibilities of social work services and the social worker are as detailed in the National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System and National Objectives for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System: Standards - Throughcare.
Licence conditions can be breached either by:
- Failure to comply with licence conditions
- A new offence
Where breach is identified in cases where a child has been convicted under section 205(2) and 208 Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, the Scottish Government should be notified by their social worker.
Depending on the breach and level of risk, possible outcomes include:
- The breach is noted but no further action is taken
- The child remains in the community but has amendments made to their licence conditions
- The child is given a warning letter
- The licence can be revoked, meaning the child can no longer remain in the community and may be detained either in secure care or custody until the end of their sentence.
Child subject to an Order of Lifelong Restriction (OLR)
- On release, the individual will be supervised in the community (or hospital setting) for the rest of their lives.
- When the person is in the community, justice social work services act as the Lead Authority and are responsible for preparing the Risk Management Plan (RMP); supervising the individual; and forming a Risk Management Team (RMT), i.e. a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary group that has delegated responsibility for the risk assessment and management of the individual. For the purposes of the OLR process, this group is referred to as the Risk Management Team (RMT). The RMT may be convened through existing structures (e.g.
Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), Restricted Patient Multi-Disciplinary Teams etc.) or a group convened for the specific case. The RMP must be submitted to the Risk Management Authority (RMA) for approval and the Lead Authority must report to the RMA annually and review the plan should circumstances change.
- If the individual requires hospital treatment, in the short-term criminal justice social work services will continue to fulfil the above roles. If treatment becomes longer-term, the hospital will take over as the Lead Authority and will be required to undertake the activities outlined above.
- The person will be subject to licence conditions set by the Parole Board as detailed in YOI - release on licence… and above. If recalled, they will remain in custody/secure care until the Parole Board decide that the risk they pose can be managed in the community again.
Resources for this page
- Beyond Youth Custody
- Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003
- Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990
- Risk Management Authority
- Risk Management Authority Order for Lifelong Restriction
- Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland
- Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968
- Bateman, T. and Hazel, N. (2014). Resettlement of girls and young women: research report. London: Beyond Youth Custody.
- Bateman, T. and Hazel, N. (2015). Custody to Community How young people cope with release: research report. London: Beyond Youth Custody.
- Bateman, T., Hazel, N., and Wright, S. (2013). Resettlement of young people leaving custody: lessons from the literature. London: Beyond Youth Custody.
- Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ). (2020a). A Guide to Youth Justice in Scotland: Reintegration and Transitions: Youth justice practice at the interface of the Children’s Hearings System and the Criminal Justice System. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- CYCJ. (2020). A Guide to Youth Justice in Scotland: Theory and Methods. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Goodfellow, P. and Francis, V. (2016). Custody to community: supporting young people to cope with release: a practitioner’s guide. London: Beyond Youth Custody.
- Gough, A. (2017). Secure Care in Scotland: Young People’s Voices. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Hazel, N., Goodfellow, P., Liddle, M., Bateman, T. and Pitts, J. (2017). ‘Now all I care about is my future’-supporting the shift: research report. London: Beyond Youth Custody.
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation. (2016). Desistance and young people. Manchester: HMI Probation.
- McNeill, F., Farrall, S., Lightowler, C., and Maruna, S. (2012). How and why people stop offending: discovering desistance. Glasgow: IRISS.
- McGillivary, C. (2016). Rendering Them Visible: A Review of Progress Towards Increasing Awareness and Support of Prisoners’ Families. Edinburgh: Families Outside.
- Nugent, B. and Schinkel, M. (2016). The pains of desistance Criminology & Criminal Justice, 16(5), 568–584.
- Scottish Government. (2004). National Objectives for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System: Standards – Throughcare. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2010). National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2011). Reintegration and Transitions – Guidance for Local Authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and Service Providers. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2020). Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2021). Standards for those working with children in conflict with the law. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Smith, S., Dyer, F. and Connelly, G. (2014). Young Men in Custody: A report on the pathways into and out of prison of young men aged 16 and 17. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Weaver, B. and Nolan, D. (2015). Families of Prisoners: A review of the evidence. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Wright, D. and Factor, F. (2014). Resettlement of girls and young women: a practitioner’s guide. London: Beyond Youth Custody.
- Wright, S. and Liddle, M. (2014). Developing trauma informed resettlement for young custody leavers: a practitioners guide. London: Beyond Youth Custody.