Responsibilities throughout the young person’s period in custody, for all young people
- The Lead Professional role is fulfilled by the local authority where the young person ordinarily resides and responsibilities are detailed in the Reintegration and Transitions – Guidance for Local Authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and Service Providers (pp.16-17).
- This should ensure active involvement of the local authority in the planning for, and maintenance of contact with, the young person during their period in custody and improved transition and reintegration back to the community. Research by Smith, Dyer and Connelly (2014, p.5) states such continuity of support “should be an important part of the rehabilitative process”.
- The Named Person will be in a Unit Manager within the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).
- The SPS will allocate a Personal Officer who will be a single point of contact for the young person during their period in custody and a secondary Personal Officer to fulfil this role in the Personal Officer’s absence. The responsibilities of this role are detailed in the Report of the Scottish Prison Service Organisational Review – Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives.
- Sharing of information and plans between the Lead Professional and Personal Officer should be ongoing throughout the period of detention.
The Child’s Plan should move with the young person to custody and be the basis for planning during the young person’s period in custody. The Lead Professional is responsible for maintaining this plan.
The SPS should make the following arrangements for the young person:
- On the first morning be told who their Personal Officer is and if possible be introduced
- Within the first 72 hours, complete a core screen interview to identify any immediate needs, including:
- Benefits and finance
- Family contact
- Learning and skills
- Health and substance misuse
- Offending behaviour
- Appropriate referrals will be made for support in respect of identified needs
- Be examined by a GP within 24 hours
- Where appropriate have their community GP medical notes accessed and be registered with Young Offender’s Institution (YOI) Health Centre GP
- Undergo screening for any undiagnosed learning difficulties and have an action plan established if required
All young people subject to statutory supervision on release will be referred to prison-based social work.
HMYOI Polmont: young people undergo induction to their residential hall and one week induction with the Links Centre to inform the young person of all aspects of the YOI, roles of certain staff and services that they can access to meet their needs and assist their reintegration.
HMP & YOI Cornton Vale: this induction will be within the First Night in Custody area, with input from Links Centre staff as above.
Some YOIs offer a family induction session to give family members an understanding the YOIs routine and answer questions. There can however be issues with the consistency and availability of induction. The Good Practice Guidance for the Support of Families Affected by Imprisonment and the Framework for the support of families affected by the Criminal Justice System offer guidance about the content and delivery of family induction sessions.
Initial custody reviews
An initial custody review should be held for all young people under the age of 18. The type and timescale for initial custody reviews depends on the young person's legal status:
For young people entering custody on remand for over 7 days or who have been sentenced: reviews should be held within 10 working days of being detained, although within 72 hours remains best practice.
For young people on 7 day remand: a telephone call should be undertaken with the personal officer ASAP.
For young people who are looked after by the local authority: reviews should be held within 72 hours as per good practice guidance.
The purposes of initial custody reviews include:
- Sharing information including on need and risks
- Supporting young people during this transition period
- Continuity of planning (both for sentence and release)
- Promoting partnership working
- Engaging young people and their families
Reviews should be:
- Arranged and chaired by the local authority where the young person ordinarily resides.
- Held in the YOI and in some cases video conferencing can be utilised.
- Attended by the young person, their family (where appropriate), the Lead Professional/social worker from the young person’s home area who knows or has as full information about the young person as possible, chair from the local authority, staff from the receiving establishment and any other relevant professionals, including third sector organisations. The number of professionals attending the initial custody review should be limited.
- The SPS should be notified in advance who will be attending the review.
- Reviews should be recorded as per local arrangements and the Child’s Plan updated by the Lead Professional following this. Minutes and the updated child’s plan should be shared with the SPS.
Resources for this page
- Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
- Families Outside: What to Expect when Starting a Prison Sentence Information Sheet
- The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009
- Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ). (2015). Reviews for young people aged under 18 in custody-Information for local authorities. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Community Justice Authorities (CJAs). (2015). Framework for the support of families affected by the Criminal Justice System. Scotland: CJAs.
- Criminal Justice Family Support Network. (2015). Good Practice Guidance for the Support of Families Affected by Imprisonment. Edinburgh: Families Outside.
- Nolan, D. (2015). Youth Justice: A Study of Local Authority Reintegration and Transitions Practice Across Scotland. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Scottish Government. (2011). Reintegration and Transitions – Guidance for Local Authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and Service Providers. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2015). Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 Revised Draft Statutory Guidance for Parts 4, 5 and 18 (Section 96).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.
- SPS. (2013). Report of the Scottish Prison Service Organisational Review – Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives. Edinburgh: SPS.