Young offenders institutions

Pre-release preparations

The transitions to and from custody are major, often traumatic, life events for children and young people, which in addition to the negative effects this experience in itself can bring, may exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities and disadvantage, rendering young people susceptible to a range of (further) negative outcomes on release (Hollingsworth, 2013; Bateman, Hazel and Wright, 2013). However, “the amount and availability of support networks that each young person has is integral to their successful exit from secure care or custody” (Scottish Government, 2011, p.19).

Planning for a child or young person’s exit from custody and reintegration to their community should start at the point of remand/sentence and must include young people and their families.

The length of sentence will determine how, when and who decides that a child or young person can be returned to their community. The date in which a young person is released can be:

Under the Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Act 2015 release timed to benefit re-integration in certain circumstances an individual can be released up to two days prior to their scheduled release date. Any service provider working with a child or young person (including the local authority) who believes they can evidence that the child or young person’s EDL is problematic to their reintegration can apply but they need to provide robust reasons and evidence for this. The Scottish Prison Service are responsible for considering any such request. It is important that the child or young person, SPS staff and community based-social work are aware of this provision.


Children and young people are presented to:

For all children and young people: a pre-release meeting should be held at least ten days prior to liberation. This meeting should be chaired by a representative from the local authority where the child ordinarily resides and include the child or young person, their family (where appropriate), Personal Officer and YOI staff, the Lead Professional and other relevant professionals, including those who will work with the young person on release. It is important that information from this meeting is available to the Case Management Board.

Post-release plans

All children or young people should agree a Community Integration Plan (CIP) prior to their release. This will include agreed priorities and identified contacts for community supports upon release.

It is the responsibility of the Lead Professional to ensure post-release community supports as detailed in the Child’s Plan are in place and are coordinated (Scottish Government, 2011).

The research findings on effective post-release plans and support as detailed under secure care – transitions also apply to children or young people leaving custody.

Pre-release preparations may include support from third sector agencies.

Where the child remains subject to a Compulsory Supervision Order, plans should be reviewed regularly as detailed in the appendix.


Prior to release, the Young Offender Institution all children or young people should:

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