Belief 6: That we have natural skills to help young people

Report
REACHING IN AND
REACHING OUT
Supporting
positive
transitions for
young people
post detention
Tim Moore &
Vicky
Saunders
ICPS
CONTEXT
 Little known about transitions:
 Unfortunately, even a cursory glance at the research literature
and the policy landscape reveals just how little is known about
the transition of young people from prisons to the community
or how best to increase the likelihood that the transitions are
successful (Mears & Travis, 2004b, p4)
 Almost nothing known about how young people think
and feel about incarceration and their transitions
LOST IN TRANSITION:
 Funded in 2007 by the then DHCS prior to the establishment
of Bimberi Youth Justice Centre
 Research questions:
 How do young people experience the transition from detention back
to the community?
 What are the challenges that limit the success of their reintegration ?
 11 Young people on a committal order in 2007-8,
 3 interviews
 Interviews with their family and / or support person
 Review of 120 case files
 Review of the literature
 Interviews with key informants in other jurisdictions
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT INCARCERATION
 evidence strongly suggests that incarceration, in and
of itself, has limited positive influence over rates of
recidivism and, in fact, may have a negative impact:
 connections to communities are broken
 supports and services are diminished
 poor self concept
 negative attribution to crime and
 deskilling and institutionalisation
(Andrews et al., 1990; MacKenzie , 2000; UK Home Of fice, 2005 )
INSTITUTIONALISATION
 You lose everything inside. You get out and you don’t
know how to do shit anymore. And everyone expects
you to do stuff for yourself and you’re like really
wanting to do it but sometimes you just don’t know
how. And it freaks you out and you start stressing
and then you get all angry at yourself and then you
can’t do stuff even if you wanna. You kinda need
someone just saying, ‘yeah that’s it’, not doing it for
you but like letting you know you’re doing the right
thing or going ‘how about you try this’ and helping
you cos its completely different out, hey. Nothing like
inside. And the longer you’re in the harder it is. (YP9)
 As a result, research contends that:
 Low risk offenders should be diverted from the system
 Rehabilitation of young people needs to be the primary
focus throughout their engagement with the system(s)
 Best outcomes are achieved when protective factors are
strengthened and sustained and risks are managed
throughcare
 Sustainable outcomes are achieved when the ultimate
goal is that the young person is (re)integrated into their
communities and negative impacts of incarceration are
resolved
REHABILITATION
Participants believed that rehabilitation resulted in:
 A decrease in criminal behaviour
 A general improvement in the lives and future life
opportunities of young people
[Rehabilitation is] making you make better choices
than what you do. Basically, trying to find yourself
more. Your better side so you don’t have to come back.
Like who you are, who you really are. Trying to be
better than what you were before (YP10)
UNDERSTANDING RISKS AND
PROTECTIVE FACTORS
18
16
14
12
10
Risks
8
Protective Factors
6
4
2
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
MANAGING RISKS… TOGETHER
 I’m going to tr y to stay away from ever yone
who uses. Ice especially. Which is going to be
hard because a few members of my family are
on it at the moment. And yeah, I’m pretty
determined not to use (YP11 ).
 It gets too hard so I star ted using em. It was
only like 2 weeks ago that I star ted [af ter
being out for 9 months]… It was ever ything, all
too much. My Mum was here and she said she
didn’t want to have anything to do with me
anymore… I just couldn’t cope and I just had
to [use]
I also think you can take them away but
they are always going to come back to
where their family is. If you take them
away you need to make sure they
develop skills for when they come back
home.
ENABLING PROTECTIVE FACTORS
 Supporting positive connections:




With
With
With
With
family
positive peers (incl partners)
education
positive activities (including employment)
 [When I get out I’m going to stay at home] Look after my brother. He
keeps me distracted. He’s only 4. He doesn’t really understand it. It’s
screwed up to see his face when he walks in a place like this. My
sister understands it. She hates it. She gets over it and comes in here
but it f**ks up our relationship. She looks at me different. I wanna
just go on with life and not do anything wrong. (YP2)
DEVELOPING ALTERNATIVE FUTURES
 Young people need to feel prepared to change, have
a positive attitude towards change and have
developed strategies in place for this to occur (Abrams,
2006; Abrams & Auilar, 2005; Greve, 2001a),
MIRROR SUPPORTS
 Here’s the thing, right. I reckon that if I didn’t go through this
stuf f I wouldn’t have the support that I’m getting now. I’ve
thought about it lots. If I could go back to 16 and do things
dif ferent, I wouldn’t do anything dif ferent. I wouldn’t hurt the
people I did but other than that I wouldn’t do nothing
dif ferent.
THE POWER OF RELATIONSHIP
 No judgment. That’s got to be number one. They can’t have
any judgments and criticisms… they have to make the time,
the patience and also have the connections to make things
happen…You want someone who is committed to the job, and
is actually there to help. Not something that you can’t just
walk into and go like ‘I’ve got qualifications at TAFE. I’m a
youth worker.’ It’s not like that anymore…You got to have a
worker who knows how to reach inside someone and go ‘look,
I am not gonna hur t you, I am not gonna tell other people
‘bout ya, I am not gonna put judgment and criticism on ya, I
am gonna help ya to the best of my ability. What do ya
wanna…tell me ever ything I need to know – and to have trust.
I wish I had someone (YP11).
EMBEDDING YOUNG PEOPLE
 I was playing indoor cricket ever y week, touch footy on
Mondays, I’d play and then I’d referee the games. [There was
one guy who]…was great, helped keep me busy and linked up
with stuff… I think it’s good to do spor t with someone you
know, so that you can have fun straight away, they can help
you get to know the others in the team.
IT’S ABOUT US
“Ultimately, as a system we must be
hopeful both for the young people in our
care but also in our capacity to help
them make changes in their lives.”
SUMMARY
 To achieve a successful transition, the young people in this
study recognised that:
 they needed to create robust connections with family, peers, school,
workplaces and the broader community;
 they needed to develop skills to manage and resolve the negative
effects of incarceration;
 to get support to manage the risk-filled environments to which they
were returning.
 They believed that having positive relationships might best
facilitate this.
LOST IN TRANSITION
 Available on the website at www.acu.edu.au/icps

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