We know through official figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Prisons (HMIP) and independent research that there is a real need to develop innovative approaches to understanding why we have this disproportionate representation of Care Leavers within the CJS:
- Children in Care and Care Leavers account for less than 1% of the population
- Over 25% of the adult prison population has previously been in care
- 49% of young men under the age of 21 in the CJS have spent time in care
- 27% of young men in custody have spent time in care
- 55% of girls in the 15-18 age group in custody have spent some time in local care
The relationship between care and offending is a complex one; poor unsuitable housing and in some cases No Fixed Abode on release, a lack of support networks, an inability to locate oneself as an individual separate from the institution (institutionalisation), emotional wellbeing, attachment issues, anger, poor social skills, a lack of pro-social development, poor education, no structured family to talk of, thus no visits, no letters, a sense of abandonment, loneliness and a lack of aspiration feeling they will be released to the same sense of loss they felt when they left care and before going to custody with few positive role models to steer them away from the sometimes deviant social groups they found themselves living amongst before going into custody. The needs of ‘older’ Care Leavers are apparent in terms of the residual issues of a care experience across the life course.
Yet we also know that this group of people represent an invaluable untapped skills base and it is an outrage to see this wasted talent. We need a radical shift in thinking toward this group and this seminar represents a shift in that direction and is a part of the wider body of work being developed here at The CLA.
The seminar is outcome focused and has the objective of:
- Promoting engagement across key agencies concerned with the transition of Looked After Children (LAC) and Care Leavers as they access and/or sit on the periphery the Criminal Justice System (CJS)
- Developing and promoting innovative approaches to local partnership working with LAC/Care Leavers in the CJS that address their individual needs
- Promoting transparency, openness and accountability of public services to LAC and Care Leavers, in view of the overwhelming impact of public services on their life chances and quality of life
- Providing training and information on the needs of LAC/Care Leavers, their emotional well-being and legal status
The two key outcomes from this session will be to;
- Develop an action plan based on discussion
- To implement a steering group to ensure key action points are picked up and taken forward
The action plan will be underpinned by a working paper to be developed from the discussion points within the attached and this work is closely related to the Community Budget Transforming Justice work.
The Seminar report from seminars held in 2011 can now be downloaded Care Leavers, Looked After Children & the Criminal Justice System – Seminar Report (1)
During 2015-17 we will be holding a series of seminars in each region of the country.