With a falling number of young people in prison, those who are serving a prison sentence are there due to the seriousness of their crimes and/or the frequency of their offending. It is by no means unusual for a young person to be serving a sentence for one or more crimes, whilst other offences continue to be investigated and brought to court. Sometimes it can be that as a young person is released at the end of their custodial time, they are arrested at the gate to begin the process again for a different offence.
The situation of multiple offences can mean that a young person, having left prison and working to get back on track, is pulled back into the criminal justice system as historical offences are processed. The effect on their resettlement is significant as Alice Williams, In2Out's Resettlement Manager explains:
It's a constant worry in the back of their heads. A lot of them try not to think about it and put it to one side, but it's still there. For some, it motivates they to get work as this will look good in court. However, I feel the majority would say it pulls them backwards. Some feel there's no point in trying as they're expecting to go back to prison. They think, 'what's the point?'.
After serving time in HMYOI Wetherby and asking In2Out for mentoring support, Kevin was on the out. His Mentor helped him with preparing his CV, applying for courses and apprenticeships, accompanying him to employment and training appointments - even providing a bike so he could get to work. He's had various opportunities from a landscaping apprenticeship to a football coaching course.
He'd been on the out for at least three years, he was off license and in employment when he found out an historical offence was proceeding to court. At times, as he waited for his court date, he was motivated to work and keep busy as it would look good for his case. But as the wait dragged on, Kevin was very worried that he would return to prison for several years. When his Mentor asked if he was working, he texted:
Nope, not at the moment... Not long till I'm back in [prison] somewhere... I think it's pointless, to be honest.
As things turned out, Kevin received a community order and has carried on doing well on the out.
Having an In2Out Mentor can help when historical offences come to court. The young person's progress, whether they've kept to their licence conditions and what they've been doing with their time, can be taken in to consideration. In2Out can share in court about the positive progress that we have seen, and the fact that the young person has our support can make a big difference. Breaking free from the past can be a long and messy process. But whether our participants return to custody or not, if they want to make real change in their lives, In2Out will continue to support them for as long as they want our help.