Custodial Sentences
Case Study

"B" was 16 and nearing the end of a custodial sentence when referred to LCS. Their history included:

  • Adoption at 2-years-old, following maternal abuse
  • Abuse by a BME group male – resulting in previously unchallenged racist behaviours
  • Petty crimes and shoplifting
  • Gang involvement, including sustaining extreme personal injury requiring weeks in hospital
  • Disowned by adoptive parents following escalating criminal activities

To ensure we could effectively support "B", we liaised with Children's Social Care (CSC) and the Young Offender Institution (YOI) to complete a comprehensive initial assessment – including reviewing B’s profile and risk assessments. We visited B at the YOI, and collaborated with him alongside YOI and CSC staff to identify key issues/concerns that had previously prevented successful engagement, plans to address these, and their wider support plan.

For "B", this included:

Attachment disorder. "B" desperately sought stability and affection

  • Regular visits from consistent staff
  • Offering a homely environment
  • Reassuring him that we cared about him and wanted him to succeed

Ongoing criminal behaviours

  • Proactive response including maintaining firm/consistent boundaries and positive diversionary activities

Tendency towards explosive outbursts/destructive behaviours to avoid discussing their feelings or past

  • Co-developing positive alternatives and coping strategies

  • Discussing negative behaviours causes

Mistrust of men

  • Matched with female staff to enable trust development

We regularly visited "B" in the YOI before their move into LCS accommodation, ensuring they were well prepared through activities including:

  • Building excellent working relationships– providing the stability he craved, addressing their attachment disorder and preparing for a smooth transition
  • Preparing him to move into the accommodation – including showing him images of the flat, giving him a personalised Welcome Book (with information about their new home, the local community – including sports/leisure facilities and religious organisations, house rules, and behaviour expectations)
  • Providing dedicated out-of-hours response – building trust and reassuring him when anxious or bored
  • "B" signing a tenancy agreement, committing to rules, and engaging in services. This included ensuring he understood, and agreed to, the behaviours expected of him (including stopping offending and racism), and sanctions/rewards for breaching/meeting these
  • Starting to establish long-term, positive goals
  • Discussing decorative preferences, and supporting him to make the flat “their own”
  • Honest conversations and planning with him about Day One, Week One to address fear, anxiety, loneliness or boredom

This ensured "B" was focussed, positive, and successfully engaged with us from the day he moved in.