Improving outcomes for care leavers with prison sentences

Words Ella Walding

Funded by The Oak Foundation, Innovation Unit and partners have begun work to develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing care leavers given prison sentences and their experiences of being in custody and following release.

The challenge

Society is not doing enough to support young adults who leave care and are involved in the criminal justice system. Although less than 1% of the population is in care, at least half of these young adults have had experience of prison, with many going onto reoffend. The evidence tells us that care leavers (18-25) face additional challenges after leaving prison, requiring support to find a stable home, income and place in the community in order for them to lead meaningful, positive futures. 

One of the main challenges is that not enough is known about these young adults and the rehabilitation support needed to radically improve their life chances. As such, provision for care leavers released from prison is patchy at best and often inconsistent.

The project

Funded by The Oak Foundation, Innovation Unit, Prison Reform Trust and Catch22 National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum will work together to generate a deeper understanding of the issues care leavers given prison sentences face, and in response design new and creative approaches to rehabilitation.

We will collaborate across sectors, including local government, children’s social care, the criminal justice system, and community and volunteer organisations who have a stake in helping young adults flourish and fulfil their dreams and aspirations.

Our long term aim is to transform the lives of this highly vulnerable group of young adults and continue to develop and test new approaches that really work for them, and have the potential to be scaled across the wider system.

“This project will place a spotlight on understanding the experience of care leavers who are given prison sentences, whilst in prison and following their release. It provides the opportunity to explore how organisations and sectors are working together, identifying good practice and gaps. The findings will inform proposals to test new approaches that have the potential to improve outcomes for this group of vulnerable young adult offenders, helping them to turn away from crime and have positive futures.”Amanda Beswick
Director of the Housing and Homelessness programme

For more information about the project, please contact Ella.