YSS has significant knowledge and expertise when working with those in the Criminal Justice System and with those at risk of entering Criminal Justice. Staff are experienced in such areas as Assessments, Motivational interviewing, Restorative Justice, and Information, Advice and Guidance.
These are the projects we are currently delivering:
The Police and the Criminal Evidence Act (P.A.C.E.) 1984 and the Youth Justice Board National Standards require that any young person aged between 10 to 17 years of age inclusive, whilst being interviewed under caution at the police station, must have an Appropriate Adult in attendance. YSS developed a volunteer Appropriate Adult service for 10-17 year olds being detained in Police Custody in 1999 and have a team of volunteers throughout West Mercia delivering this service to young people. The service is commissioned by West Mercia Youth Offending Service.
ARC (Accessing Resources in the Community)
ARC (Accessing Resources in the Community) was commissioned by the OPCC (Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, West Mercia)and will use Keyworkers and Volunteer Mentors to provide individual one to one support to 17-24 year olds, in, or at risk of being involved in, the Criminal Justice System, across West Mercia. The focus of the work is to supported individuals referred to access community based activities. ARC wants to break down the barriers, real or perceived, that stop young people engaging in positive activities.eg poor transport link, equipment costs being too high or people feel that an activity is not accessible for people “like them”. Additionally, the project will address:
- Education, training and employment needs – recognising employment as the single most important factor in reducing re-offending.
- Alcohol misuse – recognising that many young people link their offending behaviour with alcohol use.
- Emotional, Physical and Mental wellbeing.
- Community integration
- Reduction in anti-social behaviour/offending/re-offending
- Engagement in education, training and employment programmes
- Addressing harm caused by alcohol
- Increased confidence and self esteem
- Improved emotional wellbeing
Each person will be allocated a Volunteer Mentor to provide ongoing motivation and support. They will help them to decide what activities they want to be involved in and what outcomes they want e.g. better social relationships, improved educational attainment, addressing health concerns. ARC will ensure young people have access to all relevant support services available in their community and will also make referrals to appropriate agencies to provide specialist support as required. Support will be offered on an outreach basis, in the community, at flexible times to meet the needs of young people, including evening and weekend work. Face to face contact will be supplemented by telephone and texting. On leaving the project young people can continue to access telephone support, and can be re-referred if appropriate. Through the work YSS delivered on the T2A (Barrow Cadbury Transition to Adulthood) project there is clear evidence to show that a distinct approach is required when working with 17 – 24 year olds, recognising their specific requirements, particularly around diversionary activities.
YSS will work closely with local partners who are already delivering positive activities in their local communities.
YSS have been commissioned by the Worcestershire County Council, the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner and individual partner contributions to provide a service that supports the vision of Go ON Worcestershire which is to make Worcestershire a place where everyone has the opportunity and support to confidently go online. Partners within the County are working together to an agreed strategy and shared action plan which has been designed to support local residents to confidently access the internet within their local communities.
The partnership is made up of a range of organisations from the library service, local job centres (DWP), County Council, Age Concern and the Carers Association, local social housing providers, health, probation service, local churches and local community groups. More information on the work of the partnership is available at https://www.digitalskills.com/content/go-Worcestershire
YSS have recruited and trained a bank of volunteers to act as digital champions to adults within the criminal justice system. Volunteers will provide community based support across a variety of local community venues to help breakdown the real or perceived barriers to accessing online facilities, to boost digital skills and to reduce reoffending.
Enhanced Support Service – ESS (Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company)
Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company (formerly West Mercia Probation Trust) have commissioned YSS to develop a service to target groups of individuals most at risk of reoffending across the Warwickshire and West Mercia region.
The purpose of ESS is to support Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company in reducing re-offending rates by increasing the level of engagement by targeted offender groups with their community orders or licence requirements. This is delivered through an Enhanced Support Service (ESS) that can be offered by Offender Managers.
Who can access this service? Offender Managers are responsible for identifying the eligibility and suitability of individuals and the service is offered to those most at risk of re-offending, on a prison licence or community order, who have complex needs and who have a degree of motivation to change. Referrals are split into three categories, according to individual need:
- High Intensity – 20 face to face contacts spread across 10 weeks, backed up with texts and phone calls
- Low Intensity – 10 face to face contacts spread across 10 weeks, backed up with texts and phone calls.
- Exit referral- 5 face to face contacts spread across 5 weeks, backed up with texts and phone calls.
Keyworkers undertake a Needs Analysis, a Perception Inventory, and produce an agreed SMART Support Plan across the 7 reducing re-offending Pathways (RRPs) with each individual. This is then shared with the Offender Manager to ensure duplication of activity doesn’t take place and the basis of the work undertaken with the service user will be driven by this Support Plan.
- All appointments with Keyworkers are enforceable.
- The initial appointment will be 2 hours.
- Contacts will be spread across the referral period and the length of appointments will be determined by the Service User’s needs.
- Meetings between Keyworkers and Service User’s will normally be community based unless risk or practical reasons prevent this.
- Pre-release prison visits can be arranged. This is dependent on the individual needs.
- It is recognised that some individual’s may need support around family issues.
Read our latest 6 monthly report on the project: Enhanced Support for Supervision
Volunteers for Enhanced Support Service: volunteers are used for mentoring, support, transporting and advice and guidance in Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Telford& Wrekin and Shropshire.
YSS have been funded by Laslett’s Charity, based in Worcester, to deliver a project to individuals with complex needs, who are part of the criminal justice system in Worcester. Volunteer mentors have been recruited and trained to work with individuals referred by Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company and other local partners.
The aim of the project is to assist individuals to make positive life choices and address issues that might impact on their ability to make these choices. It is anticipated that by using volunteers, this will increase social awareness around the criminal justice system and provide social value to the local community.
Volunteers provide long term, one to one, community based, practical and emotional support across the 7 Reducing Re-offending Pathways. Particular attention will be paid to addressing accommodation needs and engaging with local drugs agencies.
Meet and Mentoring Service.
In May 2015, YSS were commissioned by Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company (WWM CRC) to provide a Meet and Mentor service as part of their wider Through The Gate strategy. Individuals being released from either HMP Featherstone or HMP Hewell into Herefordshire, Telford, Shropshire, Warwickshire or Worcestershire would be offered pre and post release support. YSS subcontracted the Warwickshire element to a local charity Futures Unlocked. Services delivered by Futures Unlocked for Meet and Mentor Service would be through a dedicated team of Futures Unlocked staff.
- To support WWM CRC in their Through The Gate (TTG) strategy
- To break the cycle of reoffending and reduce re-offending rates by extending statutory rehabilitation to short sentenced offenders
COHORT: WWMCRC or WWM National Probation Service (NPS) adults identified as being vulnerable, complex and chaotic, who require a complete wrap around service which includes transportation home from either Hewell or Featherstone prison. Engagement with the service will be voluntary for those individuals referred to the Meet & Mentoring service.
REFERRALS: Referrals are made through members of the WWM CRC resettlement teams, co-located in HM Prison Hewell and HM Prison Featherstone. On receipt of the referral, YSS Meet and Mentor staff undertake a pre release visit and assessment. A suitable Volunteer is identified, who then undertakes a gate collection on the day of release. The Volunteer then arranges a series of post release community based contacts, the length of which is determined by the individual’s needs. The Volunteer will provide support linked to a SMART, focused, support plan; accompanying, supporting and encouraging their mentee to access local services according to their individual needs.
Volunteers must be willing to undertake a two day mentoring training and induction programme and other criminal justice related training, complete relevant paperwork within organisational deadlines and understand the needs of complex and chaotic individuals.
Employment Support Programme as part of the Carden Street Experience
YSS have been commissioned by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver an Employment Support Programme (ESP) which aims to break down barriers to employability. The aim of which is supporting individuals referred to find sustainable employment, and instilling hope in those we work with that their situation can change for the better.
The Employment Support Programme offers a ‘pick-and-mix’ menu of support tailored to meet the needs of the individual with the long term aim of breaking down the barriers to employment.
The Government’s 2001 Social Exclusion report found that the single most important factor in reducing reoffending was sustainable employment. YSS has pioneered new ways of supporting offenders/ex offenders breaking down barriers to employment, Based on our knowledge and experience of what works, Employment Support Programme, (as part of the “The Carden Street Experience”) will offer a unique opportunity under one roof where YSS will use their extensive network of partners to deliver joined up services to participants.
Carden Street is in Worcester City centre and therefore easily accessible. It is a customer friendly environment where clients feel comfortable and unthreatened. This is a holistic approach offering both practical and emotional support for those referred with a “pick and mix” menu all under one roof in a relaxed and informal setting.
Work taster sessions will be delivered focusing on carpentry. These tasters will provide valuable experience of a fully functioning work place.
The pick and mix element of the programme will include job club sessions covering disclosure, CV building, interview techniques as well as a range of interpersonal skills such healthy eating, debt & finance management & building confidence & motivation.
Clients will also have access to mental health assessments and Moodmasters groups. Sessions are delivered by trained & experienced YSS staff, whilst being supported by external agencies.
- All sessions are run at our purpose built training & enterprise centre in Carden Street, Worcester. Sessions run on Wednesdays and Thursdays 10.00am till 3.00pm for six weeks.Wednesdays will focus on work taster sessions and Thursday sessions will involve classroom based activities.The Employment Support Programme is designed for ex-offenders who are currently living in the Worcestershire area and are motivated to find employment. On completion of the six week programme further support can be offered by YSS mentors, who will conduct 1:1 community based interventions. Whilst working to a support plan tailor made to meet the individuals needs.All participants must be motivated to secure employment or access learning and training courses in order to be eligible for the programme. On receipt of the referral a professional discussion will take place, to determine the suitability of the individual referred. All activities on the programme are group based.
Remember Veterans is a two year project funded through the Armed Forces Covenant, led by the West Mercia Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). YSS is a key delivery partner alongside Ubique Partnerships and the Veterans Contact Point.
Remember Veterans will focus on addressing the key recommendation identified in the Stephen Phillips QC review “Former Members of the Armed Forces within the Criminal Justice System (November 2014). The key issues he identified included:
- Absence of robust data, not routinely collected by Criminal Justice: this is a critical issue and a key outcome for this project is to develop consistent recording and data collation process. (National reports are based on estimates. Numbers: Between 3.5% or 7% of those in prison are ex forces. Former service personnel may comprise the largest occupational cohort in custody).
- Criminal Justice professional knowledge is patchy.
- Prison based support is inconsistent.
- Lack of national guidance to statutory agencies
- Definition of veteran: (Phillips): Those who have at least completed basic training.
The project also aims to support three sets of Beneficiaries:
- Offenders who are Veterans
- Frontline Practitioners, Professionals and Volunteers
- Victims of crimes committed by Veterans
YSS will work strategically to develop robust identification processes for veterans at each stage of the criminal justice system. There will be a focus on developing an exemplar model of joined up strategy to improve the existing service delivery being accessed by veterans.
It is known that offending of veterans includes Violence, Domestic Violence and for those in custody it includes violence and sexual offending. Mental Health issues are frequent too.
What works :
- An early offer of support
- Use of volunteers and peers for non judgemental and practical support
- Access to existing veterans services, particularly mental health
- Accessible contact point (phone and in person)
- Advice on finance, accommodation and employment
- Support with anger issues and relationships
- Evidence that offenders who are veterans respond well to specifically tailored interventions
Work Programme for short sentence prisoners on their release into Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
The Employment and Skills Group, (ESG), a prime provider on the Work Programme, were awarded an additional payment by results contract in 2012 to work with short sentence prisoners. YSS were selected by ESG to deliver this work in Worcestershire and Herefordshire. YSS receives referrals directly from ESG (approximately 125 per year) and arranges to meet clients in the community after release for an initial assessment and action plan. We then meet each client at least fortnightly looking to support them into sustainable employment through a mix of face to face 1-2-1 support in the community (there is also significant additional telephone/text contact to provide motivational support) and advice and regular training programmes. The support continues for up to two years after a client has secured a job. Employment outcomes are closely monitored, as for all work programme delivery, but the Ministry of Justice will also be closely monitoring reducing re-offending outcomes for those accessing the service. They have committed to a payment by results model, if the cohort achieve an agreed reduction in re-offending in a 12 month binary period, using a control group as a benchmark.