Youth offending teams in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, together with Hampshire Probation Trust, have signed up to a local policy framework to ensure that young people in the criminal justice system are supported appropriately and effectively as they move into adulthood at the age of 18.
Young people within the youth justice system under youth offending team (YOT) supervision or in youth custody are generally transferred to a probation trust or in to adult custody around the age of 18. The new framework, launched recently at Hampshire County Council's headquarters in Winchester, is based on national policy guidance from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and is designed to provide a consistent model for good practice that is adopted by the youth offending teams at the local authorities of Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton, in collaboration with the Hampshire Probation Trust.
Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Lead Member for Children's Services at Hampshire County Council commented: "The point of transfer from youth to adult justice services is a critical time and, for the professionals working with young offenders it is imperative that the welfare of the young people is assured and that any risks they may pose to the public are managed appropriately and consistently. This new framework will ensure the range of organisations involved work together to achieve as positive an outcome as possible for the young person concerned. It will also serve to promote partnership and learning, and aims to have a positive impact on the justice system as a whole. In turn, this should have a direct effect on reducing reoffending and lead to better outcomes for young people."
Hampshire Probation Trust's Chief Executive, Barrie Crook, said: "The risk of re- offending is highest among the 18-21 year old age group. This guidance will help to improve the quality and continuity of supervision provided to them by probation staff when they leave the responsibility of the Youth Offending Team."
Youth Justice Board, Chair Frances Done said: "It is encouraging to see the positive implementation of partnership working between the agencies in Hampshire.
"Effective transition from youth to adult supervision ensures better safeguarding of the young person, helps minimise any risk to the public and enables more integrated work to reduce the chance of future reoffending."
She continued: "Improvements in the transition process and a move towards collaborative working such as that set out in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area Youth to Adult Transitions framework should enable more informed assessments being developed and better continuity of support and interventions, ensuring that the needs of young offenders are addressed in the critical phase of transition."