Guest post by Professor Brian Littlechild, Associate Head of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social WorkMy recent studies have culminated in a comparative piece of work across the UK and Europe which I undertook for the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on 'Social Measures, education and rehabilitation of young offenders', which is being examined by their Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee.
My analysis and comments on this subject are based on twenty years of research studies and articles/book chapters, as well as direct practice with young offenders, which is still on-going.
The study looked at how to work with young people and parents to take more responsibility for their actions, whilst at the same time allowing for those young people to still be open to positive socialising influences. Ethnicity and faith based issues, restorative justice and community programmes, custody, targeting services, young people and their parents in defined geographical areas were all part of this work.
Some examples of some specific programmes recommended were:
- Provide support for teachers in schools for citizenship and relationship skills, and dealing with difficult behaviour
- Mentoring, using volunteers, appropriate peers and part-time sessional workers who have credibility with young people in that area/ethnic/faith group
- Community development/ youth work with ethnic minority/faith groups in identified geographical areas
- Provide parenting programmes based on disadvantaged, high crime, low educational attainment areas
- Develop restorative justice programmes
- Develop intensive fostering schemes