Presentation on theme: "Should ‘transport circumstance’ be classified as a key youth justice risk factor? Sarah Brooks-Wilson Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University."— Presentation transcript:
Should ‘transport circumstance’ be classified as a key youth justice risk factor? Sarah Brooks-Wilson Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York
Project underpinnings/presentation structure Institutional Geography Social Policy Youth Justice Social justice Inequalities Education, employment, income Young people’s journeys Organisational structures, policies and practices Appointment management Locality settings Attendance Non-compliance Breach Sentence escalation
Background: Youth Justice Limited transport evaluation (YJB 2006a,b, 2010a) Informal and formal responses to ‘non- compliance’ (MoJ 2010, YJB 2010a) Repeated absence as ‘non- compliance’ (MoJ 2010, YJB 2010a) Breach proceedings and possible sentence escalation (SGC 2009)
Background: Youth Justice We know: Inspection data suggests absence is a significant problem (CJJI 2008, JIYOTEW 2005) Breach rates can vary for different types of orders and locality settings (MoJ 2012) Existing policy commitments outline the need for a proportionate response, adequate support and custody as a last resort (YJB 2010b, Thomas 2008, SGC 2009, UNICEF 2009) We do not know: The extent to which absence is cushioned by informal mechanisms The proportion of breach offences that result from absence
Background: Geography and Social Policy Adverse transport circumstances have been connected with: Limited access private transport and essential services (Lucas et al 2009, Stanley and Lucas 2008) Poverty and social exclusion (Cusworth et al 2009, Levitas et al 2007, Gordon et al 2000) Some groups of children and young people (Sharkey and Shields 2008, Spilsbury 2005, Woolley 2006, Baslington 2009) In many cases these groups overlap with the youth justice population (YJB 2005, Hart 2011). Does this suggest that convicted young people may experience similar issues when accessing local YOT offices?
Research context Two YOT case studies with high breach and deprivation rates were chosen for further investigation in research participants were accessed (28 young people and 29 YOT practitioners) in 24 interviews and seven focus groups. Stratified and convenience sampling was used Fieldwork took place in a two YOT offices, an attendance centre, two YOT youth centres and a minibus
Source: Ministry of Justice 2012 Ten highest and lowest breach rates in England by location (%) Background: Geography and Youth Justice
Background: Geography, Youth Justice and Social Policy Neighbourhoods in the bottom quintile for income, employment and education deprivation in 2010 Source: Ministry of Justice 2012, DCLG 2011, ONS 2012
Visual research methods Parenting support Mental health support Drug misuse support Reparation Training Centre Employment requirement Education and learning Police appointments Court appointments Social support Employment and skills Community panel Financial support General YOT appointment Housing support
Findings: Characteristics of different YOT facets YOT Practitioners, Mining Town interviews 1-7
Findings: Youth justice geography and education Practitioners provided extensive support when limited literacy levels impeded the capacity to make a YOT journey. This suggests the potential for YOTs to be less accessible in areas of higher educational deprivation: ‘I’m waiting to hear if a young person needs that kind of support for Thursday... Mum... doesn’t have basic literacy, so it needs for her to get herself on the bus into town, find herself a bus out from town out to [village] then deal with the interview and what’s gonna come from that, and then go the same journey back – I think that’s gonna be quite hard so I’ve at least with my diary offered to take them but I’m not sure about them getting back, so that’s partly on my mind a little bit’ YOT Practitioner, Mining Town
Findings: Youth justice geography and education Sometimes, YOT organisational structures were modified to better accommodate young people (Manion and Flowerdew 1982). In some cases, this resulted in increased YOT-based access barriers, suggesting how unintended difficulties can arise when attempting to meet young people’s mobility needs: ‘We had a pupil referral unit in the town centre... that worked a lot better... because the biggest barrier for us is having a client who has got to catch two buses and a two hour journey to get to school, to be put on a three hour timetable. And then a two hour journey home. It’s one of the biggest barriers we’ve got about the units.’ Educational Practitioner, Mining Town
Findings: Youth justice geography and education With respect to education, multiple journey barriers were more commonly found. As a result, compounded consequences could also be delivered. This raised further questions about absence-based ‘non-compliance’ and breach responses (MoJ 2010, YJB 2010a): ‘Some PCSOs [Police Community Support Officers] are taking [free travel] cards off young people if they’re causing anti-social behaviour in the station or on the buses.. if they need that to get to their education provision they’re not going to go to school’ Education Practitioner, Mining Town
Findings: Youth justice geography and income Practitioners and young people reported YOT journey making barriers in connection with income, supporting existing research (Lucas et al 2009, Gordon et al 2000, Cusworth et al 2009): ‘I’d never get the buses like – me mam’s got no money... four kids, she only gets about eighty quid a week... For her self and the baby’ Male aged 17 on a Referral Order, Mining Town ‘Ninety five per cent of parents don’t drive... Lots of people struggle with unpaid work cos they’ve got to be there for quarter to nine... They get free bus fares but they can only use it after nine o clock, so they’ve got to pay to get to unpaid work – we’ll refund the tickets but someone’s got to give them the money to start with’ YOT Practitioner, Mining Town
Findings: Youth justice geography and income Similar to adults (Lucas et al 2009) and other young people (Gordon et al 2000) with a low income, convicted young people living in low income households reported having limited access to private transport. A variety of journey making risks were subsequently described in connection with public transport and active travel modes (Sharkey and Shields 2008, Spilsbury 2005): ‘...some kids down another street pull a knife... It’s happened to my brother before... I wont walk down that area anymore’ Young male aged 16 on a referral order, Mill Town
Findings: Youth justice geography and income Limited transport options (and a reliance on public and active travel modes) also resulted in the increased likelihood of YOT orders impeding YOT accessibility (Sharkey and Shields 2008): ‘I’ve got one at the moment who, she committed an offence in a railway station... so she’s not allowed in that particular station, but she’s allowed on railways and she can get on the next stop... So the next one’s only couple of miles away, so we just made it clear that there’s obviously buses into [Mining Town] as well’ YOT Practitioner, Mining Town
Findings: Youth justice geography and employment Parental unemployment was described as limiting young people’s ‘home range’ or distance travelled from home (Spilsbury 2005). As a result, practitioners located many appointments in highly accessible places. This did raise further questions about how some issues (such as lack of travel confidence) could be supported for more rigid appointments: ‘We’ve got a young man at the moment...he’s convinced that everybody who’s not from (his village) is out to get him...he wont do anything unless it takes place in (his village)... He wont travel through any other part of the borough, because he’s scared there are people out to get him. And its not an uncommon thing really’... There’s lots of people in (local authority area) who stay in their village their whole life and never leave its boundaries’ YOT Court Officer, Mining Town
Discussion This research suggests that in some cases, young people face significant transport barriers when attempting to access youth justice services Irrespective of existing mandatory consultation rights (UNICEF 2009), young people are in an ideal position – whatever their circumstance - to help refine policies so they are more equitable and effective
Discussion Subsequently, a formal evaluation of young people’s ‘transport circumstance’ would have the potential to: Rigorously assess youth justice accessibility, which can vary according to locality setting, organisational structure and young people’s circumstances Help facilitate equitable practitioner support, based on young people’s needs and not informal resourcing In terms of attendance, help distinguish the ‘unable’ from the ‘unwilling’ Gauge the extent of the absence problem, and the degree to which formal breach mechanisms are used in this context Help evaluate the appropriateness of an instance based punishment system for all persistent absence Allow alternative approaches to be considered, potentially contributing to reduced incarceration and criminalisation, and lower system-based costs.
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