RESET was an ESF EQUAL (European) funded programme aiming to establish a best practice model of resettlement of young offenders in England. It was designed to challenge the lack of integration and cohesion between the agencies involved. It ran for 2 years from July 2005, with an initial setting-up phase before this date.
It was led by the charity Rainer (now Catch 22), with over 50 partner organisations contributing assistance, expertise and match funding. The partners included Government departments, Regional Government offices, the Prison Service, YJB, Metropolitan Police, Commission for Racial Equality, Connexions, housing providers and voluntary organisations working with young people.
The project produced remarkable results not only in reducing re-offending but also in reducing the cost to society of crimes committed by young offenders as well as helping them to be self-sufficient householders.
Liam’s* time with RESET was described by his worker as “very successful”, and this success seems to have been built on successful early partnership with a local employer. He began his involvement with a project (with a fairly good RESET reoffending record) in the winter of 2006 after being sent to a YOI close to his home. He is White British and was 17 and a half years old at the time. Liam had an offending history stretching back three years to when he was 14 years old, with his half a dozen or so convictions being a mixture of public order and violent offences. The offence for which he received his current two-year Detention and Training Order was Public Disorder with violence, after he got into a confrontation with a stranger leaving serious injuries. Liam has a stable family background and is very close to his family, who were supportive towards him trying to address offending. Unfortunately, he has (and looks up to) a close cousin who also has a history of violent offending, and lives in a high crime neighbourhood. Nevertheless, he was thought to have an understanding of his offending problems and wanted to change them.
Upon Liam joining RESET, his worker stated that education, training and employment were of particular concern. Liam was still in school prior to custody, but wasn’t very engaged, complained that he was bullied, was frequently in fights, and had poor relations with his teachers. The worker planned to involve local schools, employers, Connexions and job centre in trying to support him address this. In reality, he managed to involve Connexions and a local employer, but this proved to be enough. A job was arranged by his RESET worker and the local YOT before he was released from custody, a year into his sentence. Consequently, he started his new full-time work with a builder in the first week after release, and stuck with it throughout his sentence. His employer is pleased with him, and the feeling is mutual, with Liam now having a positive attitude to his education, training and employment.
Liam went back to living with his mum after release. However, he had nothing much to do in his spare time and his friends were predominantly offenders. Although his worker didn’t get any information on addressing offending needs or psychological problems undertaken when in custody, he did spend considerable time working to address these during the release period to
prevent Liam coming off the rails and spoiling his employment progress. They spent three times the median average in face to face meetings, and three times the average amount of hours addressing offending behaviour. Consequently, offending behaviour was an area thought to have particularly improved during his involvement with RESET. Indeed, Liam abided by his Order conditions perfectly during his supervision period, attending all his supervision meetings and not reoffending. He exited the project in the spring of 2007 after his RESET worker felt that he had achieved his aims.
* names have been changed
Just having someone to come and talk to me and just give me good advice. Every time she saw me, it was good advice, it was positive, it was never… but even when she gave me negative advice it was for the best innit. I must say she was good. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I’d be here, I’d probably be in prison again. Yeah she helped a lot. . . .Guidance really in that they need somebody they can trust like when they slip that won’t just … that won’t go and get at them, but someone who will help them when they slip, pick them and keep helping them, that won’t just get at them by telling them straight away that “you are going back to prison” just … and keep them confident. Cos that’s like a lot of the time when you come out of prison you just know that … you feel that everyone’s watching you and waiting for you to slip, and just one thing can send you back to prison, that’s what it feels like. And for someone there telling you just keep pushing, like if you slip to get back up. And that’s what you need, guidance really … someone to trust, that’s the main thing.
The project evaluation was carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Salford . Download and read the RESET project – final evaluation report.
Over 50 partners took part in this project across England and other countries in Europe.