Young people found guilty of a crime can be given either a community sentence or a custodial sentence.
Young people under the age of 18 who are sent to custody are not sent to adult prisons, but to special secure centres for young people. These centres will provide education and training, and representatives from advocacy services will also be available for further help and advice.
Young people should be able to access advice before their release from prison, including information on statutory and voluntary agencies that can assist them. In some prisons, training may be available in key areas such as finding and keeping accommodation, applying for benefit and support to rebuilding family relationships.
Young people released from prison can apply to their local council for help as a homeless person. If the young person who is leaving custody is under 18, and homeless, they will usually be ‘in priority need’ just as other 16/17 year olds would be.
For more information, see supporting young offenders.
Some young people may have continued to receive benefits while in prison.
Prisoners released under temporary licence will not be able to claim means-tested benefits and should seek further advice. Other young people released from prison will be able to make benefit claims.
Support for young people released from prison from can be provided by the local authority and/or partner organisations.