Dr Harriet Pierpoint, co-author of the new report
A new report into tackling the cycle of homelessness and reoffending in
young people has been published today by the Welsh Government.
The report, co-authored by Dr Harriet Pierpoint, associate professor of Criminology
was commissioned to evaluate the National Pathway for Homelessness
Services to Children and Young People in the Secure Estate – referred to
as ‘the Pathway’ (Welsh Government, 2015).
represents a commitment by Welsh Government to ensure that housing need
is addressed early and in a planned fashion, with the aim of reducing
homelessness upon release.
Many homeless young people offend and
are homeless upon entry into the criminal justice system, and many
young people in custody are homeless on release (Howard League for Penal
Reform, 2009; Maguire and Nolan, 2007).
What the report looks at
report considers how local authorities, Youth Offending Teams, secure
establishments and the third sector understand and implement the
processes set out in the Pathway, and the challenges they face.
It also looks at the experiences of the young people who come into contact with the Pathway.
Key findings include:
the Pathway is being implemented as envisaged and the main impact has
been the development of closer relationships between partners. However,
there are some challenges and areas for improvement
greatest gap in understanding appears to be with which agency the duty
lies and the roles of children’s services and local authority housing
- Some young people did not feel that they
were involved with or kept informed of accommodation planning. None
reported having been involved with or seeing any paperwork completed
about their accommodation situation, nor having visited accommodation
pre-release. A small number did not know where they were going to be
accommodated upon release
- Young people who are placed in
secure establishments far from their hometowns or young people who are
deemed to be ‘high risk’ due to the nature of their conviction or
complexity of their needs are more disadvantaged than others with regard
to ensuring appropriate accommodation and support upon release
is a need for more supported accommodation, specifically accommodation
that provides wrap-around, specialist support for young people with
The report makes a number of recommendations,
including increased awareness of Pathway, increased availability of
‘appropriate’ supported accommodation and a need to involve and inform
young people of destination accommodation.
About Dr Harriet Pierpoint
Pierpoint, associate professor of Criminology at USW, is interested in
all aspects of vulnerability and fairness in the criminal justice
Her research has covered different groups of vulnerable
people including young people, people with speech, language and
communication issues and people recently released from prison struggling
with homelessness, mental health problems, unemployment, substance
She is an experienced project manager of large-scale
research projects for government departments, and often works with
research consultancies and the third sector.
She has conducted
research for the Youth Justice Board, Home Office, Ministry of Justice,
National Offender Management Service Cymru, St Giles Trust Cymru and now