We have now come to our transition point in this exciting project, where we look to use the model for companies interested in employing a young person who has recently ended a senetence for a criminal offence. Statistically, these young people find it the hardest to get full-time emplpyment.
The range of non-custodial responses to juvenile offenders has been widened to include a police final warning, court-ordered reparation, parenting orders and action plan orders, where intensive rehabilitation programmes can be tailored to the needs of offenders. Over and above them flies a new statutory aim for all relevant professionals of preventing offending by children and young people.. A resurgent "what works" movement on both sides of the Atlantic has drawn attention to convincing evidence that certain types of rehabilitation can significantly reduce reoffending.
By analysing more than 400 controlled evaluations of work with young offenders, the American researcher Mark Lipsey found that even on average they achieved reductions in recidivism compared with "treatment as usual". More persuasively, there were certain categories that pointed to average reduction rates of 20% or more
The most promising programmes in community settings were those designed to improve personal and social skills and those that focused on changing behaviour. Services that combined a number of approaches were also noticeably effective.
When Lipsey narrowed the analysis to programmes for juveniles convicted of serious and violent crimes, he discovered that behaviour modification and inter-personal skills work scored average reductions in re-offending of as high as 40%.
We are now looking to a number of employers on out data base particularly young statrt-ups to take -on one ex-offender. The plan will be:
To build network of volunteers to share the load is the only approach likely to work. So we developed this further to build a supportive network around ex-offenders to provide not only coding, but also pastoral, support from a local youth charity we havw called these volunteers 'code-coaches', they work alongside a 'host business' with an entrepreneur who's the 'business owner': There is also support from the youth offending Team who will help with the social care
What will success look like:
Without going into too much detail, here are the elements of our approach:
- Young person responds extremely well to being treated like a normal member of the team, with the same holiday allowance, relaxed working conditions and involvement with company social events. Trying not to be the ‘odd one out’ is a big motivator for young person to modify his behaviour
- Despite a lack of education, learning to code from online resources isn't a big intellectual jump for our young people once all the other challenges are removed
- Working with volunteer mentors is a massive motivator, especially knowing these people are giving their time for free and they'll return next week to review his progress
- Mentors have build personal relationships with young people that extend beyond coding, and are able to share information about lifestyle and career paths
- Having this apprenticeship prevents the young person reoffending.
- The power of online connections (social media, email lists etc) has given Generating Genius quick access to a big support network that otherwise would have been difficult to reach
- Having an experienced youth worker in the support network as a friend, rather than from a statutory body is a massive benefit.
Signing up companies willing to take the low risk
Raising funding for social care support.
Getting the right tech support so that volunteer coders can contiubue their support on-line.
Plans to meet challenges:
1 Using existing networks we have already had strong interest from a number of small companies
2 Using Gobal Giving and other agenicies to raise funds
3 A number of tech companies have offered their support for free