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An evaluation of Sandwell Youth Offending Service –a creative approach to working with young peopleSandwell Youth Offending Service (YOS) work with young people who have very complex life stories. The young people may have committed very serious offences but are also often highly vulnerable to exploitation and have experienced significant trauma. Their experiences can lead to mistrust or suspicion of those in authority and in turn, for practitioners, the challenge of engagement can seem insurmountable. Sandwell YOS therefore argue that an evolution of the current approach is required to more effectively engage, support, and help young people. The new National Standards for youth justice, underpinned by the Youth Justice Board’s (YJB) helpful focus on a ‘child first’ principle support a change in thinking and encourage YOSs to take local initiatives. Sandwell YOS’ vision is to focus on the use of the arts and increasingly reconceptualise the YOS over time into a ‘Creative YOS’. In January 2019 Sandwell YOS were awarded funding from the YJB’s Serious Youth Violence Grant to help increase the use of arts with the cohort. The Institute for Community Research and Development were commissioned to conduct a process and impact evaluation, combining quantitative data to understand if any change was happening with in-depth qualitative interviews to understand how this change might be happening, foregrounding the voice and experience of participants. Most existing research and evaluation studies have looked at the impact of discrete arts programmes. The new creative programme of work being introduced by Sandwell YOS is innovative in working across the whole service with a range of arts and creative activities, and therefore no similar evaluation has previously been conducted.
The perceived benefits of an arts project for health and wellbeing of older offenders© 2017, PsychOpen. All rights reserved. The increasing ageing prison population is becoming a pressing issue throughout the criminal justice system. Alongside the rising population, are a host of health and wellbeing issues that contribute to older offenders needs whilst in prison. It has been recommended that meaningful activities can have positive effects on this population and therefore this paper uniquely reviews older offenders accounts of taking part in an arts based project, Good Vibrations, whilst imprisoned. The Good Vibrations project engages individuals in Gamelan music making with an end of project performance. This study used independent in-depth interviews to capture the voices of older offenders who took part in an art based prison project. The interview data was analysed using thematic analysis, which highlighted themes that were consistent with other populations who have taken part in a Good Vibrations project, along with specific age relating issues of mobility, motivation, identity and wellbeing.