Small-scale facilities for young offenders opened in Groningen and Nijmegen

Following the municipality of Amsterdam, two small-scale facilities in Nijmegen (Hunnerberg) and Groningen (Juvaid) for young offenders will open by the end of the year. Both pilot projects will run until the summer of 2017. These pilot projects are an elaboration of the ‘Custody of Young Offenders (Implementation) Survey’ (Verkenning Invulling Vrijheidsbeneming Justitiële Jeugd, VIV JJ). State Secretary Dijkhoff wrote this today in a letter to the House of Representatives. The small-scale facilities will allow young offenders to stay in a low-security and regional setting. Unlike existing young offenders institutions, it will now be possible for young offenders to continue contacts with their parents and, for example, school, work and work placement as much as possible. “I am satisfied with the progress of the survey. In various studies and pilot projects, we are currently testing which elements are useful for a future-proof system” says State Secretary Dijkhoff. “Good cooperation with and between the parties in the criminal justice system, but also cooperation with municipalities, schools and care institutions is and remains crucial”. 

Groningen pilot project: focus on leading role and integrated plan

In Groningen, at 'Het Poortje' Juvaid, a pilot project will run in co-creation for the small-scale facility as well as screening and diagnostics. This will take place in a low-security facility in which a maximum of 8 young offenders can stay at a single location in Groningen. For each young offender, an integrated plan will be drawn up for his or her future. This plan not only covers the judicial framework, but also the care programme and daytime activities, such as education So the aim is to continue these programmes as much as possible. All parties relevant for the young offender are involved in the preparation of the integrated plan. It is assessed for each case which party will be in charge of the counselling of the young offender. "Preventing recidivism and crime requires a tailored approach in which there is close cooperation with the people around the young offender, use being made of the strength of the young offender him/herself and his or her social network. We are pleased with the Groningen pilot project, which aims at innovation of our cooperation with all partners", says J.R. Eland, LL.M., Chief Public Prosecutor for the Northern Netherlands.

Nijmegen pilot project: focus on customised security and need for care

In Nijmegen, a Small-Scale Facility pilot project will start at the 'Hunnerberg' state young offenders institution. Two houses will be fitted out on the premises of the 'Hunnerberg' state young offenders institution, outside the high-security perimeter. One of the houses concerns the living area, the other house will be used extramurally for the treatment options where chain partners also provide outpatient care. This need for care will be determined for each young offender, such as behavioural interventions and counselling programmes. Carlo Dronkers, coordinating juvenile officer of the Public Prosecution Service explains: “The small-scale facility has the security level of ‘being indoors’, but is expressly focussed on ‘going outdoors’ in a responsible manner. For all detentions of young offenders come to an end.” This pilot project offers room for a maximum of 8 young offenders. With this pilot project, the state young offenders institution wants to test, together with local partners in the province of Gelderland, the extent to which custody of young offenders is possible in a lower-security environment. It will also be assessed how the roles should be divided among the chain partners in order to ensure the best possible continuity of care and counselling. The young offender's local network will be involved in this.

All pilot projects will provide insight into what works and what does not work in the small-scale facilities and in the preparation of an integrated plan for a young offender. The State Secretary will have Academische Werkplaats Risicojeugd develop a monitor which can be used to follow all pilot projects as equally as possible, at the same time allowing room for differences between the pilot projects. The monitor focuses on the target group, content, working method and treatment, organisational pre-conditions and outflow. The results of the monitor are expected at the end of 2017. The experiences will be included in the further detailing of the Custody of Young Offenders (Implementation) Survey.
Given the changes to the nature and size of the group of prisoners, a broad review of the execution of sentences is required, also for young offenders. This should allow for a differentiated approach with a focus on social developments, changes in the criminal justice system, new administrative relations and the current and expected need for facilities. This will be detailed in the project ‘Course and Opportunities for the Implementation of Sanctions’ (Koers en Kansen voor de sanctie-uitvoering).