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LSU – secure youth care instead of prison

Young people who commit serious criminal offences between the ages of 15 and 17 can be sentenced to secure youth care rather than imprisonment. Such sentences, which range from fourteen days to four years, are served in special units of our homes for young people. There, the young people admitted receive treatment to address their criminal behaviour.

Most of those sentenced to secure youth care are boys. The majority have committed serious crimes of violence: robbery, aggravated assault, rape, manslaughter or murder.

The young person is first admitted to a secure reception unit. Here, psychologists, educationalists and treatment workers assess his or her needs in terms of care and treatment. In consultation with the young person, an individual sentence plan is drawn up, describing among other things the treatment to be provided.

Young people sentenced to secure youth care have similar problems to those looked after under LVU. This means that, alongside work on their criminal behaviour, they may for example need treatment for issues of substance abuse. These interventions are tailored to the risk level and needs of each individual. The young people in our care also have the opportunity to receive education.

To prevent absconding, security in the units receiving these young people is high. As they progress in their treatment, they are able to transfer to more open units and move about more freely in the residential home.

By means of what is known as transition planning, we try to facilitate the young person’s return into the community after they have served their sentence. The transition is planned in collaboration with social services in the young person’s home municipality. Aftercare, the care that may be needed after a young person has been released, is the responsibility of social services. Many need long-term support to reduce the risk of reoffending.

The majority of young people say that they are satisfied with the help they have received during their time with SiS.