Stuck on repeat: Exploring the key factors that affect young people’s reoffending in Lancashire and the implications for youth offending team practice

Mokhtar, Natasha Farah (2019) Stuck on repeat: Exploring the key factors that affect young people’s reoffending in Lancashire and the implications for youth offending team practice. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis Document]
PDF (Thesis Document) - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



Despite the reduction in the number of children and young people in the Youth Justice System (YJS), the reoffending rate has continued to rise, suggesting a different approach to this cohort is needed. This thesis aims to explore the key factors that affect young people’s reoffending and the implications for Youth Offending Team (YOT) practice. Previous research has demonstrated there are a variety of individual, situational and offending behaviours related to reoffending; but the reoffending patterns, together with the views of practitioners and young people have not been brought together to give insight what contributes towards reoffending. Therefore, this thesis uses a mixed methods approach to provide insight into reoffending and implications for YOT practice. This project was externally funded by Lancashire YOT and focused on translating the research findings into meaningful implications for policy and practice.

The research was split into three distinct phases. The first phase quantitatively explored the characteristics of young people who reoffend. Using a Lancashire YOT cohort, 245 young people’s offending patterns were
recorded, focusing on onset age, severity, contact with the system and prolific offending. The results demonstrate contact with the system was negatively associated with reoffending; suggesting that contact with YOTs has an adverse impact on young people. Prolific offenders are more likely to start their offending early, commit offences that are more serious overall and to experience more contact with the justice system. Phase Two included interviews with seventeen practitioners who work with Lancashire YOT, analysed using thematic analysis. Five key themes related to reoffending by young people were identified: measuring reoffending, the wider justice system, the complexity of young people, what contributes to recidivism and pathways to desistance. The final phase of research used the results from Phase One and Two to explore reoffending through interviews, with thirteen young people who were involved with Lancashire YOT. Four main themes were identified from the interviews: relationships, offending lifestyle, context for change and punitive measures. Young people thought there were a variety of factors related to their offending and talked about many situational factors, which played a role.
Overall, there is consistent support for an individualised approach to working with young people who reoffend. This thesis also provides evidence for a subset of young people who re-offend. They are complex by nature, responsible for a disproportionate number of offences and commit more serious offences. The implications for YOT are that since they currently focus on a large, more diverse cohort of young people, specialised practitioners are needed to more effectively work with this smaller cohort of complex young people. Youth Justice Services should move away from dealing with young people using a risk approach and recognise that a holistic approach, underpinned by an evidence base, can help reduce reoffending. The key implications for Lancashire YOT practice are fully explored and discussed and focus on providing an individualised, specialised workforce within an integrated psychological service to support young people with complex needs.

Repository Staff Only: item control page