Contact with the criminal justice system

We can work with you in a supportive, non-judgemental way to give you the best chance to avoid offending. We’ll do everything we can to help you change direction.

We can support you if you:

  • have a history of or current offending behaviour
  • are at risk of falling into offending behaviour
  • are at risk of criminal exploitation

It's important for you to know that if you decide to share information with us about a serious crime, we must ask you to declare it to the police yourself. If you do not, we must legally tell them ourselves.

Essex Youth Offending Service (YOS)

The youth offending service can help you if you’re involved in offending. They want to support you and to reduce youth crime.

They can work with you until the age of 18. If they've worked with you in the past, they can continue to provide you with advice and support beyond 18.

They're made up of police, the national probation service, health authorities and other local organisations. They work with people who support you, like the Leaving and After Care team or Children in Care Service.

Find out more about the youth offending service

If you have any questions, email: or phone: 03330138926

Attending court

You personal adviser can support you by attending court hearings.

One care leaver said "I just want to thank [my personal adviser] for being there for me in such a hard time of my life, for turning up to court with me, having someone to speak to when times got hard.”

If you’re in custody

When in custody, whether it’s Youth Offending Institution or prison, your personal adviser will visit you to support you.

They will support your aspirations and make a Pathway Plan with you. The focus will be on how you can make the best of your time in custody, keep yourself safe and develop some skills.

Before your release, the Leaving and After Care team, YOS, Probation as well as other agencies will meet to discuss how best to support you once you are released and complete a risk assessment. This will include your personal adviser supporting you to find suitable accommodation ahead of your release.

Support when leaving custody

The Leaving and After Care team can help you to access:

  • education and employment
  • health services
  • support with accommodation
  • support with emotional wellbeing
  • support to set up your benefits when leaving custody if needed
  • discretionary financial support until you receive your benefits

Our mental health coordinator can help you develop a positive sense of who you are, where you came from and where you go from here. We can also support you in exploring important relationships in your life.

What probation is

If you are over 18 you may be known to Probation. This means you’re serving your sentence but you’re not in prison.

You could be put on probation because:

  • you’re serving a community sentence
  • you have been released from prison on licence or on parole

While on probation, you may have to:

  • do unpaid work
  • complete an education or training course
  • get treatment for addictions, like drugs or alcohol
  • have regular meetings with an ‘offender manager’

Find your local probation office on