U R Boss

Legal service shaped by young people in custody

U R Boss, is a ground breaking youth justice project run by the Howard League for Penal Reform. The Howard League provides a legal service shaped by and for young people in custody and those recently released into the community.

The project enhances their legal services and aims to:

  • impact on the public consensus around the youth justice system
  • provoke a change in some aspects of the system, and
  • provide evidence of how to carryout participation work.

Watch a short film about U R Boss:

… and visit the website of the Howard League.

Working with the U R Boss team, groups of young people wrote, produced and directed three new animated short films tackling issues that matter to them in youth justice. View the films here.

Yes sir, no sir

Short film made by young people in Brighton and looks at their early encounters with the police.

Courtroom roulette

Also made by young people in Brighton and looks at different courtroom scenarios.

Life inside

Made by young men in custody and looks at life through the eyes of a young person who is denied early release.

These films were shown in July 2010 at the launch of ‘Life inside 2010′, a policy report giving a unique insight into the day to day life of young men aged between 15 and 17 held in custody.

The project

The Howard League received funding for U R Boss in 2009 from the Big Lottery Fund to expand their legal services to young people. Around 150 young people a year are taking part in the project.

Future work includes the production of two legal education packs. One will explain resettlement to prison officers, and the other explains legal rights around resettlement for young people in custody. The project will also train young people to speak at parliamentary select committee meetings.

A team from the University of De Montfort has been appointed to undertake the evaluation of the project.

Howard League for Penal Reform

The Howard League for Penal Reform is a charity established in 1866 and is named after John Howard, one of the first prison reformers.

The Howard League campaigns to change national and local policy and practice in the statutory and voluntary sectors working with children and young people.

The legal team provide free, independent and confidential advice, assistance and representation on a wide range of issue to young people under 21 who are in prisons or secure children’s homes and centres. They offer a free advice line.

Access to Justice Denied:Young Adults in Prison

In October 2010, the Howard League published ‘Access to Justice Denied : Young Adults in Prison’ for Transition to Adulthood (T2A). The study found that young adults aged between 18 and 21 in prison are an abandoned generation and reveals considerable unmet legal need and a lack of awareness of rights.

Read the study: Access to justice denied:Young adults in prison (822 KB)

October 2010

Published: 21 October 2010

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