From the inside to the outs: possible selves and transition planning for youth in custody.




Creedon, Kate

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Transitions during adolescence can be difficult, but for youth in custody, transitions present a unique set of challenges (Collins, 2001), particularly when moving out of custody and into the community. Considerable research has been done on youth in custody, but few researchers have asked youth for their own thoughts about their future and return to the community. This qualitative study was conducted to explore the possible selves of seven youth in the Victoria Youth Custody Centre in Victoria, BC. Elicited through the Possible Selves Mapping Process (Marshall & Guenette, 2011) and semi-structured interviews, the youth described a number of hoped-for selves, including getting out of the system, not returning to jail, concern for their families, and educational and work aspirations. Feared selves included returning to custody, not being successful in life, and returning to their criminal ways. Participants also identified supports and barriers related to their release. Supports included professionals, programs, and establishing healthy relationships in their lives. Perceived barriers included drugs and alcohol, poor peer relations, and repercussions of their criminal lifestyle. The results have important implications for research, practice and policy regarding youth in custody.



youth in custody, possible selves, transition, release planning