Education time in Young Offender Institutes increased

 

As of Monday 17 August, education time for youth offenders under 18 has been increased to a minimum of 30 hours per week.

 

 

This change will be brought in across all Young Offender Institutes, allowing young people to make the best of their time and increase the chances of them effectively adapting to life when they are released. 

 

Only a small number of young offenders are persistent enough, or commit offences serious enough, to result in a custodial sentence. Figures show that 5% of young offenders account for nearly a third of all crimes proven to be commited by under-18's. 86% of young men in these institutes have been excluded from schooling at some point, with 71% of these young people going on to commit crime again in the 12 months following release. These statistics are some of the worst in Europe, with the shockingly poor participation and reoffending rates highlighting the need to improve the justice sector so that it isn't just about keeping people seperate from the rest of the populace, but preparing them effectively for reintegration with the public.

 

The average cost per annum of housing someone in a young offender institute is £100,000. To see 71% of these people back in trouble after less than a year is not good enough. By increasing the time spent in education for these young people, we should see a significant return on investment - in more qualified young people and lower reoffending rates. A BBC study of 3000 prison members found that the reoffending rate in adults dropped considerably if they studied for qualifications while in prison. This goes to show that while it does not guarantee that someone will not reoffend, it clearly has the potential to make a significant impact on the amount of crime in the UK, especially when delivered to people at an early age. At this age, a person has not developed a life time of habits or views that could make it harded to adapt to education or returning to life amongst the general public.

 

Only time will tell what effect this will have in the long term, and there are no doubts that further steps need to be taken for both young and adult offenders, but it certainly demonstrates a keen focus on education and rehabilitation of prisoners that has been missing for some time.

 

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