The government plans to send teenage criminals to secure schools where they can learn English and maths, rather than sending them to prison.
The Ministry of Justice is planning to build two secure schools for young offenders that will teach English, maths and health issues, alongside access to work and apprenticeship schemes, to help stop reoffending.
Children are usually sent to Young Offender Institutions, but recent statistics show that 70% of young offenders reoffend within one year of release suggesting the current provision is not enough. A scathing review by Charlie Taylor, a child behavioural expert, shows that children in Young Offender Institutions currently get around 17 hours of education a week, rather than the usual 30 and almost half of these children haven’t been to school since they were 14.
Justice Secretary Liz Truss said “Prisons rightly punish people who break the law, but they should also be a place where offenders are reformed.
“While young people are in custody we need to make sure they get the right education and training so they can lead law abiding lives – and in turn make our streets and communities safer too.
The measures I have set out today are the beginning of a series of reforms which will help us cut reoffending, make our communities safer and create a justice system that works for everyone.”
The Ministry of Justice have also revealed plans to invest an additional £15 million in Youth Prisons to increase the number of guards, reduce prison violence and help young offenders have a fresh start and a brighter future.
Young offenders can be sent to prison for extended periods of time, during which, many of them have limited access to education and training schemes. Some of them may have existing health, behavioural or educational problems that have led to them getting involved in criminal activities in the first place. By tackling and dealing with the underlying problems through educational schemes, it will give young people more opportunities and, most importantly, a second chance.
Education is a basic human right. These children may have made mistakes and done something wrong in the past, but by giving them educational opportunities rather than just jail time, we can prevent them from making those same mistakes again in the future.