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Tagged In:  Youth Offending

Ambitious plans have been unveiled to place education and training at the heart of youth justice, including the launch of two new ‘secure schools’

Justice secretary Elizabeth Truss says these new institutions will deliver core subjects including English and Maths, while the health and behaviour of offenders will be monitored. Her plans also include a focus on life beyond bars, with a youth custody apprenticeship scheme to help offenders build strong relationships with employers. 

In addition, £15 million has been earmarked to boost frontline youth offending staff by 20 per cent, as well as to improve safety. Meanwhile, a head of operations will be established for youth custody, aimed at reducing violence and driving up standards. 

Mrs Truss’ plans have been created in response to a wide-reaching report led by child behavioural expert Charlie Taylor. 

She said: “I am grateful to Charlie Taylor for his comprehensive and in-depth review which sets out the stark issues we must tackle to help young offenders to live law-abiding lives.

“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…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.”

Plans are also being put in place to make sure that young ex-offenders have the support of a mentor to help them sustain employment and training, and reduce the risk of reoffending. 

Mr Taylor said: “I welcome the Justice Secretary’s plans to reform the youth justice system and focus on education and training. Education needs to be central to our response to youth offending. It is the building block on which a life free from crime can be constructed.

“If children who offend are to become successful and law-abiding adults, the focus must be on improving their welfare, health and education – their life prospects – rather than simply imposing punishment.”

Further plans to reform youth justice are currently being finalised, which we’ll report on when announced. In the meantime, we would be interested to hear your thoughts on the proposed plans. 

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