A review into the youth justice system has recommended that the government establish secure schools for young offenders to receive an education whilst serving their sentences, the BBC reports.
Following the review launched in September 2015, a report authored by child behaviour expert and former head teacher Charlie Taylor, which was released on Monday, called for a “fundamental change to the system”, and mooted the suggestion of secure schools to educate young offenders.
The Justice Secretary Liz Truss, announced on Sunday that such a plan was to go ahead at a cost of £15 million, to pilot two secure schools, the details of which are yet to be released.
Welcoming the Secretary’s announcement, Mr Taylor said:
“Education needs to be central to our response to youth offending,” he added. “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”.
The secure schools will focus on Maths and English, but also provide apprenticeship opportunities for attendees. Commenting that the schools would focus on “driving up standards” of prison education, Ms 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 young prison population has dropped in recent years, to under 1000 under-18s. However, re-offending rates have increased with two in three young offenders committing a new offence within a year of release. The Ministry of Justice have called the secure schools pilot scheme a first step in a number of reforms to youth justice, which will be set out early next year.