Education in youth custody increased to 30 hours per week
19 Aug 2015
On Monday 17 August, the amount of education under 18 year olds in custody receive was increased to 30 hours of per week, across all young offender institutes. Prisoners' Education Trust responds to this policy change with the following statement:
Rod Clark, Chief Executive, Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) said:
“Increasing education in custody to 30 hours per week is welcome recognition of the importance of learning in helping young people gain the skills and attitudes to work towards more positive futures.
"Many children and young people in custody have previously been excluded from school and up to half spent time in the care system so it is crucial that each individual is given appropriate support, tailored learning plans, a wide-ranging curriculum and stimulating teaching methods to engage effectively with learners who may be harder to reach.
"An increase exclusively in time spent in a formal classroom setting may not be right approach for everyone, particularly those many young prisoners with complex needs and serious mental health issues
“Links with support networks in the community are also important and using day release schemes or ICT can be a good way to maintain this. We urge those leading plans for the young people’s estate to continue developing secure web-based learning to mirror what is offered in schools and colleges in the community, helping young people to transition and continue towards their education and career goals when they leave prison.
"At PET, we are looking forward to following developments to see how these changes deliver in practice and, we hope, identify lessons that can be shared more widely and in adult prisons to help people move away from crime.”
This policy change follows a government announcement last December to double the amount of education in youth custody.
Since 1989, Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) has supported prisoners to engage in rehabilitation through learning. The charity does this by providing advice and funding for approximately 2,000 people per year for distance learning courses in subjects and levels not generally available in prisons. PET also carries out research, informed by prisoner learners, to improve prison education policies.
A recent report was carried out by the MoJ Justice Data Lab, published in January 2014 which shows people supported by PET to study distance learning courses in prison are more than a quarter less likely to reoffend than a matched control group of other ex-prisoners.