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2012-05-29 Youth Justice Seminar

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Presentation given at Stormont by Dr John McCord at a seminar on Youth Justice hosted jointly by the UNESCO Centre and Opportunity Youth.

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2012-05-29 Youth Justice Seminar

  1. 1. UNESCO Centre
  2. 2. ‘Reviewing the Provision of Education for young people in Detention: Rights, Research and Reflections on Policy and Practice’
  3. 3. Rationale to identify the rights for children and young people in custody to education in Northern Ireland; to analyse and review the legal and policy provisions for the educational needs of children and young people in custody; to highlight research evidence and data in relation to the voice and educational experiences of young people in custody and identify gaps in existing provision; to explore new strategies of providing education in custody and make recommendations for policy development and implementation.
  4. 4. Current arrangements fall short of internationalstandards Although progress has been made arrangements fall short of international standards. Provision of education remains problematic. Provision of well-co-ordinated education, training and support is fundamental to address offending and prepare young people for re- integration to the community. Young people not taught in line with the NI Curriculum. In some circumstances young people not receiving adequate training to prepare them for release. Overuse of custodial remand and undue delay in youth justice system.
  5. 5. Need for Improved co-ordination and information Poor transmission of key information and lack of continuity between custodial-based education and provision in the wider community. Whilst there has been some progress in this area, evidence indicates that it is still not fully realised in practice. There have been consistent calls for joint collaboration between relevant government departments, agencies and community organisations. Consideration should be given to statutory guidance with comprehensive provisions for children and young people in a youth custody setting. Welsh Assembly Government (2011) Learning for children and young people in a youth custody setting in Wales: Statutory guidance for local authorities in Wales.
  6. 6. Collaborative Partnerships are critical to improvere-integration A collaborative approach between youth custody settings and external agencies can support young people during and after their time in detention. Education or work-based placement on release can be a significant deterrent for reoffending. The lack of access to and support in securing such placements post custody can have a detrimental effect on successful re-integration. There is a need to develop external relationships, for example, with further education and work-based learning suppliers to make it easier for young people leaving custody to reintegrate into mainstream education and training. Also requires strong support structures to be put in place including those for family support.
  7. 7. Data Collection can be improved Quality information and research that produce policy relevant knowledge are crucial to inform policy. Good progress has been made in recent years. Difficulties remain with existing data on education in custody. Lack of information or portfolio about educational gains made in custody. There is a need for comprehensive data systems, particularly longitudinal and disaggregated data on young people in custody; data on re-offending and pathways and outcomes post release. Need for longitudinal data which goes ‘Back to the Future’.
  8. 8. Dedicated Training and pedagogical approaches canimprove outcomes for Children and Young People Children in custody are rights holders and not merely recipients of penal care. Role of professionals can influence the experiences of young people and equip them with learning and skills to reintegrate into society. There are deficits in child rights training for staff in places of detention for young people in Northern Ireland. Deficits remain in training on the complex and rehabilitative needs of young people in custody. Alternative approaches to education can help re-engage young people who are disaffected and improve teaching quality. Innovative pedagogy and technology can be used to improve learning.
  9. 9. UNESCO Centre