Government to open two ‘secure schools’.

‘The government is to launch two “secure schools”, and introduce measures to monitor progress in English, maths, health and behaviour among young offenders, in a radical change to youth custody.

The number of frontline staff dealing with young offenders will be increased by 20% and a new head of operations will be appointed with responsibility for driving up standards.

In a first step towards reforming the way young lawbreakers are dealt with, two secure schools will be launched teaching core subjects such as English and maths, with access to work training and apprenticeship schemes.

The reform follows publication of an independent assessment by Charlie Taylor, a child behavioural expert. He delivered a scathing verdict in February on the existing system, which he claimed did little more than teach offenders how to survive in prison.

Writing on this newspaper’s website, the justice secretary, Liz Truss, says she wants to reduce violence and improve training and education within young offender institutions. She writes: “The people in our prisons and young offender institutions have broken the law, they have violated the rules under which a civilised society necessarily and rightly operates, and they must face the consequences.

“But we are missing an opportunity if we do not recognise that helping these people to turn their lives around not only benefits them but benefits us all. Preventing more of us becoming victims of crime. Making streets and communities safer. And delivering huge savings to the public purse.”

“Nowhere is this opportunity greater than with our young people. Because here the penal system has its earliest chance to intervene, to steer our young people away from a life of crime and onto the right path, towards finding a job, settling down with a family.” ‘ - The Guardian

‘The schools will work closely with businesses to build relationships with the young people and plans are being developed to offer mentors to stop offenders "returning to a path of crime" when they are released. 

Each school will also be measured to keep an eye on their progress and a head of operations post will be established to focus on "tackling violence, driving up performance levels and taking decisive action in the event of failures or falling standards".

There are no dates as of yet for the schools to open and the MoJ has not released numbers of how many young offenders they hope to house. 

There are currently five young offender institutions and three secure training centres for young people in England and Wales.

The under-18 youth custody population has dropped below 1,000 in recent years. However, reoffending rates have gone up, with two in three juvenile offenders committing a new offence within a year of release.

The MoJ said the two schools were "the first step" in a number of reforms for the youth justice system that would be set out in spring 2017. 

Wider reforms for the justice system as a whole, including the treatment of female offenders and those under probation supervision, are due to be announced in the New Year. ‘ - BBC News

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