On Sunday, Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced her ambitions for reforming the education system for young felons, which seemed to have been met by promising responses. Whilst the number of young delinquents in custody is improving yearly, Truss and her team believe reforming the system may support those who do pass through the organism. Truss’ new system proposes after a trail period and some developments, delinquents across Britain may have access to core education.
The scheme, whilst developing and evolving, proposes two ‘secure schools’ be opened which shall aim to monitor progress more closely, requiring £15 million so the staff might be increased and secured. In the long run, Truss aims to have every young person on their journey to an apprenticeship so they may have qualifications in a trade to aid their transition into society. Through adhering to the 30-hour schedule planned for those in custody, young felons may be offered new and invigorating opportunities.
The schools aim to adhere differently to comprehensive systems, providing a focused education in a selection of core subjects, as well as progressions in their physical and mental health. In their decision to monitor behaviour and wellness alongside progression in academic studies, the new system may provide a safe space in which delinquents may develop, heal and learn in preparation for adulthood.
The potential benefits for this may be abundant; as well as reducing rates and increasing entry-level jobs for the felons; the scheme also aims to monitor custodial safety and behaviour. One may also consider how the shifting views of employers may enable delinquents to maintain support systems outside of custody, as the plans include a network of employers with which felons and their mentors may build relationships.
If this scheme spreads, Truss foresees how it may be mutually beneficial for society and the individual offenders, commenting upon how “while young people are in custody we need to make sure they get the right education and training so they [may] lead law abiding lives – and in turn make our streets and communities safer too,” suggesting how the plan may offer security and prospect for communities in years to come.
Charlie Taylor notes in his review of the proposal how “Growing up involves making and learning from mistakes… the right response to childhood felonies should always be to address the causes of the offending behavior and to repair.” His mode of thought regarding children here suggests how his primary focus in reviewing this proposal may be to address the needs of the children and the needs of the society which they may one day convene with.
With rehabilitated individuals of all ages being provided the opportunity to progress and gain skills, this system may be a way to engage in the education and development of young felons. With playwrights such as Timberlake Wertenbaker engaging actively with restorative theatre in custody environments as a means of providing felons with new skills and ambitions, the education system which may soon be implemented might add to a series of potentially productive methods of opportunity for felons of all ages.
In reflecting upon the process of improving education for young individuals, it may become apparent how an increased focus on core education and qualifications enable them to lead successful and fulfilling lives as soon as they are integrated into society. By offering them the chance to decide their own fate as they mature out of custody, the legal system may develop a more productive and beneficial social system.
How else may society offer productive opportunities to broaden opportunities for those in youth justice systems?