“This is a timely and important report because, although the number of children in custody has declined over the years, the evidence is clear that the system is still failing some of our most vulnerable children.
“Nacro has been delivering education in hard to reach communities for almost 50 years and we are pleased that the review highlights the education deficit of young people in custody. Far too many young people in custody have dropped out of education by the age of 14. This is a devastating example of how mainstream education isn’t working for some young people. However, education in custody cannot deliver more of the same, it has to engage, be responsive to individual needs and provide clear progression routes to further education, training and work. Vocational education and training are central to achieving this.
“While it is always best to divert young people away from custody, for those that have committed the most serious offences, custody or some form of secure detention will always be required. That is why it is crucial that we get custody right for these young people.
“We very much welcome the recommendation for a concentration of smaller more therapeutic units. These units could enable young people to address their complex problems, while at the same time helping them to harness skills and vision for the future in a more caring environment.
“However, although there are challenges, this nurturing environment – with a focus on family and the community – can and should be adopted in all current secure settings as soon as possible. Only then can we begin to help these children move on with their lives.
“The voluntary sector has a vital role to play in shaping and delivering this and we look forward to working with the Charlie Taylor in the coming months.”
A copy of the Charlie Taylor review can be found here.