Young Offenders Academy
In May 2007, the Foundation was approached by East Potential to consider a grant towards a scoping study to explore the feasibility of establishing a young offenders academy in east London. The need for an academy grew out of a recognition by key agencies (including the Youth Justice Board, the police, voluntary and statutory providers of youth services) that existing interventions to tackle youth re-offending were not working. Evidence provided by NACRO through the GLA (2006), highlighted that the re-conviction rate of young people following custody was in the region of 80 per cent.
Part of the problem was felt to be that young offenders were seldom the recipients of an integrated, local approach that embraced education, life skills, employment, accommodation and social welfare. The academy would be a way of providing local and accessible continuity of support and linkage across all these service areas. It would also have a residential element for those in custody, day attendance for young people subject to supervision orders and would involve family and community members.
A grant was awarded in October 2007 for the study, with a contribution from East Potential and Henry Smith Charitable Trust. The aim was to explore the legal, social, financial and political viability of the proposed model. A steering group was established to oversee the research with representatives from the criminal justice system, voluntary and statutory organisations and key politicians and policy informers.
The study began in November 2007 and culminated in the publication of Young Offenders in East London: A New Approach. The report was launched at the House of Lords by Lord Ramsbotham (Chief Inspector of Prisons) in June 2008 and recommended the setting up of an academy as a pilot project. The second phase of the work is now underway and aims to progress the work by establishing a pilot academy. For further information, and to obtain a full version of the report click the link below: