Monday, February 21, 2005

Just a Thought

I recently visited a Young Offenders' Institution (prison for those under 21) and after our tour of the facilities we had a meeting with the Governor to exchange views and to debrief the visit.

During the meeting he mentioned that something like 80% of his charges had been excluded from school at some time, and that about 30% had been in what Councils call , without a hint of irony, 'care'.

It costs up to £1000 a week to keep a young man in a YOI. Not many come out better than they went in. Some are seriously corroded by the experience. With the risk factors being so predictable, should not a serious approach to offending behaviour mean getting involved with these boys much, much, earlier when the warning signs appear? It wouldn't be cheap, but nor is the present system. It would also be a good deal more humane, and could spare vulnerable kids a deal of misery.

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