Justice Committee: MPs to investigate children and young people in custody: Written Evidence from Dr Claire Paterson-Young

Research output: Book/ReportTechnical Report


This submission addresses the following questions from the investigation:
• What impact has the changing nature of the population had on the management of the secure estate?
• Do staff receive appropriate training and support and what more can be done to improve this?
• Are children and young people able to access purposeful activity, education, healthcare and other support as needed whilst in custody?
• Is there effective release planning to ensure that children and young people have access to accommodation, training and education upon release and what more can be done to ensure they do not reoffend?
The main points outlined in the submission are:
• Education provisions need to be age-appropriate and geared towards improving opportunities for children and young people on release from custody. For example, apprenticeship opportunities to commence in the custodial environment and continue in the community.
• Provisions to enable children and young people to learn the independence skills that will allow them to transition from custody to the community and, when the time comes, adulthood are required. For example, the development of an independence learning programme (see Paterson-Young et al. 2019) that enable young people to progress.
• Stable and secure accommodation for children and young people on release from custody has a central role in supporting children and children and young people to achieve positive outcomes and reduce future offending.
• Support for staff working in Secure Training Centres requires a significant overhaul to ensure the environment supports and empowers staff. This would help to improve organisational capacity, promote personal growth and enhance service delivery.
• Training for staff working in Secure Training Centres requires development to ensure staff are prepared for the challenges of working in custody and the challenges of working with children and young people with, often, complex needs.
• Evaluation of all custodial environments would benefit from a social impact measurement approach. This approach would allow the organisations running custodial environments, and inspectors/auditors, to review and identify children and young people’s progress in custodial placements.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019



  • Justice
  • Children
  • Young people
  • Custody

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