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Transforming Youth Custody 
Putting education at the heart 
of detention 
February 2013 
Consultation Paper CP4/2013 
Consultation start date: 14 February 2013 
Consultation close date: 30 April 2013 

Transforming Youth Custody 
Putting education at the heart of detention 
Presented to Parliament  
by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice  
by Command of Her Majesty 
February 2013 
Cm 8564 

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link to page 6 link to page 7 link to page 9 link to page 15 link to page 19 link to page 28 link to page 30 link to page 32 Transforming Youth Custody 
1. About the consultation questions in this document 

2. Ministerial foreword 

3. Key information about youth custody 

4. The case for change 
5. Our vision for reform 
6. Helping to deliver our vision 
7. Consultation questions 
References 29 

Transforming Youth Custody 

Transforming Youth Custody 
1. About the consultation questions in this document 
This consultation seeks views from staff and young 
people in youth custodial establishments, service 
providers in justice, education, detention and security, 
health, children services and wider social services, 
the judiciary, voluntary and community organisations 
and all those with an interest in young people. We 
also invite members of the public to respond. 
Consultation questions (lettered ‘a’ to ‘y’) appear in 
text boxes throughout Chapter 5 (‘Our vision for 
reform’) and are collected in Chapter 7 (‘Consultation 
From 14 February to 30 April 2013. 
Enquiries (including 
requests for the paper  Transforming Youth Custody consultation 
in an alternative 
Ministry of Justice 
format) to: 
8.19, 102 Petty France 
London SW1H 9AJ 
020 3334 5393 
How to respond: 
Responses to the consultation questions should be 
submitted online at

A number of consultation events will also take place. 
Details on these will be available at the web address 
Responses and outline proposals can also be 
submitted to the ‘Enquiries’ contact details above. 
Response paper: 
A response to this consultation exercise will be 
published at: 

Transforming Youth Custody 
2. Ministerial foreword 
1.  Under this Government, crime is down and offending by young people is 
down. The number of young people entering the criminal justice system is 
at its lowest for over a decade. We pay tribute to the work of the police, 
Youth Offending Teams, and other dedicated professionals who have all 
played a part in making this happen. However, there remains a hardcore of 
serious and prolific offenders, many of whom have racked up long criminal 
histories in their still young lives. Estimates suggest that nearly a third of 
youth crime is committed by just 5% of offenders. And at the moment, for 
this hardcore, a sentence in custody is not putting a stop to their criminal 
behaviour. Seven in every 10 young people released from detention go on 
to break the law again in under 12 months. It is clear that despite the effort 
and commitment of those who work in the youth secure estate, the system 
is failing to turn these young people’s lives around, and we need to do 
things differently. 
2.  What’s worse, we are also spending large sums of money to achieve such 
poor outcomes. Places in the secure estate in some cases cost more than 
£200,000 a year – five times the cost of sending a child to a top private 
boarding school. When we see many of the same young faces back at the 
gate within a matter of months, this level of spending cannot continue. We 
believe that with innovation and imagination, it is possible both to reduce 
the costs and improve the outcomes for society and for young offenders 
3.  Education is key to our vision. We want to see Secure Colleges providing 
education in a period of detention, rather than detention with education 
as an afterthought. Young offenders often lead chaotic lives and face 
complex problems, including substance abuse, unsuitable accommodation 
and emotional or mental health issues. Literacy levels are unacceptably 
low and the vast majority have in the past been excluded from school. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
Custody provides the chance to end the chaos, to confront the multiple 
challenges these children face, and to impose boundaries that have all too 
often been lacking. But that is not enough. It is through education that 
young offenders will gain the qualifications and skills for employment, as 
well as come to understand the importance of individual responsibility, self-
discipline and self-respect. It is these things that will enable them to 
engage constructively in society and to lead law-abiding lives. All young 
people should receive a high quality education that gives them the greatest 
chance of success. This is just as important, if not more so, for those who 
have started off in the wrong direction and ended up in custody. 
4.  In putting education at the heart of youth detention there is much we can 
learn from the Government’s wider education reforms. The Free School 
programme has allowed a diverse range of innovative and tailored 
approaches to education to flourish. It is this expertise and innovation in 
improving outcomes for young people that we need to bring to youth custody. 
5.  We are also determined that having set young offenders back on the right 
track in custody, we keep them heading in the right direction on release. 
It is therefore vital that what happens in custody is much more effectively 
linked to what is happening in the community, and in particular that we 
think again about the transition from custody to everyday life. 
6.  With a number of contracts coming to an end in the near future, we have a 
rare opportunity to look afresh at the whole system. Reforms must be 
credible and affordable, but we are confident this does not preclude bold 
and imaginative ideas for change. 
7.  We are keen to engage the broadest range of people: providers in the 
education world, in youth services, those new to this sector, as well as 
those working in the estate now who know how it could be so much better. 
In this Green Paper we’re inviting you to put forward innovative solutions 
that will improve value for the taxpayer, reduce reoffending and set young 
offenders on a path to a better life. 
8.  We look forward to hearing your views. 
Chris Grayling 
Michael Gove 
Lord Chancellor and  
Secretary of State for Education 
Secretary of State for Justice 

Transforming Youth Custody 
3. Key information about youth custody 
9.  It is right that young people who commit serious and repeat crimes are 
sentenced to a period in custody. There are also circumstances in which it is 
right to securely remand young people. In the 12 months to June 2012, 
3,645 young offenders (7% of those sentenced) received a custodial 
sentence. Overall crime1 and proven offending by young people are both 
down, and the number of young people in custody has been falling as fewer 
young people have come into the criminal justice system.2 In 2011/12 the 
average population of young people in custody (including those on remand) 
was 1,963, and between April and November 2012 it fell to 1,671. 
Average Secure Estate Population for under 18s, 2000/01 - 2012/13*
tion in c

*Data for 2012/13 are provisional and an average 
of the period April to November 2012.
10. The custodial estate in which those young people are detained must provide 
for all young people aged 10-17 years who are sentenced to custody. It 
must therefore cater for a range of age groups and sentence lengths, as 
well as individuals with complex problems. Alongside sentenced young 
offenders, the custodial estate also accommodates a significant number of 
young people who are held on remand while awaiting trial or sentencing, 
many of whom may only remain in custody for a short while. 
11. Most of those sentenced receive a Detention and Training Order (DTO), 
half of which is served in custody and half in the community under the 
supervision of a multi-agency Youth Offending Team (YOT). The 
maximum length of a DTO is two years. Approximately 58% of young 
people in custody in 2011/12 were serving a DTO. 

link to page 10 link to page 10 Transforming Youth Custody 
12. Sentences of more than two years are available for young people aged 10-
17 years who commit very serious offences.i Approximately 18% of young 
people in custody are serving a long-term sentence. 
Breakdown of the 2011/12 secure estate population, by legal basis for detention
(including 2011/12 average length of stay) 
length of stay 
Detention and Training Order
in custody - 
(DTO) (inc recalls)
353 days
length of 
Long term sentences
stay in 
length of stay 
custody - 
in custody - 
107 days
42 days
13. Custodial places for under-18s are commissioned by the Youth Justice 
Board for England and Wales (YJB), who also place young people in 
custody and oversee local authority YOTs. 
14. There are three sectors in the current youth secure estate: Secure 
Children’s Homes (SCHs), Secure Training Centres (STCs) and under-18 
Young Offender Institutions (YOIs)ii. There are some significant 
differences between these three sectors of youth custody, both in terms of 
the regime and costs, yet reoffending rates are poor on release from each 
of them. 
i   Those sentenced under sections 90 and 91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 and 
section 226B of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the latter being amended by sections 123 and 124 of the 
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. 
ii   All future references in this document to YOIs are to under-18 YOIs. There are also separate young adult 
YOIs which take adult offenders aged 18-21 years. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
Current sectors of the youth secure estate 
Young Offender Institutions (YOIs): 
  YOIs are 40-440 beds in size, usually divided into smaller units of 30-60 beds. 
  Accommodate 15-17 year old boys and some 17-year-old girls. 
  Currently 11 in England and Wales, eight male and three small female units. Nine 
are run by HM Prison Service and two by private contractors. 
  YOIs provide 15 hours education a week (plus 10 hours purposeful activity). 
  Average cost of a place per annum is £65,000. 
  73% reoffending rate. 
Secure Training Centres (STCs): 
  Purpose-built custodial facilities for 12-17 year olds. 
  58-87 beds divided into small blocks holding 5-8 young people. 
  There are currently four STCs, all run by private contractors. 
  STCs provide 25 hours education a week. 
  Average cost of a place per annum is £178,000. 
  70% reoffending rate. 
Secure Children’s Homes (SCHs): 
  Smaller facilities run by local authorities with between 8-40 beds. 
  Provide for 10-17 year olds, including some of the youngest and most vulnerable. 
  Also accommodate children looked after by local authorities where courts have 
authorised that they may be detained for welfare reasons. 
  Provide 30 hours education a week. 
  Average cost of a place per annum is £212,000. 
  76% reoffending rate. 
Average secure estate population by establishment, 2011/12

sto 1200




Secure Children's Homes
Secure Training Centres
Young Offender Institutions
(YOIs) (under 18)
Establishment type
15. Young people in custody often have troubled backgrounds, including 
histories of local authority care, absent parents, mental health needs, 
disrupted education and in some cases self-harm (see details below). 

link to page 12 link to page 12 link to page 12 Transforming Youth Custody 
Profile of young people in custody 
In 2011/12:2 
  Age – 96% of young people in custody were aged 15-17 years, with only 4% being aged 
10-14. 17-year-olds accounted for over half of the youth custodial population. 
  Gender – Boys comprised 94% of all young people in custody, and girls just 6%. 
  Ethnicity – Black and minority ethnic young people accounted for 29% of the youth 
custodial population. 
  Criminal histories – Just over half of the young people released from a custodial 
sentence in 2010/11 had 11 or more previous offences.3, iiiiv v 
2011/12 average under 18 custodial population 
by offence type   a
nd age


Under 15
f o


Breach of
against the
offences iv
order v
iii  For the primary offence. 
iv  The offences grouped under ‘other offences’ are arson, breach of bail, breach of conditional discharge, 
criminal damage, death or injury by dangerous driving, fraud and forgery, motoring offences, non-
domestic burglary, public order offences, racially aggravated offences, theft and handling stolen goods, 
vehicle theft/unauthorised taking, and unknown and other offences. 
v   Breach of a statutory order is an offence of failing without reasonable excuse to comply with the 
requirements of an existing statutory order. The offence is only counted where the failure is proved to the 
satisfaction of the court and the original order is revoked and/or an additional order or other disposal is 

Transforming Youth Custody 
  Half of 15-17 year olds entering public sector YOIs were assessed as having the literacy 
levels equivalent to that expected of a 7-11 year old.4 
  18% of sentenced young people in custody had a statement of special educational 
needs, compared to 3% in the general population.5 
  Of 15-17 year olds in YOIs, 88% of young men and 74% of young women had been 
excluded from school at some point.6 
  Of 15-17 year olds in YOIs, 36% of young men and 41% of young women were aged 
under 14 when they last attended school.6 
  Research suggests generalised learning disability is more common in young people in 
custody, with a prevalence of 23-32% compared to 2-4% in the general population.7 
  A 2011/12 survey of 15-17 year olds in YOIs found that 27% of young men in custody felt 
they had emotional or mental health problems.6 
  About a fifth of sentenced young people in custody had tried to harm themselves at 
some point in their lives (compared to 7% of the general population), and around a tenth 
had tried to commit suicide at some point in their lives.5 
  A recent review suggests that the prevalence of neuro-developmental disorders 
(e.g. dyslexia, communication disorders and epilepsy) among young people in 
custody is higher than in the general youth population.7 
  Young people in custody have disproportionately high levels of substance use. In a 
self-report study of around 500 boys and girls aged 12-18, consumption of tobacco, 
alcohol and drugs far exceeded the average for the general population.8 Cannabis was 
by far the most commonly used drug, followed by ecstasy and cocaine.9 
Complex backgrounds 
  A 2011/12 survey of 15-17 year olds in YOIs, found that 30% of young men and 44% of 
young women reported being in local authority care at some point.6 
  A study into the background and circumstances of 200 sentenced young people within 
the secure estate found:5 
  76% of young people have an absent father and a 33% an absent mother; 
  51% of young people in custody come from deprived or unsuitable 
accommodation; and 
  39% had been on the child protection register or had experienced abuse or neglect. 
Education in custody 
16. Many young people sentenced to custody have poor records of 
educational engagement and attainment, and low levels of basic skills.4, 6 
There may also be young people in custody who have achieved well 
beyond basic skills levels and who need and want to continue their 
academic education while detained. A 2011/12 survey of 15-18 year old 
young men in prison found that almost two-thirds of those receiving 
education in prison felt that their education would help them when they 
were released. In addition, over half of young men surveyed said they 
were planning to go back into education or training once they left custody.6 

Transforming Youth Custody 
17. To ensure that young people receive effective education while they are in 
custody, establishments should already be conducting initial educational 
assessments of literacy, numeracy and any particular learning needs. 
This should happen as soon after arrival as possible and be informed by 
information from the schools, community services and YOTs that have 
worked with the young person previously. Following this assessment, the 
custodial provider should develop a learning plan to ensure that, while the 
young person is in custody, they benefit from education and training 
designed to meet their particular needs. 

link to page 15 Transforming Youth Custody 
4. The case for change 
Reducing reoffending 
18. The principal aim of the youth justice system is to prevent offending by 
children and young people, and it should do this through a combination of 
preventative early intervention, punishment for those who break the law, 
and rehabilitation to get young offenders back on the right track. 
19. A significant programme of cross-Government reform seeks to ensure that 
young people get a high quality education, the most troubled families are 
supported to turn their lives around, children who are taken into care are 
found permanent homes with loving families where that is in their best 
interests, and parents are assisted and encouraged to lead productive 
lives and be role models for their children. 
20. When young people do commit crime, the youth justice system seeks 
to stop it escalating with strong intervention by the police and multi-
disciplinary YOTs. 
21. It is encouraging that we have significantly fewer children entering the 
criminal justice system and fewer ending up in custody than at any point 
in the past decade. The work of YOTs, rooted in local communities, has 
played an important role in achieving these results. 
22. However, the system is failing when it comes to those young people who 
do break the law and end up in custody. 73% of young offenders who are 
released from custody reoffend within 12 months. This is unacceptably 
high, and the worst anywhere in the criminal justice system. It suggests 
that the vast majority of those in youth custody are already set upon a life 
of crime, and a period in detention is currently having little or no impact on 
the likelihood they will break the law again. This has got to change. 
23. A hardcore minority of repeat offenders commit the majority of proven 
youth crime. The National Audit Office estimated that around 5% of young 
offenders were responsible for almost a third of all proven offences.10 
These persistent young offenders cause serious harm to neighbourhoods 
and communities, and they are all too likely to become the adult criminals 
of tomorrow. We have to stop this vicious cycle of crime by ensuring that 
youth detention is a time to turn young people’s lives around, and that 
progress made in custody is continued on release so they do not go back 
to breaking the law. 
24. The boys and girls in youth custody are some of the most complex and 
disengaged in society,vi and their behaviours have often become 
vi  As shown in the ‘Profile of young people in custody’ box. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
entrenched despite the hard work of some dedicated practitioners. But that 
is not an excuse, either for them or for the youth justice system, not to do 
better. Custody may well represent a rare period of stability in otherwise 
chaotic lives, and as such presents a key opportunity to set these young 
people on a different track. This is time that can and should be used to put 
them on the path to a better life, combining the education and wider 
support that motivates, challenges and achieves results with young 
people, and which can be continued and built upon after release. 
A focus on improving education 
25. The vast majority of young people in custody have been excluded from 
school at some point6 and about half entering YOIs have literacy or 
numeracy levels well below the expected standard for their age4. Some 
young people in custody can also lack a sense of personal responsibility, 
self-respect and self-discipline, and can struggle to interact constructively 
with others. 
26. The Government believes education is central to the response to this 
problem. Low levels of educational achievement and engagement are 
linked to an increased risk of offending11,12 and wider social problems.13,14 
Education and training can be a means to gain the qualifications and skills 
for employment, understand the importance of individual responsibility and 
build self-respect, all of which enable a young person to engage 
constructively in society and lead a law-abiding life.13 Without this, the 
chances of a decent future are slim. All young people should receive a 
high quality education that gives them the greatest chance of success, and 
this is just as crucial for those who have started off in the wrong direction 
and ended up in custody. 
27. Currently, education varies across the different types of establishments in 
the youth secure estate, and quality is patchy. Frequently, young people do 
not get the required hours of education. The reasons for this might be 
complex, but education has to be a priority. We also know that the process 
of needs assessment and information sharing is not working effectively 
everywhere. An Ofsted report15 indicated that risk assessments of young 
offenders contained insufficient information on learning and attainment and 
did not record accurate information about young people who had additional 
learning needs. Many establishments have described the difficulty of getting 
the documentation they need from local authorities, schools, health services 
and other professionals. Sometimes this documentation does not exist at all. 
28. The Children and Families Bill, currently being considered by Parliament, 
includes provision to introduce Education, Health and Care Plans for 
young people with the most complex needs. The provisions also place 
duties on local authorities and YOTs to work together when assessing the 
needs of young offenders with special educational needs, meaning that 
YOTs will be involved when local authorities draw up Education, Health 
and Care Plans for young people who have been in custody. The 
provisions will also make information sharing easier when a young person 
enters custody. 

link to page 17 Transforming Youth Custody 
29. Overall, there is insufficient join-up between education services and 
systems both within custody and between custody and community, with 
the result that time is wasted and opportunities to make progress are lost. 
30. Young people should be leaving custody with a placement in education, 
training or employment secured, but a survey indicates that two thirds of them 
leave with no such placement, and of those that do only half are still engaged 
after one month.16 To tackle this the Government has announced plans to 
extend the Youth Contract programme for 16 and 17-year-olds to ensure 
all young people leaving custody can get the support and challenge they 
need to enter education, training or employment with training, but custodial 
establishments themselves need to contribute to this effort before release. 
31. There is plenty of hard work and skilled practice among dedicated 
professionals across all sectors, and we must draw on it. But if we are to 
take advantage of a period in custody to set young people back on the 
right track, we need a whole system that provides intensive education 
during a period of detention, rather than one where education takes 
second place. 
Reducing costs 
32. For such disappointing results, the costs of youth custody are far too high. 
In 2012/13 the Ministry of Justice and YJB have budgeted that £245m will 
be spent on commissioning the youth secure estate. This equates to an 
average cost of almost £100,000 a place per annum – far higher than the 
average cost of a place across the whole National Offender Management 
Service (NOMS) estate at £38,000 per annumvii – and in some 
circumstances we are paying more than £200,000 per annum. At a time of 
significant financial challenge, and faced with such poor outcomes, things 
have to change. 
33. We have been working to drive efficiencies right across the criminal justice 
system, and expect to reduce further the total cost of the youth secure 
estate by 2014/15. But we believe that by taking a different approach to 
youth custody there is considerable scope to drive down costs significantly 
further, while at the same time delivering improved outcomes for young 
people and cutting reoffending. 
vii  The main differences between the average cost per place in youth custody (£100,000) and the average 
price per place in the NOMS estate (£38,000) are: 
a)  The YJB calculates an average price per place per annum, based upon the YJB budget allocations at 
the beginning of each financial year for those services it is responsible for commissioning for young 
people (the latest year available is 2012/13). NOMS calculates costs for prisons using expenditure at 
the close of the financial year (2011/12 is the latest year available) for all expenditure incurred by NOMS. 
b)  NOMS publish an average price per place across the whole NOMS estate. This was £38,000 in 
2011/12. This figure includes expenditure costs in under-18 YOIs and excludes education costs. 
Costs of the youth secure estate include education costs. A breakdown of the average cost per place 
by individual establishments is available at:
. Please note, where a prison serves 
more than a single function, NOMS categorises that prison according to its main function. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
A chance for change 
34. The case for change is therefore compelling. This Government has already 
embarked upon a radical programme of reform in education, in welfare and 
in the rehabilitation of adult offenders. Reforms are focused on reducing 
costs through competition, encouraging innovation by inviting in diverse 
providers, and driving effectiveness through a focus on outcomes. 
35. The youth secure estate has developed over the last 40 years to produce 
a complex landscape of establishments with different services and 
standards, and supply is often not geographically aligned to demand. 
Many people in the system are working hard to drive improvements with 
some very challenging young people, but in spite of significantly differing 
and excessively high costs, reoffending outcomes are consistently 
unacceptable. The position today is not how we would design it now. 
36. The current contracts for many STCs and SCHs, as well as for education 
provision in public sector YOIs, are due to expire during 2013 and 2014. At 
the same time we are continuing to adjust the capacity of the youth secure 
estate to ensure it reflects demand. These factors make now a good time 
to take a fresh look at our current estate and to seek a wide range of views 
on how we can ensure custody contributes to lower reoffending rates, 
improved outcomes for young people and better value for the taxpayer. 
We have a rare opportunity to consider a truly transformative new 
approach, and this consultation will test both the appetite and ideas 
necessary to deliver real change. We need to achieve this in a way that is 
affordable within the context of the Ministry of Justice’s commitment to 
deliver annual savings of over £2 billion by 2014/15, and which looks 
forward to the next Spending Review. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
5. Our vision for reform 
Education reforms – informing our vision for change 
37. In putting education at the heart of our reforms to youth custody, we 
are working within a context of radical reforms to the way education 
is delivered for all young people. 
38. Over the past three years the Government has enabled more schools 
than ever to become Academies, securing improvements in standards 
well above the national average and turning around some of the worst-
performing secondary schools in the country. Schools which had become 
sink schools with chronically low aspirations, poor behaviour and a culture 
of failure are now centres of excellence and engines of social mobility. 
39. In 2010 the Government extended the Academies programme to allow for 
the creation of Free Schools, providing the opportunity for new entrants to 
education provision in areas where parents are dissatisfied with what is 
available. Free Schools are non-profit making, independent, state-funded 
schools set up in response to real demand within a local area for a greater 
variety of schooling. These schools are the result of the unique visions of a 
wide range of proposers – including charities, universities, businesses, 
educational groups, visionary teachers or committed parents – to make a 
difference to the education landscape. Free Schools give providers the 
flexibility to innovate and tailor their curriculum and methods to the specific 
needs of their pupils, while requiring them to demonstrate a viable financial 
case for funding and good quality results. Youth custody must learn from 
this change. 
40. The Government has also introduced major reforms to the curriculum at 
both 14-16 and 16-19. At 14-16 young people focus on core skills and 
learning, and in particular maths and English, GCSEs and a restricted 
number of ‘high value’ qualifications. From September 2013, 16-19 study 
programmes will be introduced. All young people who have not achieved a 
Grade C or above in GCSE maths and English will continue to study those 
subjects post-16. They will also be given the opportunity to pursue study 
programmes which either combine larger academic or vocational 
qualifications, or an extended period of work experience focused on 
education or employment goals. 
41. For those who cannot or will not participate in mainstream education, the 
Education Act 2011 allowed for the establishment of Alternative Provision 
Free Schools. In September 2012, the first Alternative Provision and 
Special Free Schools opened, ensuring that the most vulnerable young 
people can benefit from new and innovative approaches to education. 
Ambitious reforms are also underway to improve outcomes for young 
people with special educational needs. With a large proportion of young 
people in custody excluded from school at some point6 or identified as 

Transforming Youth Custody 
having special education needs,5 our challenge is to ensure that they are 
able to benefit from the support and opportunities these wider reforms 
present, at the same time as facing up to the consequences of their 
offending behaviour. 
42. The review of Alternative Provision by Charlie Taylor17, the Government’s 
former expert adviser on behaviour, made recommendations to improve 
the outcomes for children who, because of exclusion, health needs, or 
other reasons, are outside of mainstream education. Implementation of 
these recommendations is well underway, and includes measures to 
improve the quality of teaching in alternative provision, removal of 
bureaucracy which prevents pupils from remaining in the most appropriate 
provision, and publication of guidance which for the first time makes 
explicit expected standards. The Government has also encouraged 
broader innovative approaches to raising standards for these pupils, 
including through the use of provision with a military ethos. Charlie Taylor’s 
starting point was that the focus of provision for pupils in alternative 
provision, including excluded young people, should be about getting high 
quality education for all pupils and the best value for public money, just as 
it is in mainstream schools. This means that provision must meet the 
needs of pupils and give them a good education on a par with the 
mainstream. Education provision in custody must share that starting point. 
Secure Colleges: education with detention 
43. Our vision is for a youth estate of ‘Secure Colleges’. These facilities will 
have education at their heart, equipping young offenders with the skills and 
qualifications, self-respect and self-discipline to turn their backs on crime 
for good. Young people in Secure Colleges should return to the community 
more focused on and engaged with the opportunities that an improved 
education has made available to them. 
44. To achieve intensive education combined with a period of detention, we 
will need to attract a diverse range of providers into the market, drawing in 
both education expertise and security experience. We recognise that this 
may require strategic partnerships between organisations with differing 
expertise, and could include opportunities for new public sector mutuals to 
be set up by staff currently working in the sector. We are keen to hear 
proposals from as broad a range of stakeholders and providers as possible 
in order to turn the concept of Secure Colleges into a reality. 

link to page 21 Transforming Youth Custody 
Tailoring education to young people in custody 
45. Basic educational skills, such as literacy and numeracy, will always be 
important in equipping young people for further learning or employment, 
and we want to see young people in custody achieve outcomes in these 
areas. Beyond that, some may come into custody with higher levels of 
education, have qualifications already and want more. Others have tasted 
the world of work and would benefit from developing vocational skills, so 
links between custodial providers and employers may be beneficial. Some 
will also have special educational needs, learning difficulties or learning 
disabilities,viii a number of whom will have had an Education, Health or 
Care Plan prior to entering custody. Their needs must be appropriately 
catered for. For young people entering custody at school age, we must set 
the same expectations as we do in mainstream provision. 
46. With the raising of the school participation age to 17 from 2013 and 
18 from 2015, post-16 provision should also reflect the expectations and 
opportunities of mainstream provision. In practice this means offering all 
students a 16-19 study programme in custody, recognising that courses 
may have been started in the community and in some cases will be 
completed in the community after release. Nevertheless the principles 
should be the same: a clear focus on the student’s employment and 
educational goals, a level of provision which reflects their ability, a 
continued focus on the development of maths and English and a mix of 
qualification or non-qualification activity. 
47. Within the custodial environment, the regime and space might enable 
education and learning in a number of different forms. With the right 
teaching and support, some young people may thrive in a classroom. In 
other cases, though, traditional methods may not work, and results might 
be better achieved in vocational workshops. Sometimes music and sport 
could be linked with improving understanding of numbers, team work and 
communication, and mealtimes could be an opportunity to learn catering 
as well as social skills. We do, though, want to see structure and rigour in 
the education provided, with clarity about what skills are being developed 
and what progress is being made. 
48. Youth custody must also cater for the whole age range of young people, 
through to the age of 17. The majority are 16 and 17, but some are 
younger, and levels of physical and emotional maturity vary widely at every 
age. Some also remain in the youth secure estate when they reach 18 
because they have limited time left to serve or are on remand and awaiting 
a court hearing, and it makes sense to avoid disruption at what can be a 
crucial stage in enabling them to take responsibility and change. This can 
be particularly important for young people with special educational needs. 
We want to continue and build on that practice. 
viii  As shown in the ‘Profile of young people in custody’ box. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
Consultation questions: 
(a) How should we best engage young people in custody in education and 
training? What evidence is there of different approaches that work well? 
(b) How would you segment the young people in custody to deliver education 
and training? 
(c) How might the educational balance in Secure Colleges best be struck 
between basic skills (literacy, numeracy, etc.), traditional academic subjects, 
vocational learning and wider life skills such as self-respect and self-control, 
communication and teamwork? 
(d) How can we best meet the needs of young people with learning 
disabilities, special educational needs or mental health needs, and how might 
Education, Health and Care Plans be used to ensure appropriate special 
educational provision is in place? 
Meeting the wider needs of young people in custody 
49. Young people in custody frequently present a range of social, emotional 
and health needs5, 6, 7 which have to be taken into account in designing 
and then engaging them in education, and some of them will be looked 
after children or care leavers. In some cases these needs will have to be 
met or problems tackled before the young person can make educational 
progress. Experience in co-commissioning suggests there is an 
opportunity to develop strong partnerships with health providers and those 
with experience of improving offenders’ thinking and emotional wellbeing, 
teaching young people how to deal with conflict, improving communication 
and instilling self-respect and self-discipline. If we do not tackle these 
wider needs alongside education for those that require it, we will not 
enable them to turn their lives around. 
50. The custodial population is overwhelmingly male, but there is a small number 
of girls in the estate. In common with boys, they have many complex needs 
and vulnerabilities. There is also evidence that some aspects of custody 
impact differently on females than males5, 6 and some may be mothers of 
young children. It is crucial that custody meets their needs. 
51. A number of young people in custody across the age range can be 
disruptive, some have been convicted of very serious offences and some 
can represent a safeguarding threat to others in custody. Practitioners 
from some secure establishments report that they have seen an increasing 
number of young people affiliated with gangs, including conflicting affiliations 
within a single establishment, and that this can lead to increased violence 
and intimidation. Custody must deal with all these challenges, preventing 
escalation and responding with safe methods to control behaviour where 
necessary. This is essential to create an environment in which young 
people in custody can engage in education and training. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
52. There is a group of children in custody who are especially damaged and 
need support services which include a greater focus on therapeutic care 
alongside education and health. At present many of these young people in 
custody are held in SCHs (sometimes alongside children with similar 
needs who have been placed there by local authorities for welfare 
reasons) and STCs, and some are in specialist units elsewhere in the 
estate. As we implement our vision for Secure Colleges, we will ensure 
that separate specialist provision continues to be available for the most 
troubled and vulnerable young people whether they are in custody or need 
this care for welfare reasons. 
53. The Secure College model must draw on the work and learning of some 
outstanding practitioners, both in custodial establishments and community 
services, and the flexibility and innovation needed to cater effectively for all 
groups of young people in custody, for their own good and for the good of 
the public. 
Consultation questions: 
(e) How would young people best be kept safe and secure in your model of a 
Secure College? 
(f) How should we best approach the particular challenges of a group of young 
people in custody (such as, the youngest, the most vulnerable, the most 
dangerous and most disruptive) and ensure their needs are met? Could this 
group be managed within your model of a Secure College? 
(g) What are the other key services you would deliver, or establish 
partnerships with, within a Secure College both to support the provision of 
high quality education to young people in custody and to prevent them from 
offending on release? 
(h) How can we best meet the needs of young people in custody who are 
looked after children or care leavers? 
(i) What skills, competencies and experience should staff have to successfully 
meet the needs of young people in custody? As a provider, how would you 
ensure that your workforce met these requirements? 
Closing the gap between custody and community 
54. A relatively small number of young offenders will receive long custodial 
sentences, but the vast majority receive shorter DTO sentences, with the 
average time spent in custody for DTOs being just over three months. 
55. However long a young person spends in custody, that period in their life 
must be integrated with the time after release, as well as drawing on 
learning and services they have had access to beforehand. It is particularly 
important that progress achieved in custody during the first half of a young 
person’s sentence is sustained on the outside during the second half, but 
too often it is lost as a result of poor resettlement. We need to change this. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
56. We believe that there is considerable scope for innovation in the transition 
between custody and community. A Secure College that looks both 
inwards to young people in custody and outwards to young people in the 
community might provide opportunities to share expertise and resources, 
as well as better integrating with the work of YOTs and increasing the 
continuity between custody and community that is not being achieved at 
present. Given the type of young people in custody, direct links with 
mainstream schools may not be appropriate, but there may be potential for 
exploring models similar to the best Pupil Referral Units, or partnerships 
with existing alternative or specialist education provision in the community, 
including boarding schools. Alternatively, by using intensive and rapid 
learning techniques, it may be possible to achieve transferable 
qualifications explicitly tied to a place at a local college or an 
apprenticeship on release. 
57. For many young offenders, custody represents an unprecedented 
exposure to the boundaries that most of us have taken for granted since 
early childhood. An immediate cut-off from this on release may well 
contribute to early reoffending. A degree of continuity, therefore, in a 
structured environment as well as in education provision, is important as it 
will likely prevent young people from being set up to fail when their time in 
custody ends. Families and carers have an important and constructive role 
to play here, both while a young person is in custody and in supporting 
them after release. 
58. When young offenders are eligible for release, new technologies such as 
GPS electronic monitoring can help to provide structure and incentives to 
promote sustained rehabilitation. Non-secure residential facilities, co-located 
with Secure Colleges, could also play a part. If feasible and affordable ideas 
are put forward that recognise the potential advantages of a gradual 
transition to the community, we would be interested in exploring these. 
59. We are open to considering changes to the way the DTO sentence 
operates if it is insufficiently flexible to deliver promising proposals and 
foster stronger links between custodial and community provision. In 
particular, we want to hear views on how different lengths of time in 
custody impact on the education and training outcomes that can be 
achieved with young people, and how links with new or existing education 
provision in the community might offer opportunities to continue progress 
begun in custody. Links may be achieved with providers who are already 
delivering services for local authorities. 
60. For those young people that end up in custody, we must use this chance 
to achieve change. But the time spent outside custody is also critical if we 
are to have a real impact. Both inside and out, a young person may access 
a whole range of services that could make a real difference to their lives. 
But too often we do not create the right incentives to achieve sufficient join 
up between them, and young people can miss out on the vital support they 
need to successfully re-enter the community. We need to strike the most 
effective balance between meeting national objectives – to improve 
education and reoffending outcomes while driving down costs and meeting 

link to page 25 Transforming Youth Custody 
demand – and integrating with existing education and wider services 
locally. We would welcome views on creating the right incentives and 
accountabilities for central government, custodial providers, YOTs and 
children services, as well as the wider range of local partners, to achieve this. 
Consultation questions: 
(j) How would your model of a Secure College support young people leaving 
custody to get placements in education, training or employment on release 
and support them to maintain this engagement? 
(k) More broadly, how would your model of a Secure College support greater 
co-operation between or integration of custodial and community services? 
(l) What scope is there for education provision in a Secure College to be 
continued when a young person is released from custody, and does the 
current legislative and policy framework provide sufficient flexibility? 
(m) How long is required to achieve tangible progress with groups of young 
people in custody, and between custody and community? 
(n) What incentives or accountabilities could be put in place to promote 
custodial and community services to work effectively in partnership before, 
during and after a young person is in custody, with the aim of securing 
improved longer-term outcomes? 
(o) How can we design our approach to ensure that the widest range of 
providers with relevant experience can participate? 
The physical environment and meeting demand 
61. Providers and stakeholders are encouraged to consider the most 
appropriate physical environment for delivering intensive education 
combined with a period of detention that will cut reoffending, protect the 
public, and reduce costs. 
62. We will not forget that a custodial sentence is a punishment, and often 
essential for the protection of the public.  The physical environment and 
regime should reflect that, and there must be appropriate levels of security. 
However, we are also dealing with young people who may be vulnerable and 
who can often have complex problems, so the environment should not be 
intimidating and must be conducive to effective education and rehabilitation. 
63. The Ministry of Justice has a considerable estate of youth custodial 
establishments, currently comprising 11 under-18 YOIsix and four STCs. 
In addition, local authorities have a network of SCHs. We would be keen to 
hear how providers might make use of or adapt these facilities in 
developing their proposal for a Secure College. Equally, if providers felt 
ix  This number will reduce to 10 YOIs when Ashfield YOI is re-roled to an adult prison, as announced on 
10 January 2013. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
that their vision of a Secure College required a very different physical 
environment, we are open-minded and prepared to listen to what this 
might be, how it might be delivered and at what estimated cost. 
64. The youth custodial estate serves the whole of England and Wales, and a 
network of Secure Colleges will need to meet the overall demand for 
custody, while recognising the concentrated demand in particular areas 
(London, the West Midlands, the North West, and Yorkshire2) and the 
need to serve effectively the regions of England and Wales. 
65. There is some evidence to suggest that supportive and positive 
relationships with family may help some offenders to desist from further 
offending13. Equally, for some young people family relationships and wider 
support networks in their home community are critical to supporting both 
positive outcomes in custody and effective resettlement after release and 
pursuit of a law-abiding life. We have to find ways of maintaining these 
links, but with the youth custodial population falling, maintaining an estate 
which effectively services the whole of England and Wales presents a 
challenge, and will likely continue to do so. That said, for other young 
offenders a period of time away from disruptive influences can be crucial to 
achieve sustained change. Providers are therefore encouraged to find 
imaginative ways to overcome these competing issues, while no doubt 
considering the impact of economies of scale on reducing cost. 
66. In responding to this challenge, we will need to take account of the 
different position in Wales where education provision and most of the 
children services that resettle young people and provide ongoing support 
are devolved. 
Consultation questions: 
(p) How many young people should be held in an individual Secure College? 
(q) Where should Secure Colleges be located, and how might a network of 
such establishments that served England and Wales be configured? How 
would you manage the impact this might have on family and community links? 
(r) What physical environment might be required? How and to what extent 
could such a model be implemented within the existing youth secure estate? 
(s) What are the key ways in which the costs of youth custodial provision can 
be driven down, recognising the constraints on public finances and the need 
to make significant savings? 
(t) If you have a proposed model, what is your estimate of how much it might 
cost to (i) set up and prepare for opening, and (ii) operate? 
(u) If the physical environment envisaged by your proposed model could not 
be delivered within the existing youth secure estate, what would be the 
estimated cost of securing new facilities and how might this be funded? 

Transforming Youth Custody 
A focus on outcomes 
67. We are clear that youth custody must do things differently if young 
offenders are to learn to go straight and improve their educational 
outcomes. However, we do not wish to prescribe how providers might 
achieve this. The reforms in education have shown that if providers are 
given freedom and flexibility to develop approaches tailored to the children 
who will benefit from the service, then innovation and improved outcomes 
will follow. We want to foster the same radical thinking from providers and 
stakeholders in relation to youth custody. 
68. Our reform of adult rehabilitation includes a strong focus on paying 
providers by results. We want to consider how we might apply aspects of 
that approach here, though we recognise there are some challenges, due 
to small numbers and a lack of historical data on educational 
achievements. We would like to invite providers to submit proposals on 
how we can pay them for achieving better educational outcomes. It might 
be that these are basic qualifications, for instance in literacy, numeracy, or 
more vocational skills valued by employers such as those in catering or 
ICT. In all cases the aim should be achievement or progress towards the 
same standards set for all mainstream pupils. We also want to consider 
how we can best create incentives and assess custody providers’ 
contribution to reducing reoffending. Time might be short in custody, so we 
recognise that there is a limit to what can be achieved. But we do believe a 
focus on results is critical to driving change and we want to hear views on 
what could be expected, measured and used as the basis for a payment 
by results programme. 
Consultation questions: 
(v) How can tangible educational progress for different segments of the young 
people in custody best be measured, including by qualifications? 
(w) How might a payment by results or incentive approach apply to a Secure 
College, and what outcomes should it focus on? 

Transforming Youth Custody 
6. Helping to deliver our vision 
69. Our vision for Secure Colleges places education at the heart of youth 
custody, with young people being punished but also learning to take 
responsibility, to improve their skills, and to lead productive, law-abiding 
lives. We are setting the policy objective and are inviting ideas on how to 
deliver this vision. 
70. There are few parameters, and plenty of scope for innovation. We are 
clear that we need to improve education and reoffending outcomes, and 
reduce costs. We are clear too that young people need to be held safely in 
secure conditions in an environment that reflects different needs in terms 
of age, sex, education and skills, emotional and physical wellbeing. But we 
are also clear that young offenders are sentenced to custody as a 
punishment and for the protection of the public, so education with 
detention is what we want to see. 
71. We have set out the opportunities provided by the DTO sentence, and the 
importance we attach to the transition between custody and community. We 
have highlighted our interest in innovative approaches that link secure and 
non-secure provision while sustaining structure for young people. Where 
respondents tell us that the constraints of the youth justice system and the 
legal and policy frameworks represent barriers to change, we will look at 
these. At all times, we must consider what is affordable and feasible, 
delivering better outcomes and improved value for taxpayers’ money. 
For all respondents 
72. This consultation seeks views from staff in youth custodial establishments, 
service providers in justice, education, detention and security, health, 
children services and wider social services, the judiciary, voluntary and 
community organisations and all those with an interest in young people. 
We are producing a young person’s version of this consultation which will 
be available on the Ministry of Justice website, and we will seek to consult 
directly with young people in custody. We also invite members of the 
public to respond. 
73. We list below all the consultation questions on which we would welcome 
responses. These are also included in text boxes throughout Chapter 5 
(‘Our vision for reform’). All respondents are welcome to provide views on 
any of these questions. We are also particularly keen to hear from 
providers about how you would help us deliver this vision. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
Existing and potential providers 
74. The Government believes that the public, private and voluntary sectors all 
have a major contribution to make both to the conversation and to 
delivering our vision for Secure Colleges. We would like existing and 
potential providers responding to the consultation to consider how a model 
of a Secure College would serve the demand for youth custody in England 
and Wales, including where they might be located and the optimum size of 
such establishments. 
75. Some organisations might choose to develop a proposition for the entire 
youth secure estate, while others might focus only on what an individual 
Secure College might look like. We will be interested to receive responses 
on both. Equally, some might wish to provide ideas on one aspect of 
provision. Others might feel that they can (either on their own or in 
partnership) provide all aspects. And in thinking about the physical 
environment of a Secure College, responses should consider the extent to 
which a model might make use of our existing youth custodial estate 
(whether as it is now or with some modification) or other existing facilities 
not currently used for this purpose, or whether new facilities may be 
required, and how affordable this would be. 
76. Ideally, we would like interested parties to develop propositions of their 
vision for implementing Secure Colleges. Some may choose to do this in 
the form of an outline proposal which responds to our consultation 
questions and describes: 
  their model for a Secure College, or the services they would provide 
within a Secure College; 
  how they would implement our vision; 
  the outcomes they would deliver; and 
  indicative and provisional estimates of what this might cost. 
77. We are prepared to listen to radically different approaches provided that 
they meet our twin challenges of improving outcomes (education and 
reoffending) and driving down cost. 
78. If responses to this consultation demonstrate that there is innovation and 
capability in the market to improve outcomes and reduce cost then we will 
refine our vision and seek to move quickly towards commissioning and 
competition for a new form of youth custody. We will decide in doing so on 
the scale and nature of any competitions we wish to run. 
79. We will be unable to treat any consultation responses, including proposals, 
as confidential. We reserve the right to use anything submitted to inform 
our requirements and future competition. 

Transforming Youth Custody 
7. Consultation questions 
All consultation questions – for all respondents and providers 
Tailoring education to young people in custody 
(a)  How should we best engage young people in custody (both sentenced and 
remanded) in education and training? What evidence is there of different 
approaches that work well? 
(b)  How would you segment the young people in custody to deliver education 
and training? 
(c)  How might the educational balance in Secure Colleges best be struck 
between basic skills (literacy, numeracy, etc.), traditional academic 
subjects, vocational learning and wider life skills such as self-respect 
and self-control, communication and teamwork? 
(d)  How can we best meet the needs of young people with learning 
disabilities, special educational needs or mental health needs, and how 
might Education, Health and Care Plans be used to ensure appropriate 
special educational provision is in place? 
Meeting the wider needs of young people in custody 
(e)  How would young people best be kept safe and secure in your model of 
a Secure College? 
(f)  How should we best approach the particular challenges of a group of 
young people in custody (such as, the youngest, the most vulnerable, the 
most dangerous and most disruptive) and ensure their needs are met? 
Could this group be managed within your model of a Secure College? 
(g)  What are the other key services you would deliver, or establish 
partnerships with, within a Secure College both to support the provision 
of high quality education to young people in custody and to prevent them 
from offending on release? 
(h)  How can we best meet the needs of young people in custody who are 
looked after children or care leavers? 
(i)  What skills, competencies and experience should staff have to 
successfully meet the needs of young people in custody? As a provider, 
how would you ensure that your workforce met these requirements? 
Closing the gap between custody and community 
(j)  How would your model of a Secure College support young people leaving 
custody to get placements in education, training or employment on 
release and support them to maintain this engagement? 
(k)  More broadly, how would your model of a Secure College support greater 
co-operation between or integration of custodial and community services? 

Transforming Youth Custody 
(l)  What scope is there for education provision in a Secure College to be 
continued when a young person is released from custody, and does the 
current legislative and policy framework provide sufficient flexibility? 
(m) How long is required to achieve tangible progress with groups of young 
people in custody, and between custody and community? 
(n)  What incentives or accountabilities could be put in place to promote 
custodial and community services to work effectively in partnership 
before, during and after a young person is in custody, with the aim of 
securing improved longer-term outcomes? 
(o)  How can we design our approach to ensure that the widest range of 
providers with relevant experience can participate? 
The physical environment and meeting demand 
(p)  How many young people should be held in an individual Secure College? 
(q)  Where should Secure Colleges be located, and how might a network of 
such establishments that served England and Wales be configured? How 
would you manage the impact this might have on family and community 
(r)  What physical environment might be required? How and to what extent 
could such a model be implemented within the existing youth secure 
(s)  What are the key ways in which the costs of youth custodial provision can 
be driven down, recognising the constraints on public finances and the 
need to make significant savings? 
(t)  If you have a proposed model, what is your estimate of how much it might 
cost to (i) set up and prepare for opening, and (ii) operate? 
(u)  If the physical environment envisaged by your proposed model could not 
be delivered within the existing youth secure estate, what would be the 
estimated cost of securing new facilities and how might this be funded? 
A focus on outcomes 
(v)  How can tangible educational progress for different segments of the 
young people in custody best be measured, including by qualifications? 
(w) How might a payment by results or incentive approach apply to a Secure 
College, and what outcomes should it focus on? 
Equality and diversity 
(x)  What are the likely impacts of our proposals on groups with protected 
characteristics? Please let us have any examples, case studies, 
research or other types of evidence to support your views. 
Additional comments 
(y)  Do you have any further comments on our proposals in this document 
for transforming youth custody? 

Transforming Youth Custody 
1. Office for National Statistics (2013) Crime in England and Wales, Year 
Ending September 2012
Statistical Bulletin. Office for National Statistics. 
2. Youth Justice Board/ Ministry of Justice (2013) Youth Justice Statistics 
(2011/12) England and Wales
. London: Youth Justice Board/Ministry of 
3. Ministry of Justice (2013) Proven Re-offending Statistics Quarterly Bulletin 
April 2010 to March 2011, England and Wales
. London: Ministry of Justice. 
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