Ministers have confirmed plans to build the first “secure college”, ready in 2017, for young offenders in England and Wales.
The secure college is to be built in Leicestershire and will house up to 320 youths aged between 12 and 17. The college will focus solely on the rehabilitation of the offenders doubling the number of hours they must spend in the classroom, from 12 to 24 hours a week. This is to try and help cut high re-offending rates.
The college will be run by a headteacher rather than a prison governor.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: “If we want to stop prisons being colleges of crime, we have to teach these kids how to do something else.
“The Coalition has reduced the number of young people in custody but re-offending is sky high in this country and the answer lies in education and opportunity to change.
“Some young offenders spend less than one school day a week in the classroom. By increasing the amount of time young offenders spend learning, we can help them to move away from crime, take responsibility for their actions, and rebuild their lives.”
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary, said: “Nearly three-quarters of young offenders who leave custody reoffend within a year. Clearly the system as it is at the moment isn’t working.
“It’s right that the most serious or persistent young offenders face custody but we must use this time to tackle the root cause of their offending and give them the skills and self-discipline they need to gain employment or training upon release.”