The Irish Penal Reform Trust announced in May the release of Reviewing the Provision of Education for Young People in Detention, jointly written by the UNESCO Centre in Ulster, Northern Ireland, and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre in Galway,Ireland. The UNESCO offices of both nations have joined forces in the Children and Youth Programme, which examines the access to educational opportunities for detained youth throughout the island. Made up of the UNESCO chairs of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the CYP focuses on the academic study of children’s rights and best practices for providers.
(From the IPRT press release)
The 5 key conclusions they identify are:
1. The current arrangements for young people in custody in Ireland and Northern Ireland are falling short of the standards of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, United Nations rules and the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
2. Improved co-ordination and information sharing between government departments and key service providers which are critical to meet the rights and needs of young people in custody is required.
3. Collaborative partnerships between places of custody and external education and training agencies are crucial to improve the re-integration of young people post custody.
4. Data collection on young people in custody is underdeveloped, sparse and needs to be progressed to identify gaps and provide comprehensive data to inform educational outcomes and pathways for young people in custody.
5. Dedicated training of educational staff and development of pedagogical approaches are essential to realise the rights and educational needs of young people in custody, both to improve educational outcomes and decrease the possibility of re-offending.