A recent report published by the UNESCO Children and Youth Programme entitled Reviewing the Provision of Education for Young People in Detention: Rights, Research and Reflections on Policy and Practice, examines the rights of young people in detention in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The central theme of the report regards education, access to which is a universal and unalienable right, and the inclusive status of education should not diminish in the setting of child detention.
The express aims of the study were to focus on a topical issue considered to affect the well-being of children and youth; examine the impact of selected policy and practice interventions on human rights and well-being; gain an understanding of the processes of implementation; share learning that will enable duty holders to better meet their commitments to children’s rights and improved well-being; share learning that will enable rights holders to claim their rights.
The conclusions drawn in this report are framed against the backdrop of human rights legislation - indicating policy pathways in relation to custodial education and the well-being of young people in prison.
The 5 key conclusions they identify are:
- 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.
- 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.
- Collaborative partnerships between places of custody and external education and training agencies are crucial to improve the re-integration of young people post custody.
- 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.
- 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.
Read the report here