Julian Huppert MP: Another promise kept – Nick Clegg announces more than doubling of young offenders’ education time

If people are to be in jail, one of our priorities is to make sure that when they leave prison, they won’t come back. We realise that the best way to do this isn’t about draconian sentencing; it’s about providing people with skills. That’s why in our 2010 manifesto we said that we’d increase the number of hours prisoners spend in education and training.

Today, we’ve achieved another goal – Nick Clegg has announced that through a new system of Secure Colleges, young offenders will see the time they spend in education more than doubled.

This really matters. At any one time there are about 1,000 young people in youth custody across Britain. Unfortunately, as things currently stand the majority of them will reoffend within a year of leaving custody. In most cases this is because they feel that they have no other option. They may have had a bad start in life but it is our job to give them a second chance.

But, by giving them the education, qualifications, skills, training and perhaps above all the confidence in themselves, we can change this. Matched with proposals that are already going through Parliament, which will for the first time see offenders serving sentences of less than 12 months being offered supervision and support through the gates, we can bring reoffending down and help offenders turn their back on crime once and for all.

We are the only party that takes real action on crime instead of just talking tough. As Nick Clegg said, yes we need to punish people when they do wrong but we also need to help them improve themselves and reform their lives.

Our record in Government shows that we are committed to doing what works and delivering real change. Now with our former Justice Minister, Tom McNally taking up the chair at the Youth Justice Board I am sure we will continue to build on our successes both inside and out.

* Julian Huppert was the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge from 2010-15

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5 Comments

  • That’ll teach ’em !

  • Billy Boulton 18th Jan '14 - 10:17pm

    OK I admit I haven’t studied the details but at first glance this sounds like a very positive initiative and one that is unlikely to have happened without Lib Dems in Government. More like this please!

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 20th Jan '14 - 1:57pm

    Fyodor Dostoevsky reportedly once said:

    “You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners.”

    Thankfully Liberal Democrats think the same. Research tends to indicate that people who go through some form of personal and career development whilst in prison are less likely to commit further offences and return.

  • Chris Manners 20th Jan '14 - 2:57pm

    “Thankfully Liberal Democrats think the same. Research tends to indicate that people who go through some form of personal and career development whilst in prison are less likely to commit further offences and return.”

    Per the Lib Dem manifesto, evidence showed that it would be better not to send lots of criminals to prison at all. There was, quite rightly, a presumption against short sentences. That’s probably the sort of thing that Clegg now calls “not serious politics”.

    Not saying this particular policy isn’t a decent achievement, but given that you aren’t prepared for the prison population to fall, and in the context of massive budget cuts, the chance of it being sustained without massive short cuts being taken elsewhere, is the square root of not very much.

  • Chris Manners 20th Jan '14 - 3:07pm

    ” proposals that are already going through Parliament, which will for the first time see offenders serving sentences of less than 12 months being offered supervision and support through the gates”

    From reading this, you’d think that the Lib Dems were in the process of inventing the Probation Service.
    In fact, they’re in the process of shattering it, and creating a system of payment by results that’s full of basic conflicts of interest. Most glaringly, the probation provider will be incentivised not to recall to prison a charge who is behaving in a worrying way. We’ll also have in some areas probation providers considering recall to prisons run by themselves or a commercial rival.

    Another Lib Dem promise kept!

    You think people are going to cut you slack that, having driven the criminal justice system in a totally different direction to what your supporters expect, that they then applaud you for achieving one of your promises within that system?

    No chance.

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