Employment Training For Young Offenders In Dorset Institution
Portland, a young offenders’ institution in Dorset, UK, has been commended for its aim to re-train all youth in education to minimise their chance of re-offending. Portland, a borstal that holds men aged from 18 to 21 years, has said that they want to steer offenders on the right path by offering them the chance to study a range of courses that will give them a greater chance of employment. Courses that currently run at the institution range from layering bricks to horticulture.
The Howard League for Penal Reform has recognised the centre’s work to help reduce re-offending. Deputy Governor of Portland, Steve Hodson, backed up the League’s view, commenting that he is convinced that they will experience good results shortly as he believes that education and training reduce re-offending. Spokesman for the League, Andrew Neilson, added that Portland’s training opportunities were a refreshing change as many inmates spend their time in prison doing nothing. The figure for young people out of work currently stands at 1 million so offenders need training to stand any kind of chance in the outside world of employment.
The workforce at Portland have commented on the change that they have seen over the past twenty years. Head of security at Portland, Matt Shepherd, said that offenders now leave prison with newly gained skills and a freshly instilled work ethic. However twenty years ago there would have been a higher chance of people leaving prison to re-offend or to get a minimum wage job.
Young offenders in Portland have responded favourably to the opportunity of gaining qualifications, making it easier for them to find work. It has also been reported that the Ministry of Justice has stressed the point that once criminals are released, they should be reformed characters and not simply returning back to crime.
Portland’s training opportunities for offenders comes after Boris Johnson’s scheme to cut youth re-offending. The London Mayor’s scheme used £3 million of public money to help 220 of Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution inmates back into education and employment. The charity Rathbone employed ‘resettlement brokers’ to help offenders back into education. However only one in six inmates remained in education, training or employment for the target of six months.
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