Reattaching social bonds with young offenders through their engagement in alternative education programmes

Dawes, Glenn (2018) Reattaching social bonds with young offenders through their engagement in alternative education programmes. In: [Presented at Turkey's Century and Future International Symposium on Youth]. pp. 217-229. From: Türkiye'nin Yüzyılı ve Geleceği Uluslararası Gençlik Sempozyumu [Turkey's Century and Future International Symposium on Youth], 4-5 October 2018, Instanbul, Turkey.

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Young people who have interactions with the juvenile justice system in Australia are often viewed as having a lack of attachment or weak social bonds with institutions such as education. Research indicates that a lack of attachment and low levels of achievement in education increases the risks of young people re-offending which limits their life chances (Agnew and Brezina, 1997; Agnew et. Al., 2002; Sprott, Jenkins and Doob, 2005). For those who are incarcerated in youth detention centres re-entering the traditional education system is often problematic due to factors such as a low self-esteem, limited literacy and numeracy levels, low teacher expectations and family dysfunction (Dawes, 2011).

International research indicates there are many varied programmes for young offenders that focus on education (Griffiths et al., 2007; Greenwood, 2008). Educational achievement and re-engagement are therefore seen as vital in the mitigation of the risk of young people offending and re-offending. Furthermore, education is also seen as a protective factor for young offenders, as it encourages their successful reintegration back into mainstream society (Altschuler and Brash 2004). Alternative education programmes are therefore imperative in the ongoing attempt to prevent recidivism (reoffending) and increase young people’s attachment to education. This paper focuses on the outcomes of an evaluation of one community based alternative education programme for young offenders who were released from detention. The Burragah Alternative Education programme will be described in the words of young people who were interviewed as part of this two year research study to gain their perceptions of "what worked" for them in terms of desisting from crime and re-engaging back into learning in preparation for employment or further training.

Research Statement

Research Background A high proportion of young people who have interactions with the juvenile justice system disengage from mainstream education and often return to the criminal justice system. There is a need for alternative forms of education so that young people can re-engage and continue with education or training to desist from further criminal activity.
Research Contribution This research contributes to the growing volume of "what works" for young offenders in assisting them to desist from crime. The research utilises Hirschis four elements of social bond theory to identify how the curriculum of alternative schools assist young offenders to re-engage with education as well as employment options.
Research Significance The research is significant as it is the only report conducted by an independent evaluator who critically analysed the impacts of the curriculum of the Burragah alternative school as well as teacher characteristics which assist young offenders from desisting from further crime. A number of key recommendations from the report were adopted by the staff to further strengthen the curriculum and teacher practices.
Item ID: 57863
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
ISBN: 978-605-86292-8-8
Keywords: youth, education , life, crime, social bonds
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 00:35
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1602 Criminology > 160201 Causes and Prevention of Crime @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930599 Education and Training Systems not elsewhere classified @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940408 Rehabilitation and Correctional Services @ 50%
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