16th Reintegration Puzzle Conference

Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
1-3 June 2022

Changing Seasons,
Changing Lives

Supporting young people leaving custody to re-enter education outside the walls

Children and young people within the criminal justice system, especially those who have been sentenced or remanded into custody, face particular challenges in relation to accessing education. In Victoria, the education provided within the youth justice precincts is generally recognised as high quality by official reviews as well as by young people themselves. Nevertheless, transition to formal education on exit from custody is challenging.

Our project examined how young people leaving custody in Victoria’s youth justice system can be supported to successfully re-connect with formal education. The study drew on primary data collection from relevant staff, secondary data and policies from the Victorian Department of Education, and guides for transition planning.

The findings highlighted three enablers of successful educational transition from custody: staff roles and responsibilities; information and communication; and programs directly supporting young people. Across these three enablers, the overall conclusions from the project are that:
1. The timeline of planning for and supporting successful transition for custody needs to commence early (on entry) and continue well beyond enrolment of the young person in an educational institution.
2. Successful transition to education requires a state-wide coordinated system of support and collaboration to help overcome fragmentation, duplication and gaps.
3. Young people are the fundamental stakeholder throughout the transition process. They must be given every opportunity to be actively involved in planning and implementing their own transition to education after custody.

Presenters

Tim Corcoran
Deakin University

Tim Corcoran practiced for a decade as a Psychologist in two Queensland government departments (Education and Corrective Services). His work has involved teaching, research and professional practice in Australia, the UK and Singapore.  His research challenges ableism in local, national and international education policy and practice by creating theory~practice options supporting psychosocial ways of knowing/being. Tim is currently Associate Professor (Inclusive Education), School of Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. To contact: @TimCorcoran10 or tim.corcoran@deakin.edu.au

Fiona MacDonald
Senior Research Fellow
, Victoria University

Fiona MacDonald, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities at Victoria University in Melbourne. Her research focus is on inclusive education and social justice and investigates how children and young people negotiate a sense of belonging and identity in their local, everyday lives,

Tim Corcoran
Associate Professor in Inclusive Education
, Deakin University

Tim Corcoran (PhD) is Associate Professor in Inclusive Education at the School of Education, Deakin University (Australia). He also leads the Inclusive Education Teaching and Research Group for the School. His main areas of research are educational psychology and inclusive education.

Alison Baker
Associate Professor in Youth and Community Studies
, Victoria University

Alison Baker, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Youth and Community Studies in the College of Arts and Education at Victoria University in Melbourne. Her research focuses on the how inequality impacts young people from marginalised backgrounds, specifically on social identities, sense of belonging and the development of voice and activism. Alison’s research mobilizes creative and participatory research methodologies to explore and foster young people's sense of social justice and capacity for action.

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