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Child first, offender second – a progressive model for education in custody

Case, S; Hazel, N

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S Case


Dis­en­gage­ment and poor ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment in ed­u­ca­tion are firmly es­tab­lished risk fac­tors for ju­ve­nile crime, lead­ing pol­i­cy­mak­ers to iden­tify ed­u­ca­tional pro­vi­sion in and af­ter cus­tody as a key path­way for ef­fec­tive reen­try (re­set­tle­ment). How­ever, al­though there is emerg­ing ev­i­dence that chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tional progress can re­duce re­cidi­vism, per­sis­tent is­sues have dogged the de­liv­ery of ed­u­ca­tion in cus­tody across the West­ern world. We iden­tify these is­sues as rooted in fun­da­men­tal weak­nesses of the risk par­a­digm that de­fines the re­la­tion­ship be­tween cus­to­dial ed­u­ca­tion and ju­ve­nile jus­tice out­comes, in par­tic­u­lar re­flect­ing the ab­sence of a co­gent the­ory of change. We pro­pose an al­ter­na­tive ‘Child First’ con­cep­tual frame­work for cus­to­dial ed­u­ca­tion that draws on the ‘Pos­i­tive Youth Jus­tice’ ap­proach in con­tem­po­rary youth jus­tice and adopts the de­vel­op­ment of chil­dren’s pro-so­cial iden­tity as its the­ory of change and key pur­pose. We ex­plore for the first-time what over­ar­ch­ing prin­ci­ples such an ap­proach might en­tail and test the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of its the­ory of change by us­ing it to rein­ter­pret ex­ist­ing good prac­tice mes­sages for cus­to­dial ed­u­ca­tion.There­fore, we pro­pose a thor­ough­go­ing eval­u­a­tion of cus­to­dial ed­u­ca­tion prac­tice through such a ‘Child First’ lens.


Case, S., & Hazel, N. (2020). Child first, offender second – a progressive model for education in custody. International Journal of Educational Development, 77, 102244.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 1, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 19, 2020
Publication Date Sep 1, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 16, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 19, 2022
Journal International Journal of Educational Development
Print ISSN 0738-0593
Publisher Elsevier
Volume 77
Pages 102244
Publisher URL
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