University of Tasmania

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Educational Transition from Custody: Final report

posted on 2023-05-25, 05:09 authored by MacDonald, F, Kitty te RieleKitty te Riele, White, J, Corcoran, T, Moylan, P, Baker, A, Abdul Manan, R

Overview: 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. Research has established a strong link between disengagement with education and contact with the youth justice system.

Young people who receive custodial sentences tend to have poor outcomes, with few completing secondary school education or advancing to further education. On the other hand, contact with the custodial youth justice system provides young people with a timely opportunity to reconnect with education and to be supported to make positive plans for future study and work.

This study: The purpose of this study was to examine how young people leaving custody in Victoria’s youth justice system can be supported to successfully re-connect with education. The overarching research question guiding the study is:

How can young Victorians be assisted by the Department of Education and Training (DET) to maximise the likelihood of successful educational transition after their release from custody?

The study design involved detailed analysis of:

  • Data and policy provided by DET;
  • Consultation seminars with DET personnel;
  • Interviews with Principals;
  • Surveys of DET staff;
  • Guides for transition planning;
  • International literature.

Findings: The main body of the report discusses findings from that analysis in terms of the existing evidence base, current practice in the Victorian Department of Education, and suggested changes and enhancement, in relation to:

  • Stages of entry to and while in custody; pre- and post-placement support; and throughout all stages.
  • Enablers of successful educational transition from custody, in relation to staff roles and responsibilities; information and communication; and programs directly supporting young people.

Conclusions: Synthesis of findings across these stages and enablers established three overarching conclusions:

  • 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.
  • Successful transition to education requires a statewide coordinated system of support and collaboration between units within the Department and with other agencies to help to overcome fragmentation, duplication and gaps.
  • The 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.


Victoria University


Commissioning body

Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities




Peter Underwood Centre


Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities

Place of publication

Victoria, Australia

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Equity and access to education; Rehabilitation and correctional services

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