The purpose of this study was to examine how education operates for young people in Victoria who have been remanded into custody or who have received custodial sentences. The study aimed to identify how improvements could be made to further support education inside custody. It also investigated how education has the potential to assist young people to imagine positive futures for themselves and bring their plans to fruition.

This study was funded by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (2017–2019), and Parkville College partnered the research. This study is not an evaluation of Parkville College’s program but an investigation into how education operates to benefit young people inside custody.

The study was guided by three research questions:

  1. What enables and constrains participation in education in custody?
  2. How could educational connection for the longer-term be strengthened for young people in custody?
  3. How may education work as a protective factor for young people in the youth justice system?

The report discusses two interrelated sets of findings. Firstly, insight is offered into how Parkville College translates its philosophy into practices that foster learning. Secondly, the report outlines how education operates within the context of youth custodial settings in Victoria, including how the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) and Parkville College work together.

The research findings are grounded in the analysis of interviews with adults and young people, and data from Parkville College and from DJCS. The findings led to the identification of seven key issues that would further enhance education provision for young people in custody.

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