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Young Offenders: Learning Disability

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the proportion of young offenders who have significant communication difficulties which prevent them from engaging in educational programmes. [172959]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.

This information is not available centrally.

Research conducted by Professor Karen Bryan in partnership with HM Prison Service (University of Surrey 2004) found that 60 per cent. of young offenders screened on entering custody were identified as having difficulties with speech, language and communication.

All young offenders receive health screening on reception into prison and in addition will be screened
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for their educational needs. A general learning needs induction and assessment process is used to help identify learning difficulties and disabilities. As part of this process, education staff are expected to identify concerns about a prisoner’s speech and language capability. Where such problems are identified, either as a result of the health screen or the education screen, a referral to an appropriate health professional would be expected.

All young people in custody are required by the Youth Justice Board to participate in education and training. Teaching professionals work with young offenders in small classes to help ensure they receive education which meets their personal needs. Special educational needs coordinators are employed in each young offender institution to assist in meeting the personal needs of young people and to help them get the most from their education in custody.

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