New insight sheds light on the impact of the Award in Correctional Facilities

Published: 15 Dec 2017

Impact of the Award in correctional facilities

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is designed to equip young people for life, whatever their background, experience or ability. And since as early as 1957, the Award has provided a platform to help to empower young people in correctional facilities to learn, develop and transform their futures. 

This work continues today in around 150 correctional facilities across the world, in countries such as Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.

Research and experience shows that the Award can have a great impact on young people in correctional facilities; offering a holistic and effective intervention at an early age. Transitioning into adulthood can be incredibly challenging for all young people – not least of which, those in correctional facilities, who are often firmly immersed in lifestyles characterised by negative socialisation and stigma - but the Award can offer a positive and purposeful intervention to help break this pattern.

By enabling young people to challenge themselves and develop their skills across a range of sections, the Award can support the development of life skills and empower and inspire young offenders, staff and institutions alike.

Now, a new body of research emphasises this even further.

Helping to positively impact the lives of young offenders worldwide

The research suggests that the life skills gained through the Award can address both the socialisation and stigma associated with time spent in correctional facilities.

In terms of socialisation, the Award can give young offenders access to ‘new social worlds’ by creating opportunities to interact with other offenders, staff and people outside of the usual boundaries of the correctional facility.

Further, because of the international scope of the Award and as it sits independently of the justice system, it doesn’t come with any stigma which may traditionally be associated with a correctional re-education programme.

Once young offenders start the Award they have been found to benefit in four key areas: giving back, increased health and wellbeing, employability and accessing new social worlds. You can find more detail on these in our full report ‘The Award in Correctional Facilities’.

How the Award can benefit staff and institutions

The Award is also found to benefit the staff of correctional facilities, who experienced improved relationships with the young offenders, better work attitudes, and more opportunities for positive media coverage.

Positive news stories about crime and young offenders can be rare, but working with the Award can give institutions an opportunity to tell stories of how interventions can and do work. An example of this is the recent media story from the Award in New Zealand, where a young offender became the first to achieve a Gold Award whilst in prison.

More information

To find out more about how the Award can be implemented in correctional facilities, please read the full paper ‘The Award in Correctional Facilities’, or get in touch with one of the National Award Operators mentioned above.