Does keeping young offenders in the youth custody system violate their human rights?

Does keeping young offenders in the youth custody system violate their human rights?

Is placing young offenders in custody a good idea for both the youth themselves and the society?  Do you think this method actually helps them rehabilitate and prepare them to get back to the society? Two young offenders had been found dead in custody last month and this shows that youth custody is indeed a dangerous place for this group of youngsters to be in. It has been reported that in the UK, young people in custody often do not have the chance to learn what they wish to; or with the disorganised structure, students in custody often have to repeat the same courses more than once.  Very often, GCSE candidates find themselves are only educated up to primary school levels and thus could not sit for GCSE after they have been enrolled into the exam.  All these deter one from progressing further and hence hinder their employment opportunities in the future. On the other hand, young people in the British youth custody system are revealed to be abused while some have experienced mental health problems during their imprisonment.  It is saddening that when the public view the youth justice system to be the right place to ‘rescue’ young offenders, in reality, it serves as an unreliable and ineffective system which in turn exposes youngsters in danger, and sometimes, risking their lives. According to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989), every child has the right to life (Art. 6) and the right to education (Art. 28), this includes young people in custody.  In this regard, the UK is violating basic human rights when it...
The university dilemma: a defence of gap years (and some useful links)

The university dilemma: a defence of gap years (and some useful links)

What’s the first thing that comes to your head when you hear the phrase ‘gap year’? I went around my school to ask what sprung to mind when they hear the phrase ‘gap year’ and here are the most common responses: rejects, expensive, for rich people, failures, thrill seekers, going abroad, waste of time and volunteering. I also discovered many are reluctant to take a gap year primarily because of the expenses. Rising tuition fees and our economical state have deterred and scared many. More interestingly, students don’t see the point in gap years and think they are a waste of time. It also seems to me as if there is some stigma associated with gap years; students deciding to take a year out are often thought to be those who’ve failed their exams or has been rejected from their university choices. Being one of very few in my school who have decided to take a year out, I want to defend my decision and encourage people to think carefully about the pros and cons of gap years. I agree gap years can be very costly. But I stress the word ‘can ‘because it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. There are a range of bursaries and benefits that help those from a disadvantaged background and there are many ways to fundraise money to help cover the costs (if you are of course determined enough to). At the bottom of this article are some useful links for those who are thinking about taking a year out. When I told my family and friends about my decision, most were...

Calling young people to join the 99% campaign board

Thanks to the work of volunteer journalists on the blog, and everyone involved in the broader 99% Campaign, our efforts to challenge negative attitudes about young people have already gathered a great deal of momentum. We have run a high profile poster campaign on Tube and Overground stations around London, lobbied the Department for Education to include the 99% message in its Positive for Youth programme, and engaged over 600 young volunteers in the campaign. An important part of this campaign is that young people have a hand in decision making at every level, and contribute to decisions about our overall vision and strategy. With this in mind, we are now inviting energetic and creative young people – whether they are already part of the campaign or not – to form part of a refreshed “99% Campaign Board” that will make decisions about the campaign going forward. In practical terms, members of the Board will: Meet three times a year; Contribute to decisions about the 99% vision and objectives; Contribute to the planning and delivery of our annual workplan; Provide advice and direction in terms of the quality of the work of the 99%; Sign the 99% Pledge and help promote the 99% message in their own area of study/work; We are keen to encourage people to apply from all sectors of the community, regardless of your experience. What we are looking for is people that are: a) interested in challenging negative stereotypes about young people; b) enthusiastic and energetic; and c) creative, and able to contribute useful ideas. To apply, download the one-page application form, and send it to 99percentcampaign@iars.org.uk...
Unpaid internships do nothing to help social mobility

Unpaid internships do nothing to help social mobility

Last month NUS launched their campaign calling for an end to unpaid internships. The phenomenon of the ‘unpaid intern’ has recently flourished, at least partly fuelled by the challenging economic climate. These positions differ from those in schemes like ‘the New Deal’, as generally you are not eligible for Job Seekers Allowance whilst undertaking one. We have witnessed a vast increase in the number of unpaid positions advertised claiming to provide graduates with the vital experience they need in their chosen sector. The pressure on graduates to take these unpaid positions has been exacerbated by the tough job market they face however the current situation has been described by many as both exploitative and elitist.The industries where this seems to prevail are those where competition is high, for example the fashion industry and prestigious institutions such as Sotheby’s and the BBC who receive a very high volume of applications for each position. My own experience was in Parliament. Whilst undertaking some work experience for my local MP I was told that I was unlikely to get a paid position in Parliament unless I had worked full time for at least six months for free. Despite being very keen to follow this career path sadly neither I, nor my parents, were in a position to facilitate my working for free for any extended period of time. I fear that many graduates from less affluent backgrounds, as well as those already burdened with thousands of pounds of student debt, cannot afford to take advantage of these opportunities. Of course if you’re ‘lucky’ you might bag an internship that pays expenses, but without...