Cadet provision in YOI

So… Time for a Monday morning controversial debate.

What do people think about setting up cadet units in YOIs?
Obviously some of the syllabus would be a no go (shooting, flying trips), but I’ve seen how cadets can give young people confidence and self belief and can help turn people away from the wrong path.
This could then potentially lead on to life after release where they could transfer to a “normal” unit and have a community there for them rather than falling back in with the wrong crowd.
Obviously not all YOI residents would be suitable for safeguarding reasons but for rehab purposes i think there could be merit to providing some sort of cadet experience.

Not uncommon for US prison system for first time offender, but rather more strict than the UK. One documentary even atthe end of the time took the prisoners to the local mortuary toshow them the effects of violence on others.

i completely agree 100% cadets provides discipline and a place to be someone new. it would be so effective for the future generations.

Who would run them though? Imagine you’d struggle to find enough volunteers to set up effective units.

The route to the Young Offenders’ Institution is usually a long one with a significant contact with the law along the way before resort to a custodial sentence. The type of intervention you propose would seem more appropriate at an earlier stage, if the correct provision of support is in place. You might also experience resistance from parents to such a scheme. Ensuring the protection of their own children will trump altruism every time.

You correctly identify access to firearms as an issue but should bear in mind that under S21 of the Firearms Act, prohibition of access extends to 5 years following release if the sentence was a period of custody was 3 months or more.


I’d be too nervous the little rascal would try and start throwing punches when some re-education needs to take place


Self defence training would be fun for CFAV :wink:

I have a pace stick…I’ll use that :joy:


It’s waaaay too late by the time they reach YOI. It takes a fair amount of commitment to get sent there. A better point to start would be the Youth Offending Team (YOT)


Maybe before they get to the point of a YOI a good flogging for them and their parents may effect an attitude change.

The sensible way would be a CCF-type system (indeed, run it as a CCF) where the CFAVs are people already working in the YOIs.


That could make it difficult as HM prison officers are warrented as same police officers are, just their warrent is only active during duty hours unlike the police.

Imagine the extra security for CFAVs to jump through. Vetting for police and prison service is much more than a standard DBS. As said you would struggle to find CFAVs to run it effectively.

I imagine the vetting for YOI is the same for that of a prison.


YOT/YOS is a better starting point - but the kids need to want to be involved with the CF first. From my experiences, they don’t want to be. I’d also want some dialogue with YOT first - especially the higher risk ones! Half of the ones I work with have their own risk assessments - I’d want to be read into them!

At least in a YOI you could mandate it as an activity. The downside is they are often too far “lost” at that point.

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But shouldn’t YOI’s have such a scheme / method already in place to promote the inmates rehabilitation etc rather than looking to volunteer Cadet staff?

We often say how we are not social workers but seem to be heading more that way, but in fairness I don’t mind a little bit of it where needed, but Prison officer I am not, nor do I want to be.

And it should be entirely at the discretion of the Squadron OC, if they believe that individual would not be good for the Squadron, be it for whatever reason, then it ends there. I’m not against prohibiting these young people, but at the same time I don’t want to see all other Cadets and Staff in the Squadron either put at risk and or disadvantaged.

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Absolutely. However, it does raise some interesting questions around this (and other!) cohorts (LAC/CL, SEND etc) and information sharing between agencies and voluntary sector organisations. Not to mention training.

We’ve had YOT clients we’ve known about due to a proactive Officer who exercised exceptional diligence in ensuring we were in the loop. We’ve also had YOT clients we’ve accidentally found out about with no information coming through official channels incase we prejudiced them joining. I also know one who we knew nothing about until they were DBSd at 18 and their service was terminated due to what was found!

There are occasions when there are no risks. There are occasions where its massive. It needs to be managed accordingly - and appropriately - by BOTH teams.

One of the issues our YOT faces is the large number of clients who are going undetected and/or unreported, or where young people are under investigation for lengthy periods but discharged with no further action. It means they push boundaries more - be it frequency or severity or seriousness of offences before they are getting caught and/or charged. As a result we’re seeing fewer low level orders, with an increase it higher levels ones. They are entering Youth Justice system higher up, when behaviours are already well established and are harder to correct/fix/modify - those are the ones where, we maybe useful to “occupy” them earlier and stop behaviours being established. But few YOTs seem to have the money/resources to invest in a proper early intervention model.

However, from our local experience, the number of YOT clients we have involved in RAFAC or the broader CF is very small indeed. Most simply dont want to know.


Great explanation and information there Batfink, thanks. As you say, the whole situation does present big challenges, and indeed can bring huge rewards for society and individual, I would just want to make sure there were proper safeguards to ensure a Squadron that didnt have the Staff or environment to fully support and manage this weren’t forced upon, or felt obliged to help, after all ‘no’ can be a difficult answer to give in these situations.

You could try train up some of the older offenders (might work in some cases)