Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution

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Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution (or HMYOI) is a type of prison in England and Wales, intended for offenders aged between 18 and 20,[1] although some prisons (particularly Ashfield[2] and Huntercombe[3]) cater for younger offenders from ages 15 to 17, who are classed as juvenile offenders.[4] Typically those aged under 15 will be held in a Secure Children's Home and those over 15 will be held in either a Young Offender Institution or Secure Training Centre.[5] Generally a young offender is regarded as such until the date of their 21st or 22nd birthday, whereupon he or she will be sent to an adult prison or can remain in the YOI until they turn 22 if deemed appropriate.


Young Offender Institutions were introduced under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, but special centres for housing young offenders have existed since the beginning of the 20th century, with the first borstal being opened at Borstal, Kent in 1902.[6]

The regime of a Young Offender Institution is much the same as that of an adult prison. However, there are some slight differences, notably the lower staff to offender ratio. Prisoners serving sentences at Young Offender Institutions are expected to take part in at least 25 hours of education per week, which is aimed at helping them to improve their behaviour, to develop practical skills for use in the outside world and to prepare them for lawful employment following their release. There are also opportunities for prisoners to undertake work in Community Service Volunteer programmes.[7]

Violence is frequent in Young Offender Institutions, violence is against staff and against other innmates. Staff do not always do enough to prevent violence. Inmates are locked in cells for 21 hours a day leading to a bad mentality. Three quarters of offenders released reoffend within a year. It is felt inmates are locked up too long and given insufficient tuition or guidance.[8]

List of Young Offender Institutions[edit]

There were as of 2005 15 dedicated institutions:

and 22 which share their site with other penal establishments:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ministry of Justice". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Ashfield". HM Prison Service. Retrieved 13 January 2009. 
  3. ^ "Hunterscome". HM Prison Service. Retrieved 13 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Young people and custody". Directgov.co.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Ministry of Justice". Retrieved 13 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "Young Offender Institutions". Politics.co.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "Ashfield Young Offender Institution". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  8. ^ The terror of young offender institutions BBC