Jordan Gordon-Harris has won an Amnesty International award for his report on young offenders which was inspired by the work of his aunt, Paulette Howard, who leads the National Careers Service In Custody team in London.
The 12 year old, from Woodford Green in London, won the Young Human Rights lower secondary reporter category at a recent awards ceremony in Shoreditch, hosted by BBC radio DJ Nick Bright. The Amnesty International Youth Awards received more than 5,500 entries from 200 schools across the UK.
Jordan was inspired by his aunt and his report, Wasted Lives, makes the case for reforming the prison system, which he thinks often disadvantages young people.
In the report, Jordan writes:
'When you think about a young criminal what is the first thing that comes to mind?
“Bad person! Dangerous - stay well away!”
They are no longer a person but demonised. I often wonder how they arrived at this situation.
18-25 year-olds make up one in ten of the UK population, but they account for a staggering third of those sent to prison each year.
Why are so many young people being sent to prison? If we try to speak to young offenders we might learn the reasons why they commit crime.'
Paulette said: “I feel so proud of Jordan, and I can’t believe that he wanted to write about the area in which I work. Like him, I want to help young people who have made the wrong decisions transform their lives for the better.”
Janice Pigott, Regional Director for the National Careers Service London, said: “It’s wonderful to hear how Paulette has inspired her nephew, and well done to Jordan for winning such a prestigious award. Paulette – along with her colleagues – is providing a crucial service for offenders in London. The National Careers Service helps them build a better future and break the cycle of reoffending.”
Prospects provides the National Careers Service In Custody to offenders in all prisons and Young Offenders Institutions in London, the South West, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber. Prospects in custody services increase opportunities for offenders, helping them access support and tackle their barriers to employment, working closely with many other agencies, the voluntary sector and Jobcentre Plus. Our team of expert advisers supports offenders through to resettlement and on release.
Since March 2015 Prospects has provided education for all young people in Feltham Young Offenders Institution (YOI). In addition to placing more emphasis on education for young offenders, the new contract will increase the number of hours a young person in custody spends in education each week, and help break the cycle of reoffending.
Prospects also works extensively across the country to prevent young people entering the Criminal Justice System through our targeted youth support services.