Breaking down the pru-to-prison pipeline

Ray Douglas

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Ok, I want you to picture the following scenario; 

A few years ago I was delivering anti-youth violence enrichment session in a pupil referral unit to two pupils who get taxied in and out on the daily. There were no fewer than 9 members of staff sat at the back just in case it kicked off and the promise of a Mcdonalds for good behaviour.

However, things still kicked off.

With recent research stating that within inner-city London, 1 in 119 pupils are in a pupil referral unit as opposed to the national statistic of 1 in 196. This evidently shows that we have reached a crisis point that needs exploring; not only on how we reduce the numbers but also the levels of risk that come with being out of mention school.

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We all know there are some young people who simply can’t function within schools that have large numbers.


These schools themselves are not equipped with the intense support needed to support such students, especially for those that have conditions such as ADD & ADHD.


However, I recently delivered a citizenship day in a behaviour management school where every teacher had a radio. The majority of classroom doors were locked at lesson time and the pupils refer to the teachers on a first name basis. In this school, they even have a residential unit which allows some pupils to stay over two nights a week which offers respite to them and their families.

But what surprises me is that the school's academic success is measured in the same way as any other school. This is the case despite the fact that many of these pupils are coming from households that are complex and display high levels of ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences).

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It is alarming that approximately 61% of young people who have attended a Pru end up in prison. Even more so is the fact that the ever-increasing number of alternative school providers are now reaching full capacity. This, along with the recent high profile murders of young people that fell through the cap demands this industry to stop talking and start acting.

Pru to prison? Perhaps, from 'pru to prosperity' is the purpose after all...

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About our Community Expert

Raymond Douglas
Community Expert

Raymond Douglas is one of the UK’s leading thinkers and “doers” around working with at-risk pupils and young people. A prolific trainer and curriculum developer he has created numerous intervention programs tackling youth conflict & violence aiming to reduce the number of those at risk of life-threatening behaviour involving guns, gangs, knife crime & extremism.

Ray has been an approved trainer for governmental departments and currently delivers within schools colleges, universities and prisons. Ray has spoken at TEDx and has worked nationally and internationally training & advising schools and local authorities around reducing systemic youth violence.

Today his Minus Violence program reaches over 10,000 young people & pupils per year and 2019 see the release of his first book Gangs Kitchen.

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