Charity Advising Australia About Improving Youth Custodial Centres

Diagrama Foundation is working closely with an Australian Government Agency to demonstrate how their unique juvenile programme is improving the outcome for young offenders in Spain.

Diagrama Chief Executive David McGuire is working closely with an Australian Government Agency to show them the successful Spanish blueprint for alternative juvenile detention which has flipped youth recidivism rates. In Diagrama custodial centres an incredible 84% of those who leave integrate back into the community without reoffending.

McGuire knows the figures in Spain are impressive compared with published results* from other countries because young offenders leave Diagrama youth re-educational custodial centres with important skills and a positive attitude, when they rejoin the community.  *See Notes to Editors

Advocate for better custodial care for youth offenders, David McGuire has seen firsthand the success of the Spanish ‘re-education’ system that he implemented with the charity Fundacion Diagrama. Now CEO of Diagrama Foundation, the UK arm of the charity, Mr McGuire tirelessly campaigns  for changes and improvements to youth custody.

Mr McGuire was invited to Australia in 2018 and 2019 to look around Juvenile Justice Centres in Darwin, Alice Springs, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and was stunned by what he saw. “They were just horrible, run like prisons, which is not going to change anything for these kids.”

This year, Mr McGuire took an Australian government contingent to see how under the very different ethos and attitude their Spanish Justice centres operate. “The centres in Spain are not like prisons with high security, they are run by a team of qualified educators, psychologists and social workers who combine their skills to offer an alternative. Australian juvenile centres are staffed 100% by a security team, yet in our centres security is only 30% of the total staff. Our security teams don’t interact with the kids, they are just like an airbag in a car, you don’t need to see it every day, but you know if you are in an accident, it is there.”

“We know that juveniles serving custodial sentences need role models and education on the difference between right and wrong, and hope for the future,  not security guards and cells. We fill our centres with teachers and professionals to educate and teach trades. We do not need a team that thinks they are the good guys and the juveniles are the bad guys! It can’t be them and us  – we need to change embedded culture. It is not an overnight process but the results speak for themselves and now that the Australian Government are on board, I would love the opportunity to present the successful model to the British Government.”

Diagrama Foundation is a member of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory’s European Council for Juvenile Justice with more than 80 other members from all over Europe.


In Australia – Of young people aged 10–16 in 2018–19 and released from sentenced community-based supervision, 38% retuned to sentenced supervision within 6 months and 54% within 12 months.  Of those released from sentenced detention, 61% returned within 6 months, and 80% within 12 months.

In the UK juvenile offenders had a proven reoffending rate of 32.5%.

Reoffending rates show that 84% of those in Diagrama’s youth re-educational custodial centres in Spain integrate back into the community without reoffending.


About Fundacion Diagrama

Fundacion Diagrama runs 34 youth custodial re-education centres for troubled youth in Spain. Despite housing the countries most disadvantaged children, many convicted for violent offences Diagrama has flipped youth recidivism rates. Now 84 per cent of those in centres integrate back onto the community without reoffending.


About Diagrama Foundation

Diagrama Foundation is a Kent based charity that supports vulnerable children, young people, and adults to live their best life.

Diagrama has a Supported Living Service across Bromley, three homes for adults with learning disabilities in Orpington, an eight-bed care home for adults with learning disabilities in West Sussex a fifty-bed care home for the elderly with nursing and dementia needs in Essex, and a fostering and adoption service in the southeast.

  • The Supported Living Service, cares for 35 adults with learning disabilities, in nine homes across Bromley helping them to develop skills and confidence to live in their own house either on their own or with others.
  • At Cabrini House in Orpington the charity promotes the development of core skills for 23 adults with learning disabilities so that they can lead independent lives integrated within their community.
  • Duckyls Farm, a 100 acre care home in West Sussex for eight residents with learning disabilities, allows the charity to explore the physical, mental and social benefits that working with animals and in nature can offer to people with a learning disability.
  • The team at their nursing and dementia care home, Edensor Care Centre in Clacton on Sea, support vulnerable residents to live life to the full.
  • Diagrama’s adoption and fostering service cares for children in South London, Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.


Many vulnerable children and adults don’t get the support they need to develop their true potential, but the Diagrama team know that when someone has time and belief invested in  them, they come alive, because that investment has made them feel valued and worthy.

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