Exclusive: 'We've all got good things in us' - First young prisoners complete Duke of Edunburgh award

It has never happened in our prisons before, but 1 NEWS has been given exclusive access to follow the journey of young inmates as they complete the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award from behind bars.

Eight prisoners have completed their award as part of their rehabilitation. Source: 1 NEWS

They're under lock and key for 24 hours a day, but still they've managed to clock up 200 hours of community service, physical activity, and they even went camping beyond the wire but within the confines of Christchurch Men's Prison grounds.

Young prison inmates take part in the Duke of Edunburgh programme. Source: 1 NEWS

"We're very excited about it, it's the first in the country, eight have graduated so far," said Assistant prison director Pablo Godoy.

1 NEWS can't identify the inmates we spoke to, but one teenager who has been jailed for three years for burglary said, "It feels good, you know. I might be a criminal but you know we've all got good things in us."

He started taking drugs at the age of 12 and sees the Duke of Edinburgh programme as a way to turn his life around.

He has done community service, painting the visitors room in the Youth Unit, and says running at 6am around the prison perimeter fence every morning helps him let out his emotions.

"It's pretty hard, I cry almost every day, but you've just got to deal with it"

The inmates have just been presented with their Bronze badges and certificates, to the applause of their families.

The inmate told us: "Feels good to show family. Like, they're not proud you're here, but just proud getting on with your time and learning new skills."

Mr Godoy said: "These youth that come to us have so much more to give, it's just they don't recognise it in themselves. And for us it's to help them understand and see what they're capable of."

Young prison inmates run as part of the Duke of Edinburgh programme. Source: 1 NEWS

More youth inmates will complete their Duke of Edinburgh over the coming months, but some have to run in jandals as Corrections can't provide them with running shoes, so any donations of shoes would be gratefully accepted.