Today, Revolving Doors Agency and Transition to Adulthood Alliance publish a new report, Spotlight on Young Adults. The report showcases some of the innovative work being undertaken by Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across the country to improve criminal justice responses for young adults (18-25), the most likely age group to come into contact with the police both as victims and as offenders.
David Lammy (Chair of The Lammy Review) has called for maturity to factor into the criminal justice decision making process. Pushing this further, The Justice Select Committee has called to extend statutory support provided to under 18’s, as they navigate the criminal justice system, to the 18-25 cohort. The Committee also pressed for legislative changes to recognise the developmental status of the 18-25 age group.
PCCs are in an important position to show leadership on this issue, cutting across the youth and adults systems with a key strategic and commissioning role. This report shines a light on a number of case studies that highlight how PCCs have delivered a distinct approach to the 18-25 cohort, including:
• Diversion from the Criminal Justice System: e.g. exploring opportunities to tailor out of court disposals more effectively for first time offences and ensuring mental health liaison and diversion services respond to the specific needs of this age group.
• Targeted support throughout the transition to adulthood: e.g. Leicestershire introducing a dedicated young adults project; and Gloucestershire and South Yorkshire commissioning young-adult specific support services.
• Extending existing youth services: including exploring how the principles of the youth offending team model can be applied to young adults, and developing opportunities to link young adults back into these teams, as piloted in South Wales.
• Engaging with young adults to harness the power of lived experience, in developing their strategies, many of these PCCs have sought to engage with young adults, including those with experience of offending. An approach demonstrated by Leicestershire’s Young Adults Project (YAP!) Shadow Board.