Ten steps to a more effective approach for young adults in the criminal justice process
29 May 2012
Last week, the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance published Pathways from Crime: Ten steps to a more effective approach for young adults in the criminal justice process.
The T2A Alliance, convened by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, was established in 2008 and works with a range of practitioners, academics, and policy groups including Revolving Doors to develop practical interventions that work to reduce reoffending of young adults and campaign for improved responses to the group.
According to the former Chief Inspector of Prisons Dame Anne Owers, young adult offenders are ‘‘a neglected and under-resourced age group’’. Although they have a high likelihood of reconviction, there is little specific investment made towards these young adults. They make up less than 10% of the British population, but represent one-third of the probation caseload, one-third of those commencing a community sentence, and almost one-third of those being sentenced to prison each year.
Pathways from Crime emphasises that the transition to adulthood is a process rather than a result, which implies that tailored services and support should not fall away once individuals turn 18. The report identifies a pathway through the criminal justice system, in which a more rigorous and effective approach can be delivered to young adults making the transition to adulthood (16-24).The 10 stages are policing and arrest, diversion, restorative justice, prosecution, sentencing, community sentences, managing the transfer process, custody, resettlement, and enabling desistance from crime. This T2A pathway has been tested in three pilot projects since 2009 in Birmingham, West Mercia, and London.
The summative evaluation of the T2A pathway tracks 34 young adults over a six-month period and demonstrates some remarkable findings (e.g. only three were reconvicted of a new non-violent offence, only three breached their community order or licence, and the number of the sample in employment has trebled).
The report concludes that the T2A pathway is an effective and rigorous approach that can be applied to young adults throughout the criminal justice process. In each stage of the process, criminal justice agencies can make interventions with young adults more effectively. The pilots have established how an effective approach can be put into practice and have highlighted changes that can be made to the way that services are designed, commissioned, and delivered.
You can download the summary report or the full report here.