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Broke but not broken

This report, combining a literature review and peer-led qualitative research, demonstrates how the issues of poverty, trauma and policing interact for young adults aged 18-25.

The review argues that there is significant scope for extending our understanding of how different forms of inequality come together in young adults’ lives. It also shows how these inequalities relate to young adults’ offending and their relationships with the police.

The research brings together important, lived experience accounts. These highlight powerfully the many forms of inequality that have an impact on young people. They also show how these inequalities interplay in complex ways in young people’s lives, their engagement in crime and interaction with the police.

Socioeconomic Duty Toolkit

This toolkit is a practical guide for Police and Crime Commissioners, designed to help them embed socioeconomic duty in their strategic decision-making.

A socioeconomic duty aims to deliver better outcomes for people who experience socioeconomic disadvantage. It requires public bodies, whenever they are making decisions, to consider the inequality of outcome that comes from socioeconomic disadvantage. Placing this at the centre of their decision-making processes will lead to better decisions.

Vaccine uptake amongst people with personal...

This report presents findings from a research project exploring vaccine uptake amongst people in Birmingham with experience of multiple disadvantage.

It identifies 10 key points about how people with experience of multiple disadvantage view and have experienced the Covid-19 vaccine. It also recommends a number of issues to consider in order to help people with experience of multiple disadvantage make informed decisions about the vaccine.

Peers who volunteer

This best practice document aims to ensure that organisations provide good quality support to peer volunteers. Discussing the key topics from peer volunteers’ perspective, it offers a set of principles that will guide organisations in developing the most appropriate support structures.

Evidence shows that many people who volunteer as peer mentors benefit from the experience of giving back, building their self-esteem. However, there is also evidence that not all peer volunteers get the support they deserve or have a choice about their volunteer role.

Informed by the lived experience of more than 250 peer volunteers, this document recognises that peer volunteers in different organisations will have different support needs.

Briefing on amendment to the Police, Crime,...

This briefing is on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is entering the Committee stage in the House of Lords, and addresses Part 6 (about cautions) and Part 7 (about sentencing).

Young adults receive 31% of all cautions for low-level, non-violent offences driven by their multiple unmet needs. Used effectively, cautions with conditions attached can divert young adults away from the criminal justice system into services that can turn their lives around.

Each year, 30,000 people go to prison on sentences of less than six months. The majority of these are for nonviolent offences, often linked to underlying problems such as poverty, addiction, homelessness and poor mental health. Short sentences are costly, and the tide is already turning against them.

This briefing urges support for two new clauses. The first would ensure that conditions support and encourage the reduction of reoffending, and the second would introduce a presumption against short prison sentences.

Amending the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts...

This briefing outlines Revolving Doors’ position on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, focusing on Part 6 of the Bill, which deals with cautions.

Young adults receive 31% of all cautions for low-level, non-violent offences driven by their multiple unmet needs. Used effectively, cautions with conditions attached can divert young adults away from the criminal justice system into services that can turn their lives around.

To give young adults the best chance of breaking free from a cycle of crisis and crime, they need access to employment, education, and volunteering opportunities. If diversionary and community cautions show up on a basic DBS check for three months, however, such cautions will detract from these opportunities.

We are therefore calling for conditions that support and encourage the reduction of reoffending.

10 points for Police and Crime Commissioners

This briefing aims to help Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) develop plans that facilitate the prevention and reduction of crime by including a distinct focus on young adults.

This approach will ensure that PCCs provide the best platform to support young adults in their shift to creating positive adult identities and crime-free futures.

These 10 points have been developed with young adults who have lived experience of the criminal justice system.

Evidence review: diverting young adults away from...

This review brings together evidence and emerging good practice to highlight effective ways to support young adults in moving away from the criminal justice system.

Too many young people come into the criminal justice system because of multiple unmet needs. Diverting them into support and treatment can help them grow out of a cycle of crisis and crime and realise their full potential. The right support can reduce crime in local areas and prevent young people from becoming future victims of gangs and exploitation.

Response to the House of Lords Public Service...

This is our response to the House of Lords Public Service Committee’s inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on services and how services meet users’ needs.

Before Covid-19, many people were already facing multiple problems accessing services. Although there were some positive signs during the first lockdown, it is clear that people facing severe and multiple disadvantage are now worse off.

Most services now assume that users have moved online and have the skills to access services digitally. However, many people facing multiple disadvantage are still digitally excluded. We also hear that a deep divide remains between professionals and people with lived experience of severe and multiple disadvantage.

We recommend that future services should be co-designed, co-commissioned, co-delivered and co-evaluated with people with lived experience of severe and multiple disadvantage. We also recommend that services should be accessible and inclusive, understanding and responding to the needs and diversity of the communities they serve.

Entrenching Racial Disparities - Response to the...

This briefing responds to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill. It explains our concerns that the bill will further entrench racial inequality in the criminal justice system.

We applaud the government’s commitment in recent years to tackling racial disparity in the criminal justice system. But despite this commitment, Black, Asian and minority ethnic people continue to face much poorer outcomes than White people and have lower levels of trust in the system. They make up 14% of the population of England and Wales, but 27% of the prison population.

Racism and structural inequalities also have a cumulative impact on people who come into conflict with the law. Decisions about where, and on whom, to focus police time and effort affect who will come into contact with the police. As a result, some types of crime are over-policed (receive a lot of attention) whereas other types of crime are under-policed.

Volunteering as a service user in the UK: Survey...

In partnership with Revolving Doors, Russell Webster conducted an online survey into the experiences of service users who go on to volunteer with helping services.

The purpose of the survey was to inform a new best practice guide. This will enable organisations to provide the best support to service users working as volunteers. It will also help service users know what to expect when volunteering.

Overall, survey respondents were pleased with the help they received. They reported the following satisfaction levels:

  • 88% for the support they received
  • 83% for training
  • 81% for help with work skills
  • 73% for help becoming more employable.

The Knot - Lived experience perspectives on...

This research, based on the perspectives of young adults who have committed repeated low-level offences, explores guiding principles for trauma and poverty responsive policing.

This briefing brings together evidence from 100 young adults with personal experience of the ‘revolving door’. Their repeated contact with the criminal justice system is driven by multiple unmet needs. These include mental ill-health, problematic substance use, homelessness, and domestic abuse.

For young adults caught in the tangle of poverty, trauma and structural inequalities, every encounter with the police appears to exacerbate trauma and inequalities. These young people are likely to distrust police and other services and may avoid support, believing that no one will understand or be trustworthy. They often feel hopeless about their life circumstances or chances of recovery.

The briefing makes recommendations about how policing strategies should acknowledge the prevalence of trauma among young adults who commit repeat, low-level responses. These strategies must address disparities in how the police use force and exercise discretion. They must also include a review of operational policing tactics and police custody environments to see how they could be improved to reduce trauma.

The knot – responding to poverty, trauma and...

This collection of essays explores the knots between poverty, trauma and multiple disadvantage. It suggests frameworks to help service providers, policymakers, researchers and people with lived experience make better sense of these knots and start to untangle them.

These essays allow us to find greater connection between our understandings of the structural, interpersonal and institutional layers. They lay the groundwork for approaches to multiple disadvantage that are more grounded in the reality of people’s lives. And they help us connect those lives to a wider vision of a fair and sustainable society.

Police commitment to young adults

This commitment from the police has been developed by New Generation Policing. It acknowledges that young adults need a distinct approach when they experience crisis, become victims of crime, or break the law.

There is strong evidence from neuroscience, psychology and criminology that the brain continues to develop until a person’s mid-20s. The last elements to develop are forward planning, rational thinking and empathy. We also know that poverty, trauma, and mental health needs make young adults vulnerable and more likely to come into contact with the police.

This commitment acknowledges that the right intervention can make all the difference. Preventative measures are reducing the number of children entering the criminal justice system, and a similar approach could be used with young adults.

Understand Us

This publication analyses results from two national surveys that aim to understand young adults’ views of policing. Assessing responses by gender, ethnicity, and life circumstances, we explore how young adults’ trust and confidence in policing can be improved. It is our hope that this survey will begin a national conversation about policing young adults.

Both surveys highlight the new generation’s changing attitudes towards policing, crime, and justice. Today, young adults expect the police to understand their personal circumstances and show compassion towards them. They want police officers to be able to identify their needs and divert them away from the criminal justice system into support.

It is vital that police leaders listen to young adults, particularly those with lived experience of the criminal justice system. Police leaders must understand young adults’ concerns, needs and expectations and co-create the future of policing in collaboration with them.

New Generation Campaign: Divert young adults into...

Our New Generation Campaigners are leading a campaign to reduce the arrest of vulnerable young adults. They are calling for the police to divert young people aged 18-25 into support instead.

Every year 50,000 cautions or convictions are being handed to young adults for low-level and non-violent crimes like theft. The police already have the power to divert young adults into support, instead of arresting them, especially for non-violent and low-level crime. But too often the necessary support services are not available.

This campaign calls for young adults who experience poverty, trauma and inequalities to be offered support to address their health and human needs. Investment in this new approach will reduce crime.

Flipped, turned upside down

This report shares National Expert Citizens’ Group (NECG) members’ feedback about the positive impacts Covid-19 had on services for people experiencing multiple disadvantage.

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, people experiencing severe disadvantage saw radical changes in the way services - including healthcare, housing, and justice - were delivered. Services had to completely rethink the way they provided support.

Not all responses from services were successful. However, NECG members saw positive changes in the way some services were adapting. Some services became more accessible, and innovations were introduced in ways previously thought impossible or unlikely.

This report seeks to understand what these changes were and explores whether they could lead to long-term positive adaptations or systems change.

The impact of Covid-19 on people in the revolving...

This report aims to increase our understanding of how COVID-19 has affected people in the ‘revolving door’. The report, which provides a glimpse into how these people are managing, aims to support debate and policy development.

Throughout lockdown, we surveyed people in the ‘revolving door’ – those who have regular contact with the justice system and also experience mental ill-health, substance use, domestic violence and/or homelessness. This report explores their experiences of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions in the face of extreme poverty, trauma and multiple needs.

Although people’s experiences are diverse, there is a set of common issues which policy makers and services should consider in responding to the needs of those in the revolving door. These include poverty, uncertainty, isolation, housing instability and engagement with services. The report recommends actions that could address these issues.

Briefing for the launch of LEAD UK

This briefing marks the launch of LEAD (Let Everyone Advance with Dignity) in the UK. LEAD is an ambitious, whole system approach to harm reduction and law enforcement. This police-led diversion approach is used pre-arrest and at the point of arrest.

LEAD has been designed specifically for young adults (18-25) in the ’revolving door’. These are people who commit repeated low-level, non-violent crimes, often driven by a combination of mental ill-health, problematic substance use, homelessness, trauma and poverty.

With LEAD, independent decision-makers collaborate on a voluntary basis across health, local authority and PCC boundaries. In addition to police, service providers, community groups, prosecutors and elected officials, people with relevant lived experience are also meaningfully involved as partners.

LEAD is proven to achieve a 58% decrease in rates of rearrests and an 87% decrease in prison admissions for repeat offenders. It also reduces some of the racial disparities among this population and brings reconciliation to police and community relations.

Emerging trauma and poverty informed strategies...

This review looks at the emerging strategies and activities that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are leading or supporting. It assesses how these are addressing or planning to address the impact of trauma and poverty in the local criminal justice system. It focuses particularly on how this work supports young adults at risk of entering the ‘revolving door’ of crisis and crime.

This review uses as its source the most recent Police and Crime Plans for each PCC, along with the findings of a survey completed by PCC offices and interviews with staff at 20 PCC offices.

The review provides a snapshot of the strategic thinking and collaboration between policing, health and local authorities. It also highlights PCC offices’ growing focus on vulnerability and commitment to prevention since 2016.

Prison Suicide Review

This review of suicide in prisons builds on the views and experiences of people with lived experience of the criminal justice system. It explores the reasons why suicides occur in prison and recommends actions to support the mental health of prisoners and reduce the occurrence of suicide.

The review was carried out as part of a review of the implementation of the Prisons & Probation Ombudsman (PPO)’s recommendations into self-inflicted deaths in custody. People with lived experience describe how little is done to identify and provide mental health support before people are sentenced. They view mental health support in prison as being inadequate overall, and identify numerous factors as having a negative impact on wellbeing in prison.

The review makes several recommendations for reducing the risk of self-harm and suicide in prison. These include:
• providing prison staff with further training
• involving individuals with lived experience of the criminal justice system in providing support
• intervening earlier to identify mental ill-health and provide support
• making it easier for prisoners to obtain medication and/or therapeutic support.

Evidence briefing: Racial bias is pulling Black...

This briefing focuses on young adults who are, or are at risk of being, in the ‘revolving door’ of crisis and crime. As previous briefings have highlighted, these young adults come into the criminal justice system for relatively minor, non-violent offences. This is driven primarily by their profound, persistent experiences of trauma and poverty, but there are two other significant and exacerbating factors: racism and discrimination.

The evidence shows that Black young adults are more likely to be pulled into the revolving door than any other group of young adults. This paper therefore focuses explicitly on the racial disparities experienced by Black young adults. The evidence presented here helps us to understand the complexities, but it also raises further questions.

We believe that these are the issues we need to understand in order to effectively predict and prevent young adults entering the revolving door. If we can predict inequalities, we believe we can prevent the revolving door too.

New Generation Policing Briefing

New Generation Policing is a three-year programme supporting police and crime commissioners and police services. It aims to help them develop and implement new interventions to stop young adults from being caught in the ‘revolving door’ of crime and crisis.

Over half of all reoffences committed by young adults are theft and summary non-motoring offences. These repeated, non-violent offences, driven by underlying, unaddressed need, drive demand for our police, courts and justice system.

The volume and churn of young adults who are sucked into the criminal justice system for relatively minor offences highlights the need for a radical new approach. Our partnership with local commissioners and police services aims to create more evidenced, deliberate interventions that divert young adults away from the criminal justice system. Evidence suggests this can best be done through the use of pre-arrest and at-the-point-of-arrest diversion schemes and deferred prosecutions.

The current failing approach has resulted in the highest ever proportion of people with a history of repeat offending. This results in a significant financial cost for the public purse and harms our communities. The new approach will need to address the three main drivers of the ‘revolving door’ – the profound and persistent experiences of trauma, poverty and racism.

New Generation: Evidence briefing

This briefing brings together the latest evidence on young adults in the ‘revolving door’ of crisis and crime. Its aim is to consider what can be done to prevent these young adults from getting caught there.

On the whole, the criminal justice system fails to recognise the combined impact of trauma and poverty on the lives of young adults. As a result, many of them enter the ‘revolving door’. Numerous services withdraw support when young people are transitioning from children’s to adult services and the police are left to pick up the pieces.

Our evidence suggests that a significant number of young adults are on the cusp of entering the ‘revolving door’. If we don’t intervene, we run the risk of people cycling through the system for a decade or more. Young adulthood is the point where we need to intervene more effectively.

There is also a great deal of evidence to show that each contact with the criminal justice system harms future life chances. The deeper into the criminal justice system young adults move, the more likely they are to reoffend. Proactively diverting young adults away from the criminal justice system and into appropriate support services must be a priority for the whole system.