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Transition to Adulthood Debbie Pippard, Head of Programmes The Barrow Cadbury Trust
Why young adults? • Peak age of offending • 10% of population • 1/3 of CJ caseload • Generally poor outcomes • Peak age for desistance • Opportunity to intervene • Neurological rationale • Multiple transition points • (personal; services) • Successes of youth justice can be applied
Shakespeare (1623), The Winter’s Tale Shepherd: I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, and fighting . Advisory Council on the Penal System (1974), recommended: A special concentration of public effort upon this group of young adults, who are in danger of going on to long and costly criminal careers, is a sensible investment by society at a time when resources, both human and material, are too scarce to allow a similar degree of attention to be paid to all age groups.
Maturity, young adults and the criminal justice system • Maturity can be understood as a developmental concept, including the categories of physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. • Processes of physical and intellectual development are usually completed during adolescence; it is the categories of emotional and social development that are of most relevance in considering the maturity of young adults • ‘Temperance’ is identified as the significant maturity factor that continues to influence antisocial decision making among young adults • Development of those areas of the brain concerned with higher order cognitive processes and executive functions, including control of impulses and regulation and interpretation of emotions, continues into early adulthood; the human brain is not ‘mature’ until the early to mid-twenties.
Step 1: Policing and arrest • Raising awareness of issues regarding the policing of young adults • Best practice case studies for Police and Crime Commissioners • Police and gender: pilot project diverting young women
Steps 4 and 5: Prosecution and sentencing • Inclusion of lack of maturity as a mitigating factor when considering sentences • Guidelines for prosecutors would allow same process in decisions to take to court • Court diversion schemes • Centre for Justice Innovation scoping young adult court
Step 6: Community sentences • Three pilots funded for 3+ years: • Three points of the pathway • Additional, flexible, voluntary. • In partnership with statutory services • Extensively evaluated • Asset-based, taking maturity into account • Focus on transition
Step 7: Managing the transfer process • Transition between youth offending services and probation • Multiple transitions add additional strain • Care leavers/vulnerable young people – state as midwife to adulthood? • Transition between young offender institute and prison
Step 8: Custody • Study of best practice in custodial settings for young adults • Second study commissioned to look in more detail at options for young adult women • Controversy about secure estate for young adults • Pilot projects commissioned X and Y
International comparisons • No justification in international research not to use same approach with juveniles and young adultsComparative approaches to young adults • Germany and The Netherlands stand out as beacons of good practice • Criminal justice responses should be flexible and subjective • Almost all European justice systems accept that young adulthoold should be reflected in laws or practice • Applying young adult-specific practice allows for tailored response
Core principles • Maturation is a process, it happens at different rates for different people • There are multiple opportunities to intervene • Adolescents and young adults respond particularly badly to harsh punitive regimes • Consistent, reliable, role model relationships help develop maturity and speed desistence • Transitions are a challenge and a risk and need to be managed well • Its a social justice issue.
Want to know more? • www.T2A.org.uk