8. Memorandum submitted by
the Barrow Cadbury Trust
TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD
1.1 Barrow Cadbury Trust welcomes the inquiry
because of the urgent need to address the overrepresentation of
African Caribbean men and increasingly Pakistani and Bangladeshi
men too, throughout the criminal justice system. Barrow Cadbury
Trust believes that the disproportionate numbers are due to three
(a) Abuse of discretionary powers by the
(b) The cumulative disadvantage and its impact
on the life chances of young black people.
(c) Failure to address the problems that
young people face in their transition to adulthood.
1.2 Barrow Cadbury Trust bases its submission
on three principal sources of evidence that include:
(a) Lost in Transition, the report
from the Commission on Young Adults and the Criminal Justice System
(Barrow Cadbury Commission.)
(b) Reports from and focus group meetings
with numerous grassroots groups in the inner cities of Birmingham,
Cardiff and London.
(c) Commissioned research and associated
reports including Righting the Wrongs of Racism, the report
of the Greenwich Race Equality Review Panel 10 years after the
murder of Stephen Lawrence and University of York Report on Cost
and Benefit Considerations.
1.3 Among the recommendations of the report
from the Barrow Cadbury Commission are the following:
(a) Ensure that the police improve their
relationship with young people, exercise greater responsibility
in their use of Stops and Stops and Searches and build up trust
with their local communities.
(b) Make more effective use of public funding
by tackling the risk factors young people facea focus on
desistence would reduce churn in the criminal justice system.
(c) Put in place measures that would begin
to unify the two separate justice systems (youth and adult), arbitrarily
divided at the age of 18 yearsin the meantime, establish
T2A Teams (Transition to Adulthood Teams) to provide a more seamless
1.4 Further details about the scale of the
problem and proposed solutions are set out in this submission.
2. BARROW CADBURY
2.1 Barrow Cadbury Trust is an independent
grant-making foundation that promotes social justice. Established
in 1940 by Barrow Cadbury (the eldest son of the industrialist
Richard Cadbury), and his wife Geraldine Southall, the Trust prioritises
funding for grassroots projects working with the most marginalised
and disadvantaged people. Particular emphasis is placed on the
needs of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.
2.2 Barrow Cadbury Trust supports pioneering,
even risky, community projects that help provide practical solutions
to local problems. Links have been built up with organisations
that target 18-21 year olds who are either involved, or at risk
of becoming involved in crime, anti-social behaviour or substance
misuse. These voluntary sector operators are skilled at working
with hard-to-reach young people, and provide them with support,
from mentoring schemes to personalised vocational advice. Examples
of some of the groups we support are listed at Annex A.
2.3 Barrow Cadbury Trust established its
Commission on Young Adults and the Criminal Justice System to
develop a new approach to dealing with young people who get into
trouble. The full report of the Barrow Cadbury Commission, Lost
in Transition which was launched by Baroness Scotland on 22
November 2005, is attached at Annex B.19
2.4 The key finding of the Commission was
the arbitrary nature of the line drawn between youth justice and
criminal justice. Truth is, most young people get into some sort
of trouble before they enter their early twenties. 42% of first
time offenders are young adults. Then, they naturally begin to
grow out of it. Settling into a relationship, possibly with children,
entering employment and perhaps even finding spiritual enlightenment
changes their lives (this has been rather crudely put as finding
a girlfriend, a job or god). Young people mature over a transitional
phase during the years of 18 and 24.
2.5 During this transitional phase, arguably,
the more privileged young people tend to be protected against
minor misdemeanours, first by their families, then by any higher
education institutions they might enter. By contrast, those growing
up in multiple deprivation are more reliant on statutory agencies
for support and reaching the age of 18 can be like a cliff edge,
when state responsibility is suddenly withdrawn. They can find
that the leniency previously shown for difficult and challenging
behaviour can turn a minor misdemeanour into a criminal record
for the rest of their life. Rather than naturally growing out
of crime, instead they find that opportunities narrow even further
and they become consigned to the criminal justice system.
2.6 Barrow Cadbury commissioned research
from the University of York to assess the cost-effectiveness of
the current approach to criminal justice. Given that approximately
70% of prisoners go on to re-offend, the research indicates that
prison is not the most effective form of treatment for young adults.
Furthermore, with up to 49% of those convicted having been in
care, the criminal justice system appears to be compensating for
previous failures in social services.
3. YOUNG BLACK
3.1 Recently published Home Office statistics
(from Home Office (2005), Section 95: Statistics on Race and
the Criminal Justice System, 2004, London) show that black
people are seven times more likely to be in prison than the white
majority. Throughout the criminal justice system they are disproportionately
targeted. Black people are six times more likely to be stopped
and searched. Sentencing also discriminates against black people.
3.2 The Barrow Cadbury Commission indicates
that the disproportionate number of young black people in the
criminal justice system is due to three main factors that relate
to policing, life chances and transition to adulthood. These points
are set out below:
Policing as a Gateway into the Criminal Justice
3.3 The role of policing as a gateway into
the criminal justice system is an area that requires attention.
At one evening debate with local youth in Birmingham, the community
police turned up in full uniform and addressed themselves using
their formal titles. Needless to say, this immediately drove away
the more marginalised and disaffected sections of the public.
While anecdotes must not be mistaken for evidence, there is continued
cause for concern about the inability of the police to adapt to
their local circumstances. This reflects a misuse, perhaps even
abuse of their discretionary powers. Nowhere is this more evident
than with the abundance of Stop and Search.
3.4 Focus groups held with young adults
in the inner cities of Birmingham, Cardiff and London revealed
deep seated resentment of the police:
"They [the police] like to discriminate
against people of colour".
"I've been stopped in the street ... and
been told that there's been a couple of street crimes in the area
and that you look like you fit the bill."
"My friend got stopped on a road by two
white officers just because he's a black boy. They said something
about his car, he'd just bought the car, it was brand new and
everything. And they were like, we're just checking because there's
a car been stolen and there's a black boy driving the car."
3.5 Such perceptions are backed up by the
statistics. For example, in the West Midlands (from Home Office
(2005), Section 95: Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice
System, 2004, London.):
While accounting for only 1.6% of the total black
population, Black Caribbean people account for 14.3% of the total
number of police stops and searched. 8 in every 1000 white people
and 44 in every 1,000 Black people have been stopped and searched.
3.6 Increasingly, young Pakistanis and Bangladeshis
are also being stopped and searched. For example, 27 in every
1,000 Asian people have been stopped and searched in England and
Wales, compared to only 8 in every 1,000 white people who have
been stopped and searched. Although there are likely to be different
reasons for this discrimination than there is towards young Black
men, many of the impacts are similar.
3.7 According to the report from the Race
Equality Review in Greenwich Righting the Wrongs of Racism
undertaken 10 years after the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the
police feel justified in targeting black people but seem to remain
oblivious to the mistrust this creates in the community. Black
communities around Britain view Stop and Search as a form of harassment.
It undermines confidence in the police, skews the crime figures
and has a negative impact on young people themselves. Young adults
feel that the frequency of Stop and Searches, and the way in which
they are carried out, demonstrate that the police do not respect
them. Young people talk about "fishing expeditions"
by the police. There are examples of young people being stopped
37 times in a year.
3.8 Discretionary powers held by the police
are essential in safeguarding communities, however, they must
be exercised with greater responsibility. All communities must
feel that they are being equally protected and not just policed.
3.9 The links between growing up in poverty
and the routes into crime are clear. Poor living conditions and
high unemployment increases the risk of delinquency. Only 60%
of working age Black and minority ethnic population are in work
compared to 75% of the working age population as a whole. Black
Caribbean boys are particularly at risk of being excluded from
school. Pakistani and Bangladeshi youth grow up facing three times
as much poverty as the average child. Lack of opportunity, poor
education and discrimination in the labour market are further
compounded once a young person gains a criminal record.
3.10 With one in five prisoners receiving
mental health care, particular attention should be paid to black
and minority ethnic young adults, who are overrepresented in both
the criminal justice system and in mental health care.
3.11 The Barrow Cadbury Commission highlights
the risk factors that face young people. These include individual
choice, family, peer and community support, schooling, economic
pressures and drug and alcohol use. A particular problem for those
leaving prison is finding accommodation that facilitates entry
into gainful employment rather than continued engagement in criminality.
Greater attention is needed in understanding the impact of these
risk factors and developing protective factors to mitigate against
3.12 Narrowing the Gap (the Fabian
Society report into Life Chances) talks about accumulating disadvantage.
Within deprived communities such as Handsworth/Lozells in Birmingham,
young people, many formerly involved in gangs, are themselves
taking responsibility to overcome their cumulative disadvantage
and improve their prospects. A gradual growth in small enterprises
and self employment reveals a strong desire to identify alternative
Transition to Adulthood
3.13 Barrow Cadbury Trust believes that
the extension of the support provided by the Youth Justice Board
to young adults would reduce the overrepresentation of black young
3.14 Using age as the arbitrary division
between youth and adult criminal justice systems is unwise and
prevents sensible approaches for dealing with well-understood
problems of young adult offenders. Other European systems allow
for flexibility in sentencing for young adults in transition.
3.15 In the long term, a unified criminal
justice system should be developed which removes the need for
two separate systems and which enables interventions to be tailored
to the maturity and needs of the individual. In the meantime,
there is a need at least, for T2A (Transition to Adulthood) Teams.
T2A Teams and the T2A Champion should give special attention to
the needs and special circumstances of young black and minority
ethnic adults. This should include ongoing scrutiny of programmes
and policies to ensure they do not treat young black and minority
ethnic adults with disproportionate severity and sustained efforts
are made to develop culturally appropriate interventions for distinct
groups of young adult offenders.
4.1 In relation to the police, the Barrow
Cadbury Commission recommends the following actions:
(a) Independent Police Complaints Commission
and Home Office Stop and Search Action Team should convene an
advisory group of young adults in order to enter an ongoing dialogue
about policing of young people, in particular, highlighting the
disproportionate impact of policing on black and minority ethnic
(b) Police should develop local community
forums for engaging with young adults to develop more community
sensitive discretionary policing practices towards youth and to
enable them to influence policing priorities and strategies. The
forum should be used to share local "Section 95" statistics
on race and the criminal justice system, and to publicise the
complaints procedure. The forums should use community mediators.
4.2 The overrepresentation of African Caribbean
young men and increasingly Pakistani and Bangladeshi young men
in prisons signifies the need for an overhaul of a system that
puts criminal justice before social justice. Greater investment
is required in increasing desistence. Education and employment
practices require improvement, mental health and drug/alcohol
treatment should be more readily available outside the criminal
justice system and access to housing is important for those leaving
4.3 Fundamentally, the HASC are asked to
consider the importance of T2A teams in unifying the two distinct
and artificially separated justice systems. Youth justice and
adult justice are hard to differentiate for those aged 18-24any
delineation is necessarily arbitrary. Young adults, irrespective
of their ethnicity, should be treated according to the maturity
of their circumstances and not on artificial age barriers. Young
people should be able to rely on a seamless service according
to their level of maturity rather than face a cliff edge on the
day they happen to turn 18.
4.4 To tackle these issues, Barrow Cadbury
Trust is independently pursuing solutions. Activities commissioned
so far, include the following:
(a) Identifying local approaches that develop
pioneering approaches. It is already clear that young black people
want to move away from the guns and gangs culture that have come
to dominate their communities. Solutions are surfacing from within
(b) Partnership projects with the Prison
Reform Trust and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies on improving
(c) Piloting T2A (Transition to Adulthood)
Teams in Birmingham and in London.
(d) Promoting the partnership between employers
and education providers in improving the prospects of those with
4.6 Barrow Cadbury Trust is available to
provide further information about any of the points raised here.
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