Young adults in the criminal justice system Contents


71.The Ministry has adopted a narrow approach to reform due to cuts to its wider budget and the need for practicality. In the absence of evidence that it has had any positive impact on outcomes for young adults in the 18 months since the Government responded to our predecessor’s carefully considered, evidence-based, and well-received Report, we are not persuaded of the efficacy of this approach.

72.The remarkable improvements in outcomes for under 18s in custody strengthens our conviction that our criminal justice system is failing their young adult counterparts. The waste of young adults’ talents and energies is one of the great social challenges of our time. The lack of decisive action is also failing society at large as citizens continue to experience crimes which should be preventable and which would gain from these young adults’ contributions should they be given the right opportunities. The Ministry must commit to more fundamental reform in its Justice 2030 project. By 2030 we expect prison and probation services to have developed cultures which recognise young adults’ strengths, address the trauma many of them have experienced, and support them effectively to develop non-criminal identities and for this to be reflected in improvements in outcomes.

Published: 20 June 2018