The Barrow Cadbury Trust said the government must do more to improve support for young adult offenders, in a review this week of progress since a landmark 2005 study it produced on the issue.
The report by International Centre for Prison Studies director Rob Allen for the trust, a charitable foundation which campaigns on social justice, said progress had been “relatively modest” for adults aged 18-24.
The 2005 report, Lost in Transition, said young adults often had different needs to older adults but when offenders turned 18 they lost access to support from youth offending teams and became the responsibility of the probation service, with information often lost in the process.
‘Transition to adult’ teams
Among its key recommendations was the creation of “transition to adult” teams in every area, including representatives from YOTs, the probation service, drug and alcohol action teams, social services, health and housing.
In this week’s report, Allen said that the boundaries between YOTs and the probation service were still “difficult to permeate”, with joint assessment, supervision and support at an early stage.
But instead of calling for wholesale organisational change, this week’s report suggested a range of approaches based on existing practice. These included giving YOTs responsibility for offenders over 18 on detention and training orders. However, Allen did also moot the creation of young adult offending teams, based on YOTs, for 18- to 24-year-olds.
The report follows widespread concerns about the treatment of young adults, led by chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers. The number of 18- to 21-year-olds in prison rose by 3% from July 2007 to July 2008.