T2A gives evidence to the Justice Select Committee Inquiry on Young Adult Offenders

T2A has today provided oral evidence to the final session of the Justice Select Committee’s Inquiry on Young Adult Offenders.

The Committee, whose landmark Inquiry has lasted seven months and will likely report in the next few weeks, heard from a panel including Max Rutherford, Criminal Justice Programme Manager at the Barrow Cadbury Trust. He gave evidence on behalf of T2A, alongside Professor Huw Williams (who has led a number of T2A projects on neuro-maturation and crime) and Angela Cossins from the National Probation Service.

Footage of the panel is here, from 10.32.51

Questions put to the panel focused on the management of young adults in prisons, the merits of specialist young adult courts, and the opportunities for diversion. The discussion also featured an exchange on Ministry of Justice leadership, maturity assessments pre-sentence, and preventing deaths in custody.

During the session, Max Rutherford highlighted the potential that young adults have to desist from crime if the right intervention is made, and the wider benefits of a distinct approach to young adult offenders:

“Yesterday, a borough police commander, who is leading a bid to T2A to run a young adult court pilot in his area, told me the reason for him that 18-25 year olds should be a distinct group and should have a special effort of resources and capacity is that if we get it wrong with that age group, there is at least a decade-long consequence, socially and financially”.

Max Rutherford also highlighted T2A’s position that all 18-25 year olds in prison should be subject to a separate, purposeful prison regime. Asked about the Government’s plans for autonomous prisons, he noted that although the government’s prison reform agenda has potential, a more immediate issue is its current lack of a distinct strategy for managing young adults in prison:

“Containing young adults for 23 hours a day in their cells, albeit perhaps in cells where there are fewer ligature points from which to hang themselves, is not going to keep staff safe and it’s not going to achieve any positive outcomes post-release”.

You can watch footage of the panel here, as well as the preceding contribution from Andrew Selous MP, the Minister for Prisons and Probation and Michael Spurr, the Director General of the (NOMS) National Offender Management Service.