Last month, we held a webinar to share the findings of our Young Adults and the Parole System report, which was co-authored by Rob Allen and Dr Laura Janes. You can watch a full recording of the online event below.
The event was attended by around 90 people working across the criminal justice system, including practitioners, policymakers, academics, and people working in the voluntary sector.
At the beginning of the webinar, Dr Laura Janes spoke to Ali, a young adult with experience of going through the parole process, and his probation officer. It was so valuable for everyone attending to hear his insights on what worked well, and what could be improved.
Ali really helped us start to think about the different ways young adults can be supported to be active participants in the parole process, and how they can be mindfully supported to become more mature and reduce risk-taking activities in advance of their case being heard.
Rob Allen and Dr Laura Janes then shared the report’s recommendations for HMPPS and the Parole Board. Andrea Bennett, Regional Probation Director for the North West and Operational Lead for working with Young Adults in the Probation Service, and Ronno Griffiths, Parole Board member, responded warmly to the recommendations and shared insights from their own professional experiences.
It remains to be seen if our partners at HMPPS and the Parole Board will be able to implement our recommendations when budgets and resources are stretched to capacity. However, all in attendance were united in their belief that young adults deserve a Parole process that can respond to their developmental needs.
Dr Rachel O’Rourke was our final speaker, and she spoke about how HMPPS Psychology Services were using the report to inform further research into the barriers preventing young adults from participating in the parole process – prompting a positive discussion about how this might lead to the more consistent use of psychological assessment tools for young adults.
We ended our session with a range of thoughtful questions from attendees for our panel of speakers, and we were very pleased to see that everyone who attended had been so engaged throughout the session.
T2A Criminal Justice Programme Manager, Laurie Hunte, adds: “These recommendations would change the parole process to the immense benefit of young adults, so we will do everything we can to ensure that they are implemented.
“Creative approaches like these will lead to more positive long-term outcomes.”
These conversations are just the beginning of an important journey towards a reformed parole process that will deliver better outcomes for young adults. We would encourage you to keep in touch with T2A to hear about next steps.