The T2A initiative promotes evidence and practice to strengthen the case that developmental maturity is more helpful than chronological age in deciding on the best response to young adult (18-25) offending and young adult offenders. Young adulthood is a crucial opportunity for criminal justice agencies to get their interventions right.
T2A’s research shows how a distinct approach to young adults by criminal justice services reduces offending and improves outcomes.
What do we mean by the term ‘maturity’?
Blowing out the candles on an 18th birthday cake does not transform anyone into a fully functioning and mature adult. For those who have experienced disadvantages in life, as many young adult offenders have, this is even more the case. With a tailored criminal justice intervention – one that takes account of the developmental maturity and particular needs of young adults – research has found that young adult offenders are far more likely than other groups to ‘grow out of crime’. For the 18-25 age group, T2A has found that the level of maturity of an individual must be taken into account in sentencing and when delivering interventions to help keep them out of, or reduce, criminal activity.
As well as initiating research and influencing policy, T2A has supported a series of three demonstration/pilot projects across England, embodying the T2A Pathway, working with young adults at different stages of the criminal justice process. The last pilot, started in early 2014 and concluded in late 2017. They have been independently evaluated by Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Three T2A pilot projects also ran between 2009 and 2013, working with more than 1,000 young adult offenders, demonstrating innovative approaches for young adult offenders involved with probation services, reducing offending and breach rates as well as improving social outcomes. Find our more about the evaluation of these projects.