T2A has supported a number of pilot projects, in two phases, since the T2A campaign began in 2009. These pilots demonstrate and assess the benefits of using distinct approaches for young adults. The pilots were in different locations, different cohorts of young adults, and delivered by different criminal justice services across England.
A ‘pathways framework’ – illustrating ten stages at which intervention could be effective – was created following the first phase pilots – from 2009-13 – which were designed to support T2A’s advocacy for young adults.
First phase pilots 2009-13
Three pilot projects were set up in London, Birmingham and West Mercia, delivered by the St Giles Trust, Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, and Youth Support Services respectively. Together they worked with more than 1,000 young adults involved with probation services to develop local inter-agency systems.
The projects demonstrated clear benefits by reducing offending and breach rates.
The London pilot – St Giles Trust
This pilot employed people, as both paid and unpaid workers, who had previously been involved in crime. The T2A focus was integrated with other projects and engaged hard-to-reach people who shunned offers of supportive contact. Involving people with lived experience meant it could turn the helped into helpers.
The Birmingham pilot – West Midlands Probation Trust
This pilot, led by the probation service, was a hub that could link young adults to relevant services. The pilot demonstrated that work with young adults should link with existing community services and integrate public and voluntary sector support.
The Staffordshire pilot – Youth Support Services
This pilot recruited both qualified youth justice workers and volunteer mentors to provide sustained support and a wrap-a-round service. It drew on its network of local inter-agency connections including the probation service.
These pilots were evaluated to strengthen the evidence base for distinct approaches as follows:
- A formative evaluation by the University of Oxford’s Centre for Criminology, 2011, provided evidence that distinct approaches can be effective in engaging young adults. It identified promising early results and highlighted the projects’ successes in involving young adults in activities which would help to improve their life chances.
- A summative evaluation by Catch22, 2012, found that distinct approaches can improve outcomes for young adults. Catch 22 followed a group of young adults involved in the pilots for six months. It found that the number of young adults in employment trebled and only very small numbers were convicted of a new offence, or broke the conditions of either their community sentence or of their licence on release from prison.
In the most recent phase, 2013-17, six pathway pilot projects were commissioned. The six projects together represented a whole pathways approach to working with young adults throughout the criminal justice process.
Six demonstration projects tested approaches taking account of maturity and transitions at key points on the T2A pathway framework. They showed the potential for developing local services and how a ‘whole T2A pathway approach’ to working with 18-25 year olds throughout the criminal justice process can be effective.
The projects were led by voluntary sector organisations which already had a track record of working with young adults. They were delivered in partnership with statutory agencies. The organisations were: Addaction (renamed We are With You), Advance, PACT (Prison Advice and Care Trust), The Prince’s Trust, Remedi, and Together for Mental Wellbeing. The pilots completed in 2017.