The T2A Alliance evidences and promotes effective approaches for young people in the transition to adulthood (16-25 year olds) throughout the criminal justice process.
Convened by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, its membership encompasses leading criminal justice, health and youth organisations (listed below). Since 2008, the T2A Alliance has produced more than 40 research and policy reports, which support the campaign priorities and recommendations, including the 2012 publication ‘Pathways from Crime‘. In addition, six T2A projects, including three main T2A pilots, have been running since 2009, demonstrating effective interventions for young adults in the criminal justice system. To read a summary of this evidence go to the Evidence section of this website. To download any T2A publications, go to the Publications & Reports section.
Why Young Adults?
Young adults (aged 18-24), who constitute less than 10% of the population, are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, making up more than one-third of those commencing a community order or suspended sentence order, one-third of the probation service’s caseload and almost one-third of those sentenced to prison each year. This alone demonstrates the importance of recognising the distinct needs and circumstance of young adults in developing effective sentencing.
Yet young adults are the most likely age group to desist and ‘grow out of crime’, and the wrong intervention at this time can slow desistance and extend the period that a young adult is involved in the criminal justice system.
The origins of T2A and learning to date
Building on the work of the 2005 Barrow Cadbury Commission on Young Adults and the Criminal Justice System, the T2A Alliance, convened by Barrow Cadbury in 2008, has developed a series of policy proposals that would create a more effective criminal justice system for the young adult age-group. In order to make its recommendations robust and achievable, T2A’s initial programme of work culminated in the publication of a consultation document that contained a thorough analysis of the problems caused by and faced by young adult offenders and a series of draft recommendations. During a three month consultation period on this document, views were sought from politicians, policy-makers and practitioners.
Over 300 individuals and organisations – including statutory and voluntary sector groups, young adults, and ex-offenders themselves – contributed to this process, helping to refine thinking and develop recommendations. As a result of this work, in November 2009 the T2A Alliance published a ‘Young Adult Manifesto’, containing ten recommendations that would make the way in which we deal with young adult offenders more effective, fairer and less costly.
In addition, the Barrow Cadbury Trust has established six projects, running since 2009, which are testing different approaches to improving services for young adults in the criminal justice system. Of these, three main T2A pilots have enabled demonstration of different community interventions, all tailored to the needs of the individual, with the aim of reducing both the risk of reoffending and social exclusion.
The three pilots are in Birmingham, West Mercia and London, and are delivered by Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, YSS and the St Giles Trust respectively. The pilots are subject to a formative evaluation by the University of Oxford’s Centre for Criminology. The University of Oxford’s formative evaluation, completed at the start of 2011, identified promising early results and highlighted the pilots’ success in engaging young adults in actions which will help them towards better lives. An outcome evaluation by Catch22, which found that the T2A approach reduced offending and improved social outcomes, and a cost-benefit analysis by Matrix Evidence, were completed in late 2011.
A film about the T2A pilot projects is below. Individual films about each T2A pilot can be viewed on the T2A pilots page.
As a whole, the T2A programme of work, encompassing research, policy development and practical experience, makes a strong case for significant reform.