New official guidance produced for Wales, in partnership with NOMS Wales and the Youth Justice Board Cymru, has highlighted the vital importance of taking account of maturity in the transition process.
It sets out for the first time how to improve the way youth offending teams and the National Probation Service work together to support young adults in the criminal justice system.
Improving transitions will produce better outcomes for young people as they are supported during a fragile time in their lives. Making improvements in the way information is shared from YOTs to probation services, adult prisons and other services will lead to more informed assessments, continuity in interventions and advances in addressing their needs. This will, in turn, have a direct effect on reducing re-offending.
On maturity the guide states:
Since 2011 ‘lack of maturity’ has been a mitigating factor in sentencing guidelines. Young people mature at different rates and developmental maturity is a far better guide to someone’s stage in life than their chronological age, so an assessment of a young person’s maturity is a key factor in enabling successful transition between the YOT and National Probation Service. Assessment of maturity will inform the level of engagement required with the young person in the transition process. The Transition to Adulthood Alliance have produced Taking Account of Maturity: A guide for Probation Practitioners
The guide also highlights T2A’s report on how to design effective probation services for young adults, Going for Gold