Invitation to tender: Analysis of the reduction of young adults involved in the criminal justice system

Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice in August (summarised in Appendix 1) indicate that the number of young adults aged 18-24 in prison or serving a community sentence has fallen by more than a third since 2011. The statistics also suggest that the proportion of young adults within the whole caseload has also dropped, by nearly 10%.

To inform its Transition to Adulthood (T2A) initiative and the T2A Alliance campaign, the Barrow Cadbury Trust would like to commission an analysis to understand the reasons for this decline.

We would like the final report to relate to the jurisdiction of England and Wales, and include data last 10 years. The analysis would be likely to cover the following issues (and potentially others):

  • What has been the extent of the decline in the number of young adults subject to arrest, under probation supervision and in prison (remand and sentenced)?
  • To what extent might other criminal justice factors have affected this decline – e.g. changes to police practices (e.g. arrest rates), changes to sentencing guidelines (e.g. the inclusion of ‘lack of maturity’ as a mitigating factor), or diversion schemes?
  • To what extent might sentencing decisions have contributed to this decline (e.g. has there been a reduction in the use of community sentences or short prison sentences)?
  • What impact might the fall in the number of children entering the youth justice system have on the decline in the number of young adults?
  • What are the gender and race dimensions to this decline (and has there been any disproportionality by race or gender)?
  • Was this decline been more significant for young adults than other age groups?
  • Was there a decline in the number of young adults in the general population that may have had an impact on this decline?
  • Is there any evidence of a similar decline internationally?

The budget available for this piece of work is up to £10,000, and is most likely to suit a university academic or consultancy based in the United Kingdom. The Ministry of Justice has indicated its support for the project and in facilitating access to data.

Please submit a proposal of up to two sides of A4, setting out:

  • How you would approach this project;
  • Your track record in delivering work of this kind (both in terms of the task and the focus on people in the criminal justice system) and;
  • Brief details of the staff member(s) who would be involved.

Submissions should be sent to Max Rutherford, Criminal Justice Programme Manager at the Barrow Cadbury Trust by Friday 5th January 2018 on [email protected]

A decision will be made by the end of January. We hope that the project would start in February 2018 and be completed within four months.

Appendix 1

The number of young adults aged 18-24 serving community sentences reduced by 40% in 5 years. In 2011, 54,262 young adults were serving either a community order or a suspended sentence order, accounting for 33% of all adults serving community sentences. In 2016, this dropped to 31,846, 25% of the total.

In prison, there was a 31% drop in number of young adults aged 18-24 in prison between 30 June 2011 and 30 June 2017. In 2011, 21,974 young adults aged 18-24 were in prison (26% of the total prison population), while in 2017 the number had reduced to 14,963 (17% of total).

These and other statistics can be found at