Too many people go to prison… too many leave with little or no skills. With 48% of those discharged from custody reoffending within a year, the rate is far too high. This revolving door serves no one and it does not help to cut crime. If we want prisoners not to reoffend, we need to rehabilitate them. The evidence and common sense suggest that prisoners who go into work after they leave prison are less likely to reoffend. Secretary of State for Justice 2019
There is a well-established link between childhood adversity and criminalisation. Many young adult offenders have grown up in disadvantaged communities, been exposed to chaotic home lives, or may have experienced poor schooling and made an early exit from the education system with few qualifications and little prospect of work.
25% of young adults are not engaged in employment, training or education.
They then find themselves surrounded by their peers with similar frustrations as they are pushed out to the margins of society. Yet they want to belong to a community, they want to have a sense of identity, to have friendship, to have status, to have money, so they are drawn into local groups and street gangs and the dangerous world of drug dealing and county lines, before finding themselves in the ‘clearing house’ of the criminal justice system.
Young adults typically commit a high volume of crimes, there are currently 13,496 young adults in prison, accounting for 16% of the total prison population, where they are overrepresented in incidents of violence, perpetrating 38% of assaults and becoming victims of 31% of them.
Young adults tend to spend more time locked in their cells, have poorer outcomes in relation to access to purposeful activity such as education and training, and have substantially higher rates of reoffending than older adult offenders.
Reoffending costs the tax payer £15 billion a year.
The majority of young adults trapped in crime want to change, they want to live crime free and they are also the most likely age group to stop offending as they mature.
The AP Foundation’s 5-step Pathway offers young adult offenders a unique and innovative way out from their life of crime.
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Young adult offenders often relate to those who have ‘walked in their shoes’, those who have the lived experience of the criminal justice system. The AP Foundation believe that the ex-offender community has an important role to play in resettlement and rehabilitation.
Arts, culture and media programmes are also an effective way of engaging difficult to engage young adult people in productive activities connected with their leisure interests, developing their vocational and transferable employment skills, boosting their employability and reducing re-offending.