New Maturity Practice Guide for Criminal Justice Professionals

Posted on Monday 22nd July 2013

Taking account of maturityThe Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance and the University of Birmingham have today published a new guide for probation practitioners to help them take account of maturity when completing an assessment of needs and risks for young adult offenders aged 18-24.

Earlier this year, the practice guide was trialled with the two largest probation areas; London Probation Trust and Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust. It was found that, by using the guide, probation staff could strengthen the quality and effectiveness of Pre-Sentence Reports (PSRs) and proposals to sentencers. As well as explaining what maturity means in a criminal justice context, the guide poses a series of questions that will help practitioners to make a sound judgement about a young adult’s level of maturity.

Since 2011, adult sentencing guidelines published by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales have stated that consideration should be given to ‘lack of maturity’ as a potential mitigating factor in sentencing decisions for adults. Furthermore, in 2013 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) issued a new Code of Conduct which for first time included maturity as a factor for consideration of culpability as part of its public interest test. These changes to policy and practice have significant implications for agencies working with young adult offenders throughout the criminal justice process, including the police, the CPS, the probation service, sentencers and practitioners delivering services.

In July, the Probation Chiefs Association (PCA) held a round-table on young adults in the criminal justice system at which the guide was welcomed by practitioners and policy-makers.

The maturity practice guide (funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust as part of its T2A programme) is intended to be used in conjunction with the Offender Assessment System (OASys) tool.

More information

Download the Guide and the background notes below:

If you would like any further information about the T2A Maturity Practice Guide, please contact maturity-iass@contacts.bham.ac.uk.