The unit costs and benefits included in this analysis refer to:

  • The cost of diversion. That is, the cost of diverting young adult offenders away from the criminal justice system or into different paths through the criminal justice system.
  • The cost of the alternative sentences. That is, the cost of community orders instead of custody, or RJ conferencing instead of community orders.
  • The economic impact of changes in re-offending both during and after sentence. The economic impact of a crime includes the cost to the criminal justice system of responding to a crime, the healthcare costs of treating the victim of a crime, the victim’s financial cost of a crime, and the pain and suffering experienced by the victim of a crime. It does not include the cost of the loss of income due to having a criminal record. 

....This analysis provides evidence that is crucial to informing decisions and ensuring that public resources are used in the most effective way possible. Such evidence is already routinely applied in decisions on whether to provide drugs on the NHS, and it is important that similar high standards of evidence generation are also applied in criminal justice. 

The analysis was commissioned by Barrow Cadbury to evidence-base some of the recommendations produced by the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance in their 2009 report, A New Start: Young Adults in the Criminal Justice System7. This report makes the case for a wholesale shift in the way the Government works with young adults in, and at risk of becoming involved with, the criminal justice system. This shift requires more than tinkering around the edges of the system. Instead, it asks for a cross-departmental, in-depth look at vulnerable young people aged 18 to 24 involved in the criminal justice system, and a commitment to finding effective ways of working with these young adults in trouble to help them move away from crime.

Read the whole report.