New mental health and substance misuse pilot to reduce reoffending by young adults

Young adults supervised by the probation service will receive specialist drug and mental health support at a new £3 million centre to reduce reoffending.

A new hub has been announced today (5 March 2021), piloting specialist support for 18-25 year olds under probation supervision with a range of specialist services including drug and mental health support.

The first-of-its-kind hub will be based at Newham Probation Office and has been developed by the Ministry of Justice and the Mayor for London’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).

Young adults have a particularly high risk of reoffending and are more likely to carry out drug, robbery and possession of weapons offences, and be caught up in gang crime.

Mental health and substance misuse experts will work alongside National Probation Service staff, as part of an innovative new approach ensuring vulnerable young adults, many of whom had troubled upbringings and poor education, receive the enhanced support they need.

Offenders released without a home or a job are significantly more likely to reoffend, so accommodation, training and employment services will also operate from the hub to help cut crime.

The Government says this support is already available but bringing this range of services under one roof and tackling these complex issues together at an early stage can prevent thousands of people becoming victims each year.

“It’s vital we do everything we can to prevent reoffending and give young people who have been through the criminal justice system the support they need to turn their lives around,” said London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Sophie Linden.

The pilot will launch in July and run until March 2023 for 18-25 year olds who are assessed as having low levels of maturity, as well as 17 year olds transitioning from the Youth Offending Service to adult probation.

The pilot will then be externally evaluated and, if a success at reducing reoffending and improving outcomes for this cohort, rolled out across the country.

All staff will receive specific training in the brain development of young people as part of the pilot.

Research shows young adults have distinct needs, which are different to both older adults and children, and treating them as a specific group will ensure the root causes of their offending are spotted and addressed earlier on in their development.

Today’s announcement follows news earlier this year of funding to support offenders into temporary accommodation upon release.

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