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Criminal Justice Programme

Criminal Justice

Through its Criminal Justice Programme, Barrow Cadbury Trust’s principal aim is to strengthen the evidence base for practical, structural change for young adults and women and increase the criminal justice system’s ability to support their rehabilitation and desistance from crime. It will be expected that all projects funded by the Trust in this programme will include a focus on gender and race, and wherever possible these projects will seek to enable the voices of those directly affected to be heard. We convene and support the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance, a coalition of 13 of the leading organisations in criminal justice, youth and health sectors. T2A identifies best practice and campaigns for a more effective criminal justice system for young adults.


Programme Theory of Change:


The criminal justice system was, and remains, principally designed to respond to crimes committed by men. Although a separate approach to children has been successfully developed over time, the system still fails to adequately account for the distinct needs and contexts of other groups in society, such as young adults, women, those from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. Changes are needed in policy and practice. To achieve this, a better evidence base of where the system is failing, and what can be done to change it, is required.


By funding and disseminating research, policy and good practice, and by campaigning with others for change, the Trust can influence the organisations that comprise the criminal justice system to implement the evidence, improve the way that services are designed, and support it to deliver better social and economic outcomes.

To date we have:

  • Developed a robust case, and advocated for, a more effective approach to young adults at all stages of the criminal justice system. This has been achieved through research, pilot projects and work to support practitioners and policy makers. This programme of work is set out more fully on the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) website;
  • Supported initiatives that highlight the additional challenges faced by women involved in the criminal justice system; and
  • Supported projects that highlight the over-representation of people from BAME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority) and Muslim communities at all stages of the criminal justice system, challenging policy-makers to do more to address this growing trend.

Our objectives for the next five years are:

  • Continue the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) initiative, to deepen the evidence base for effective, distinct approaches for young adults throughout the criminal justice system, using the multi-stage ‘T2A Pathway’ framework from point of arrest to prison resettlement.
  • To support initiatives that focus on gender and race within a criminal justice context, primarily with the T2A age group (18-25). The Trust will support initiatives that focus on the distinct needs of girls and women involved in crime, with an emphasis on early intervention, and further work to highlight and address the disproportionate over-representation of young BAME and Muslim men at all stages of the criminal justice system.
  • To amplify the voices of those within the criminal justice system who are less frequently listened to by decision-makers, including young adults who have experienced the criminal justice system. The Trust will also support projects that highlight parts of the system that are infrequently scrutinised, contentious, or rarely discussed, unacknowledged or about which little is known.

In 2016-17 we are particularly interested in the following areas:

  • Policy and research projects to support the ongoing development of the T2A evidence base, with a particular emphasis on promoting practical improvements at the policing, courts and probation stages of the T2A Pathway;
  • Projects that highlight specific issues faced by young adults involved in crime, such as leaving care, unemployment and housing;
  • Research and demonstration projects that focus particularly on the distinct needs of young adult women involved in the criminal justice system (as opposed to men, girls and older women)
  • Research and policy projects that highlight the over-representation of young black and Muslim people involved in crime;
  • Work that enables the voices of young adults affected by the criminal justice system to be heard by policy makers, commissioners and service leaders; and
  • Research that shines a light on dark corners of the criminal justice system.

The Barrow Cadbury Trust has strong historic links to the Birmingham and Black Country area and, in addition to the above, in Birmingham and the Black Country we are interested in supporting:

  • Initiatives that bring together policy-makers, practitioners and the voluntary sector to promote good practice in relation to young adults, women and BAME communities involved in the criminal justice system.


Making an application


If you think the work you are looking for support for fits Barrow Cadbury Trust’s Criminal Justice programme objectives, criteria and theory of change please complete an enquiry form.  We will aim to respond to your enquiry within 10 working days.  If you have already discussed your project with us and we have asked you to fill in an application form please do so here.