“Taking account of Maturity” a new Transition to Adulthood (T2A) practice guide launched

 “Taking Account of Maturity”: Barrow Cadbury Trust message:

“The new T2A Practice Guide for probation practitioners: ‘Taking Account of Maturity’ was launched on Monday 22nd July.

We are hoping that all probation and YOT practitioners involved in writing Pre-Sentence Reports will receive it, which may be around 10,000 individuals. We have so far had requests from 5 Probation Trusts, totalling 2,000 copies.

For a free copy of the Guide, you can download it from 22 July from www.t2a.org.uk/maturityguide

Max Rutherford, Criminal Justice Programme Manager

Barrow Cadbury Trust,

Taking account of maturity: A background note on the Guide for probation practitioners

This guide has been developed by the Institute for Applied Social Studies at the University of Birmingham, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust as part of its Transition to Adulthood (T2A) programme (www.t2a.org.uk). Its content is based on the latest research and is a product of three years of work by T2A on the issue of maturity and criminal justice. The authors of the guide are grateful to London Probation Trust and Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust for piloting of the draft guide for a period of three months with pre-sentence report (PSR) writers.


Recent research has shown that understanding maturity as it affects the behaviour of young adults (aged 18-24) helps probation service staff and other criminal justice professionals make more rounded and impactful assessments, resulting in better informed sentences and more effective programmes of intervention.

In recognition of the growing evidence base for taking account of maturity at all stages of the criminal justice process, adult sentencing guidelines published by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales since 2011 have stated that consideration should be given to ‘lack of maturity’ as a potential mitigating factor in sentencing decisions for adults. Furthermore, since early 2013, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in its new Code of Conduct, has for the 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 particular relevance to the police, the CPS, the probation service, sentencers and practitioners delivering services for young adult offenders.

How can the Guide help practitioners? This Guide is intended to enable probation practitioners, using the OASys tool as part of their assessment and pre-sentence report writing, to recognise and obtain evidence that a young adult’s level of maturity may be relevant to their offending behaviour. By helping practitioners reach a professional judgment about maturity, informed by up-to-date research and theory, The Guide equips will help to strengthen their analysis and proposals in PSRs as well as the initial sentence and supervision planning process.

IASS at the University of Birmingham

The Institute of Applied Social Studies is an internationally leading centre for research, teaching and learning. Its research seeks to explore how policy and practice can contribute to making a difference to people’s lives – particularly those who may face disadvantage or social exclusion. The Institute draws together expertise from across the fields of social policy, social work and community justice and has extensive experience of undertaking commissioned research for a wide range of funders including Government departments, charitable trusts and third sector organisations.

The T2A Alliance

The Transition to Adulthood Alliance is a coalition of 12 criminal justice, health and youth organisations, which identifies and promotes more effective ways of working with young adults throughout the criminal justice process. Convened by the Barrow Cadbury Trust (BCT) since 2008, its membership encompasses Addaction, Catch22, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Clinks, the Criminal Justice Alliance, the Howard League for Penal Reform, Nacro, the Prince’s Trust, the Prison Reform Trust, Revolving Doors Agency, the Young Foundation, and YoungMinds.



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