A new generation of revolving door

Burcu Borysik

New data obtained by Revolving Doors Agency under the Freedom of Information legislation reveals that:

  • Over half of all reoffences committed by young adults are theft and summary non-motoring offences.
  • Young adults whose index offences are theft and summary non-motoring offences also have the highest rates of reoffending in the same category as their index offence.
  • Theft creates the highest level of churn of repeat offences in the same category, with a ratio of 994 reoffences per 1,000 reoffenders.
  • This rate is strikingly above any other crime category. It is 12 times higher than repeated possession of a weapon (for example carrying knives) and 6 times higher than repeated violence against a person.   

These new figures expose the difference in demand created by young adults committing more serious and sometimes violent crime and the group often called ‘the revolving door’ who commit persistent low-level offences driven by a combination of needs stemming from complex trauma and poverty. These repeated, non-violent offences drive demand for our police, courts and justice system but are driven by underlying, unaddressed need.

The volume and churn of young adults who are sucked into the criminal justice system for relatively minor offences highlights the need for a radical new approach. The current failing approach resulted in the proportion of people with a history of repeat offending reaching at its highest ever level, accounting for nearly two fifths of all offenders.

This stark evidence comes at the same time as Revolving Doors publish an evidence briefing “New Generation” highlighting the critical role of Police and Crime Commissioners and police services in preventing the new generation of young adults entering the revolving door. The report brings together new perspectives on characteristics and needs of young adults entering the revolving door.

Revolving Doors Agency is also pleased to announce that they are offering bespoke consultancy and intensive on the ground support for five areas to kick-start local initiatives. These sites will benefit from their research, lived experience, policy, and service design expertise. Their support, which will be free of charge, can help Police and Crime Commissioners and their offices implement new strategies to support better options for young adults, such as deferred prosecutions or diversion schemes to keep young adults out of the criminal justice system.

Revolving Doors Chief Executive Christina Marriott said:

Yet again we see a whole new generation of young adults being pulled into the depths of criminal justice system. If we are to have less crime, fewer victims and safer communities, we must respond to the reality of the young adults who are already in contact with the criminal justice system.  Overwhelmingly, their reality is a life built on trauma and poverty and very little support. The standard criminal justice response just keeps turns their lives from bad to worse.

As a society we should be demanding smarter policing responses as part of a more effective criminal justice system that makes reoffending less, and not more, likely.