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T2A Chair, Leroy Logan, blogs about the relevance and importance of Spark Inside’s new report, Being Well, Being Equal. This blog was initially posted on the T2A website.

“I was quite positive when I went inside and I think the system strips you of that. And once it has been stripped you then have the issue of well, trying to get that back and they are not putting support in place to rebuild that.” (Young adult, Being Well Being Equal Report)

When we see young adults in the criminal justice system solely as people to be punished, we deny them the opportunity to forge a better future. We rob them of their full potential. If we don’t rehabilitate young adults at this crucial juncture in their development, the desistance process becomes much more complex after the age of 25 due to the “scarring effect” of “new adversities which are emergent in adulthood” (University of Edinburgh Study March 2022).

Prisons should focus on the rehabilitation of every individual. Young adults who are given the chance to grow, develop and realise their potential during their time in prison are less likely to reoffend – and more likely to positively contribute to society.  This is exemplified in a new report from Spark Inside. Its detailed paper Being Well, Being Equal contains a comprehensive list of recommendations on how we can prioritise the wellbeing of young men, and particularly young Black men in the criminal justice system. Spark Inside’s recommendations could not be more timely when we consider the scale of the challenges young adults face.

A 2021 thematic report from HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMIP) on the outcomes of young adults in custody stated: “if action is not taken, outcomes for this group and society will remain poor for the next decade and beyond.” The December 2022 HMIP thematic review into the experiences of adult black male prisoners and black prison staff found that lack of trust in prison staff was a significant barrier to asking for support.

“Prisoners generally had low expectations of the help that they might be given if they needed support; some gave examples of times when they or friends had sought support and not received it, and others did not feel that staff had the cultural sensitivity, expertise or experience to help them, and therefore did not want to ask for help.” (HMIP, 2022)

This places young Black men in the criminal justice system in an incredibly vulnerable position – one where they feel unable to seek help from the very people who have a duty of care to keep them safe.

The evidence is clear. We must act now. But where to start? Spark Inside believes we need to listen to the voices and experiences of young adults and the organisations that advocate on their behalf. Involving Black-led and Black specialist organisations in the development of wellbeing strategies will lead to greater engagement and trust on both sides – creating an approach to young Black men’s mental health and wellbeing that considers their distinct needs.

Empowering young adults to play a role in shaping policy and practice is also key. Being able to actively participate in matters that have a huge impact on their lives will boost their self-confidence, self-esteem, sense of agency, and wellbeing. Spark Inside have rightly identified that training and coaching will be vital to see through the report’s recommendations.

Many prison and probation officers want to do more to support young adults, but they don’t have the resources, time or support. HMPPS ringfencing time for staff to receive specialist training will help them understand how to effectively meet the needs of young adults – leading to more open and positive relationships. It will also help people working across the prison estate to explore and challenge discriminatory attitudes towards young adults, particularly young Black adults.

Right now, with organisations like Spark Inside working directly with young adults, we have a chance to create a criminal justice system that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. A system where young adults can gain the skills and confidence they need to thrive. A system where every young adult can unlock their full potential. But we need to grab this chance with both hands if we are to ever make it a reality.


This blog by Sophie Kenny, Researcher at Centre for Social Justice’s Criminal Justice Unit, was originally published on CSJ’s website on 13 March to tie in with the launch of its report ‘The Golden Thread: putting family at the heart of the criminal justice system.  We are cross-posting it here with their kind permission.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of familial relationships. For many of us, the defining memory of this period is how little we could see, chat to, or hug our loved ones. While technology helped us to overcome the distance that separated us, the quality of these interactions paled in comparison to the physical contact we were used to.

Yet, this bleak experience remains a reality for a particular cohort of people. Families with a relative in custody continue to endure the challenge of separation from their loved ones day-in and day-out. Often, their daily experience is marked by a longing for the next point of connection, whether it be through a phone call or a face to-face visit.

Challenges for families

However, this is just one of the many challenges that families who are supporting a relative through the criminal justice system face. From the moment of their relative’s arrest through to release, families become entangled in a complex system which are they forced to navigate with little to no external support. Regardless of the crime committed, many families expend huge amounts of time, energy and money maintaining their relationship with their relative inside. This level of support can be all-consuming, whether it be for the father who attends court each day despite the impact it has on his mental health, the grandparent who picks up the child from school after their primary caregiver has been sentenced, or the wife who drives for hours every weekend so that her child can see their father in prison.

Arguably, no one suffers the effects of imprisonment more than children. An estimated 312,000 children are separated from their parents by imprisonment each year. As a result, each of these children will be at increased risk of psychological, economic and social harm, yet there is currently no nationally recorded or published data on the number of individuals who pass through the criminal justice system with dependent children. Critically, there is also no process for these children to be identified and therefore supported at the point of imprisonment. This, in our view, is a national scandal.

The impact on children

During the course of our research, we heard several accounts of children being left to live on their own after their primary carer was given a custodial sentence. In one case, Leo, a 16-year-old boy, lived alone for several months in his family home without any external support when his mother was sent to prison. As his father had passed away several years before, Leo relied on his mother’s bank cards to buy food and cover the household expenses. Leo did not confide in anyone that he was living alone. Instead, he told his neighbours that his mother was working away. Before Leo was identified by police and referred to a voluntary sector organisation in the community, he struggled to sleep at night and was extremely anxious.

Stories like Leo’s are why the Centre for Social Justice believes that the Government must act to safeguard children affected by imprisonment. We have proposed a mechanism of identification and referral that will ensure there are multiple touchpoints during arrest and sentencing to pick up every child that requires support when their primary caregiver has been sent to custody.

In total, this report makes 22 recommendations which set out a vision for a more compassionate and trauma-informed criminal justice system that responds to the needs of prisoners’ families. These include ensuring that all family members, such as stepparents and grandparents, can access family days in prison and measures to ensure families are supported to come together again after imprisonment, if it is safe and in in the best interests of both the family and the prison leaver to do so.

Families can play a critical role in supporting the rehabilitation of prisoners. However, no longer can families be expected to bear this burden alone. It is time that families are valued for the gift that they are to the system, and afforded the support they so desperately need. In the words of one interviewee, we must look at ‘the impact of that trauma on affected others. If we don’t deal with that, we are just setting in motion another cycle of pain, hurt and addiction.’

Jessica Southgate, Policy Manager at Agenda for Women and Girls at Risk, blogs about its new campaign.  This blog was originally posted on the Agenda website

“They should have dealt with things properly. They should have listened to what I had said…I wouldn’t have gone through the things that I went through.” – Sheena

Girls and young women facing the greatest forms of inequality and disadvantage are frequently marginalised, ignored and misunderstood. Girls facing a combination of problems – like abuse and violence, mental health problems, conflict with the law, addiction or having no safe place to call home – are often overlooked in policy and services designed to meet young people’s needs, and we hear little about the reality of their experiences.

Time and again, youth policies, reviews and strategies fail to recognise the different and gendered experiences and needs of girls and boys. The Government’s Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision Green Paper, for example, makes no mention of girls – despite the NHS’s own research showing that young women (aged 17-19) are a high-risk group for mental health problems.

Even where it is recognised that girls face poorer outcomes or face additional vulnerabilities that might mean they face further risk, their needs are rarely given the attention they deserve. The Timpson Review of School Exclusion found girls in care were much more likely to be excluded than those not in care – a much clearer trend than in boys. And despite the Charlie Taylor Youth Justice System noting the extreme vulnerability of girls in custody, the Government has no clear plan to address girls needs in the criminal justice system.

Government and the media tend to report on issues affecting disadvantaged young people as though these primarily affect boys, and in many cases the way girls are affected is overlooked. We regularly see models of provision, support and sanctions built around young men’s lives. This is particularly true where girls are in the minority, such as the criminal justice system and pupil referrals units, or where their experiences might be more hidden, such as with intimate partner violence. Overall this means girls are easier to overlook, which translates directly into what gets measured, how policy is designed, who gets heard and what gets funded on the ground.

We need to shift to a more gendered understanding of ‘risk’ and ‘harm’ as it affects young people and wider society. As girls are more likely to be a risk to themselves than to others, for example by self-harming of developing eating disorders, we often don’t see their pain and struggles. If we continue to only think about externalised behaviours such as getting in fights or acting out in school (in themselves also often expressions of trauma), we fail to see the true extent of problems affecting girls.

Unseen and left without help, girls may go on face other problems, coming to the attention of other services such as children’s social care around concerns about their own children, or as adult survivors of childhood exploitation facing the legacy of trauma. The fact that many services working with adult women say the needs of their beneficiaries are increasing, becoming more entrenched and more complex, suggests we aren’t getting things right at an earlier enough stage for girls and young women.

Sadly, we hear similar experiences to the words of Sheena all too often. Girls telling us that they haven’t been seen, understood or helped to fulfill their potential. Which is why Agenda is launching a new programme of work to uncover girl’s lived realities, and generate solutions for change. By growing the evidence base on girls needs and experiences, working with girls to identify what works and what’s needed, and engaging with those in positions of power and influence to put this into practice, we aim to bring about the change girls tell us they want.

If you work with girls and young women facing disadvantage, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch with [email protected] to find out more and be part of this work.


The following blog by Criminal Justice Alliance’s Director, Nina Champion, is cross-posted from CJA’s website.  

For those of you looking for an addition to your summer reading list, I have a strong recommendation – ‘You are what you read’ by Jodie Jackson.[i] Jackson, a partner at the Constructive Journalism Project[ii] and one of this year’s CJA Media Awards judges, has spent the last decade researching the psychological impact of the news, finding a negativity bias in reporting that leads to a sense of ‘crisis’ and lack of hope amongst readers.

The NCVO Constructive Voices project highlighted the 2019 Digital News Report, which showed nearly a third of people say they actively avoid the news because it has a negative effect on their mood and they feel powerless to change events.[iii] Constructive Journalism sets itself apart from this, remaining critical, but also seeking to foster conversation, hope and action.

Within criminal justice reporting a negativity bias is all too apparent. Of course, the multitude of issues plaguing the criminal justice system invite criticism, and raising the public’s awareness of the challenges is important. But Jackson argues that explaining the possible solutions is also vital.

The 2017 report Reframing Crime and Justice[iv] also highlighted ‘It’s commonly thought that there is little government or society can do to reduce crime. Communications that dwell on the problems of the criminal justice system, but do not suggest solutions, will trigger fatalism.’  The annual CJA Awards help to combat this negativity by promoting the innovative and effective work of Outstanding Organisations and Outstanding Individuals across the country. (The 2019 awards are now open for nominations!)

The CJA also presents an award for Outstanding Journalism. This year we have worked with a group of experts including journalists, CJA members and people with lived experience to refresh the criteria and nominations process and ensure the award champions journalism that drives the conversation forward.

Why have we done this? Talking with CJA members last summer when developing our strategy[v], there was a recurring theme – the need to positively engage with the public debate about criminal justice and to change public opinion:

‘We need to change public opinion – it can be done. Look at public attitudes to smoking 25 years ago.’

‘The general public are key stakeholders. Rehabilitation is a shared responsibility. We need the public to help people re-connect and not be stigmatised.’

‘We need to leverage support from the public, to bring people with us.’

‘This sector tends to preach to the converted, not those who need to be convinced.’

It became clear that a key element of achieving the CJA’s vision of a fair and effective criminal justice system is through influential communications with the public through the media.  Inspired by the Mind Media Awards good practice criteria for mental health reporting,[vi] the CJA’s expert group has developed our own good practice criteria for criminal justice reporting, drawing on constructive journalism and reframing principles. The criteria[vii] include:

  • Show what works, not just what is broken.
  • Include ‘hidden’ voices and issues.
  • Challenge myths and avoid stereotypes, clichés, negative terminology and sensationalism.
  • Portray individuals’ experiences authentically, humanely and sensitively.
  • Set individuals’ experiences within a wider social policy context.
  • Influence and inspire people to think differently, care about the issue and take positive action.

We will promote these principles to the sector and media through our awards and we also plan to work with the National Union of Journalists to produce more detailed guidance on criminal justice reporting.  This is a timely piece of work because of the growing interest in the role of the media on public perceptions of criminal justice. For example, the London Violence Reduction Unit’s new strategy includes an objective to ‘change the message around violence’ as they recognise that ‘the way in which issues are represented by the media […] shapes our views and as a result, can shape our behaviour.’

Our expert group also recognised the growing volume and quality of digital media including blogs, vlogs and podcasts, which often allow individuals to bypass traditional media outlets and to develop their own criminal justice related content. We are therefore excited to introduce a new Outstanding Digital Media Champion category to celebrate and promote the growing importance of these mediums.

The judges for the 2019 Media Awards are: Danny Shaw (BBC Home Affairs Correspondent), Raphael Rowe (Reporter for Netflix, the One Show and Panorama), Penelope Gibbs (Author of Reframing Crime and Justice), Jodie Jackson (Constructive Journalism Project) and Nadine Smith (CJA trustee).

For more information about the CJA Media Awards and how to nominate or email [email protected]








A distinct approach to young adults is tough on crime and a high-return investment, says Max Rutherford Criminal Justice Programme Manager at Barrow Cadbury Trust

Three years ago, six projects set out to demonstrate the effectiveness of a ‘whole pathway’ approach to young adults involved in crime – from point of arrest to release from prison. Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) independent evaluation of this ‘T2A Pathway’, published today, tells the story of these projects from design to delivery during a time when local services faced unprecedented turmoil and austerity.

It highlights the extraordinary resilience, flexibility and skill of voluntary sector organisations in meeting the needs of society’s most vulnerable people, turning young lives around and pulling them back from the brink of a life of crime, self-harm, addiction and, for many, an early death.

A distinct approach to young adults that is tough on crime

What the T2A Pathway delivered was unequivocally “tough on crime”. There’s nothing soft about intervening to calm down a young man wielding a samurai sword in a park full of children. There’s nothing fluffy about coming to the aid of a brain-injured young man who, every day, sits naked on a bridge and threatens to thrown himself off. It’s not a charitable nicety to secure a safe place to live for a teenage mother and her new-born child who are both at high risk of sexual and physical abuse.

Commissioning services for 16-25 year olds that enable them to address their behaviour and turn their lives around is not do-gooding – it’s a high-return investment. No other age group is more likely to desist from crime, and no other group of adults has as much life still ahead of them. All of the 414 young people supported by the projects were causing harm to their communities (three quarters already had criminal records) and even more harm to themselves.

The evaluation is further evidence of the unmatchable value to people with complex needs of relationship-based, intensive support. This doesn’t mean services that are either high-cost or slow – quite the opposite. Services were described as “quicker” and “tailor made”, in comparison to statutory provision.

Benefits to other agencies

Of course, the work of projects like these benefits criminal justice agencies – reducing offending, avoiding breach and increasing compliance – all big wins for the police, courts, probation and prisons. It saves money, reduces crime and, perhaps most persuasive, saves these agencies precious time. As a police borough commander put it to me in conversation, “these projects help us spend more time catching bad guys”.

Yet it’s a direct benefit to other agencies too – mental health services (many of which have raised their thresholds to unreachable heights for young people) won’t have to pick up the pieces of acute crises; social care and child protection services won’t have to take as many children into care.

Gender and race

Nearly a third of the young adults supported by the projects were female, and one project was women-only. These teenage and young adult women had even more needs than the young men: 63% had experienced abuse, rape or domestic violence, and 15% had been involved in sex work. The evaluation reports great additional benefit from a gender-specific approach within the young adult focus.

A third of the young adults were BAME, with a higher rate in the prison-based projects than the community-based projects. A concern arising from the evaluation is disproportionately low levels of referral of young BAME men, in particular, by statutory agencies to voluntary sector services -, raising questions about the ability to meet the cultural, faith and ethnicity needs of this group -compared to referrals of young white men.


The most effective projects shared some common features in their structure and design, such as having a clearly defined distinct offer for young adults, strong partnerships in place from the beginning and a referral criteria and process that was co-designed by the project team and the referring agencies.

Sustainability of the projects beyond the pilot phase was universally tough at a time of continually shrinking budgets. Two projects were incorporated into the delivery model of a wider contract by the lead charity, two came to an end, and two secured further funding to carry on as they were. A reconviction study and economic analysis from MMU will conclude later this year, and be published in early 2018.

Wider impact

As a collective, T2A Pathway projects contributed evidence to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee’s inquiry on Young Adult Offenders, which concluded in 2016 that there is “overwhelming evidence” in support of a distinct approach to young adults throughout the criminal justice system. Professionals and young people from the projects spoke at national conferences and local events alongside politicians, Police and Crime Commissioners and senior officials. The projects took part in an array of pioneering research projects, including ones on brain injury, bereavement and race equality.

The projects’ legacy is still emerging, but it is clear they have already delivered immense impact, not only on the lives of hundreds of young people and their communities, but also on the people who work with them, and on those who make the policies.

This blog was written by Max Rutherford, Criminal Justice Programme Manager at the Barrow Cadbury Trust in response to the Final Process Evaluation report of the T2A Pathway. For more information email Max Rutherford.

The Transition to Adulthood Alliance (T2A) wholeheartedly welcomes the Justice Committee’s report of its Inquiry on Young Adult Offenders, and fully endorses its “blueprint” for a strategic approach to the treatment of young adults in the criminal justice system.

Reacting to the Committee’s unequivocal conclusion that that “there is overwhelming evidence that the criminal justice system does not adequately address the distinct needs of young adults” and that “there is a strong case for a distinct approach”, Joyce Moseley OBE, Chair of the T2A Alliance said:

“18-25-year-olds in the criminal justice system have a hugely untapped capacity to address their behaviour and permanently “grow out of crime”. But all of us – particularly victims, the young adults themselves and their communities – are being let down by a lack of strategy at the top that takes account of their distinct stage in life. For too long, successive governments have overlooked the value of a delivering a specific criminal justice approach for young adults, leaving it to a patchwork of pioneers on the ground to do their best to meet the particular needs of this age group.

“Now, having reviewed the extensive and authoritative body of evidence from disciplines including neuroscience, criminology and psychology, all of which support calls for a distinct approach for young adults, the Justice Committee has rightly called on the government to pursue a robust and bold agenda dedicated to enabling young adults who commit crime to turn their lives around. T2A looks forward to working with the Ministry of Justice and other agencies to implement the Committee’s landmark and visionary report in full and without delay.”

The Committee’s report includes a bold blueprint for a distinct approach to young adults throughout the criminal justice system, which it says is presented “in the light of the Government’s failure to act and in recognition of the weight and wealth of evidence provided to us in the course of our inquiry, as well as the overwhelming enthusiasm within the sector for change”.

The Committee’s proposals include:

  • That the prison sentence of ‘Detention in a Young Offender Institution’ (DYOIs) should be extended in forthcoming legislation to include all 18-25 year olds (it is currently restricted to those aged 18-20), and that various models of custody for young adults be piloted by the Ministry of Justice before any decision is made about long-term provision for this age group. T2A has campaigned strongly on both these points, in opposition to government proposals in 2013 to scrap the sentence of DYOI.
  • Distinct young adult courts should be piloted, which T2A is currently developing in five sites across England and Wales in partnership with the Centre for Justice Innovation (CJI).

The Committee recognised that young adults are over-represented in the criminal justice system and also at greater risk of being victims of crime.  Its strong recognition that many young adults in prison have faced additional challenges such as being in care (who make up around two fifths of young adults in prison) and experiencing brain injury (up to 70% of young people in prison), is particularly welcome and long overdue. T2A has worked with the Care Leavers’ Association to develop a national toolkit for young adult care leavers involved the criminal justice system, undertaken specific research and demonstration projects to show how young people with brain injuries in prison can be rehabilitated.

The Committee has specific recommendations relating to the fact that young black and Muslim men are disproportionately likely to end up in the criminal justice system (recognising the important contribution of Baroness Lola Young’s 2014 report), and rightly highlights that young women’s particular vulnerabilities and needs are different both to those of young men and older women and that they require a tailored response.

T2A also welcomes the Committee conclusion that all 18-25 year olds should be recognised as a distinct group, not just those within a criminal justice context, but also with regards to welfare, work, education and health.  T2A strongly agrees that there should be cross-governmental responsibility to enable young adults, particularly those who have faced challenge and difficulty to thrive.

Justice Committee website

T2A’s original submission to the Young Adult Offenders Inquiry

Ben Estep, Youth Justice Manager at Centre for Justice Innovation, puts forward  the case for the establishment of young adult courts


Going to court can be confusing, intimidating, and frustrating for anyone.  For young adults (aged 18 to 24), who make up roughly a third of people sentenced in criminal courts each year, these reactions are intensified.


Criminal justice interventions aimed at adults but applied to this age group often fail to prevent further offending.  In fact  young adults serving community orders have the highest breach rates. We believe these two facts are related.


Our courts can and should play a leading role in reducing crime and ensuring a fairer justice system. There is clear evidence that how decisions in court are made and how the process feels to participants (a concept known as procedural fairness) can be as important as the sentence itself to young people’s perceptions. A number of studies have demonstrated that defendants reporting high levels of procedural fairness are more likely to comply with court orders, to perceive laws and legal institutions as legitimate authorities, and to obey the law in the future. But we know that standard practice in adult courts generates a number of important barriers: the process can be difficult to understand and follow, intimidating, and leave participants feeling disengaged and unfairly treated. This is particularly important for young people, who are especially attuned to perceptions of unfairness and signs of respect.


In a new report, [Young adults in court: developing a tailored approach], we outline a number of feasible adaptations to standard court practice for young adults.  These include measures such as use of simplified language to aid participants’ understanding, taking steps to ensure the process is comprehended, encouraging family participation, and adapting the courtroom environment to make it more conducive to engagement. Taken together, we believe that these adaptations hold out the prospect of increasing perceptions of procedural fairness and improving rehabilitation for this distinct population.


Many of these changes are relatively modest.  And much of this practice already exists, at least in aspiration, in our youth courts.  Since the youth court was established by the Children Act 1908, we have learned much more about the variable and protracted development of the young brain, and undergone more than a century of social change. Today, a hard cut-off between jurisdictions based only on chronological age makes increasingly less sense.  Aspects of justice system practice in England and Wales have adjusted in recognition of this – for example, adult sentencing decisions include maturity as a mitigating factor, and the Crown Prosecution Service takes maturity into account as part of its public interest test. But this approach has not yet reached the court process itself.


In the course of our research, we spoke with many court stakeholders who inherently recognised a need to develop a tailored approach for young adults, and who were enthusiastic about delivering adapted practice.  The Lord Chancellor has recently lent his support to the concept of specialist “problem-solving” courts which would play a more active role in the process of rehabilitation. We hope that this may signal a willingness to allow interested areas to pilot new approaches.  To this end, in the next phase of this work, the Centre for Justice Innovation and the Transition to Adulthood Alliance are keen to work with a small number of courts to plan, implement, and evaluate pilot young adult court approaches. We believe that our courts can provide a better response to offending by young adults, and in so doing make a positive difference both to their lives and to our communities.


Centre for Justice Innovation

Miss Macaroon Community Interest Company (CIC) was started by Rosie Ginday, combining her passion for beautiful hand-crafted food, baking, and her desire to help disadvantaged young adults in her local area Birmingham.  Having trained to become a pastry chef at one of Birmingham’s four Michelin starred establishments, Rosie wanted to make the highly competitive Birmingham catering industry more accessible to marginalised young people from deprived areas of the city. Here the founder, a trustee, and a member of the team blog about the success of the Miss Macaroon model.

The Founder

“I set up Miss Macaroon in 2011 to bring together my passion for making the handed crafted delights that are French macaroons and providing supportive work placements for marginalised young people. Through a family member’s experience in the care system and chance encounters with a young homeless man in my home town I have always felt that I was extremely fortunate not to have been in a precarious situation myself. I dreamt of a business that combined my love of food, its power to create strong connections, a sense of community and nourish supportive relationships, throughout my time at school, university and abroad while setting up my first restaurant.

With help from amazing mentors, board members and University College Birmingham, where I did my catering training, I started producing our delicious French macaroons and ran a pilot training programme in 2011, out of which the Macaroons that Make A Difference programme emerged. To date we have worked with 17 of the most difficult to engage young people. I love making our beautiful product, quality control (taste) testing, and creating new flavours, but the thing that keeps me engaged after baking the 5000th macaroon of the day is seeing our newest member of staff practicing all of the skills he learnt on the first day he started the MacsMAD course. Initiative, time management, communication and team work are all improved by working in our kitchen. I’m really proud of the huge amount of hard work and commitment to learning and growing he has shown in working to get his apprenticeship and succeed in the Miss Macaroon kitchen, so much so that he is now called ‘Flash’!   With the support from Barrow Cadbury we can now increase the number of training placements, work experiences, mentor support sessions, and paid employment opportunities we can provide for young people who have been involved with the criminal justice system, who have been in care or found themselves homeless.

The new board member

Rosie Ginday’s Miss Macaroon has it all; exquisite hand-made French macaroons and a great cause. So when I was invited to join the board of this CIC I jumped at the chance. I’m very happy to help a project which supports young adults by providing work experience and practical help to guide them into work or education. It’s an exciting company and the energy and enthusiasm oozing from Rosie is highly infectious. She is a fantastic role model, not only for the young adults the organisation helps, but all SME business leaders, including me. Each time I attend a board meeting or catch up with Rosie in between time, I inevitably reflect back on how I can improve my own business. The Board consists of a group of experienced SME leaders with a wealth of experience across all aspects of business and it’s always interesting to get their perspective. However the most rewarding aspect is knowing (hoping!) I can play a small part in improving the work and educational opportunities for some young people. This was brought home to the board recently when one young man who had been given a short term contract at Miss Macaroon came to speak to us about his experience. He was confident, happy and had certainly soaked up some of Rosie’s enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to meet him and confirmed for me the real value of this worthwhile organisation.   I also get to eat some of the product; a perfect indulgence!

The newest full-time member of the team and beneficiary

My name is Zee and I’m 25 years old. I’m a trainee pastry chef doing an apprenticeship at Miss Macaroon. I work in the kitchen and prepare macaroons. I do a lot of the filling, packaging and baking.   When I was in a hostel last January I came across a flyer advertising the MacsMAD course as an opportunity to learn new skills. I had been unemployed for four years so the course was a good opportunity to readjust to a working environment and meet new people. I saw the flyer and thought it was something worth engaging with so I applied to get involved in the MacsMAD course. I met Rosie who helped me as mentor and gave me an introduction in to the catering industry. I also gained my food hygiene qualification. My confidence grew throughout the process. I stayed in touch with Rosie who encouraged me to get some work experience.

I was offered the opportunity to get some experience one day a week and grow in the industry. After that I got offered a position. I then went on to do three days a week. It’s been a good transition I guess to start off on one day then three days, and finally on full time hours. There hasn’t been pressure – I’ve gradually been allowed to fit in. It’s been easier than just going straight in to full time work which would have been a bit more pressure if I hadn’t had the chance to develop the way I have.   I was asked to speak at a board meeting in July and I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit nervous but excited too. I definitely learned a different side of business and how this is a crucial part, how different minds and skills come together to improve the company. I felt privileged to be involved and it will be great to put on my CV. The opportunity was good for me to express myself about my experience at Miss Macaroon. It reassured me that I wasn’t judged. It was a good experience – definitely something positive to take forward in life. I learnt more about everyone’s roles and more about management.

Miss Macaroon has helped me to get a job in catering. It’s helped with skills, confidence, direction, focus and determination. It’s given me the opportunity to be part of something positive and constructive and to appreciate what skills are required in the work place. Rosie is a good motivator so my confidence has grown. Setting goals is now part of the way I work which I didn’t do before and that’s because of the five year plan we have put in place.

Find out more about Miss Macaroon on their website.   Twitter: @IamMissMacaroon Facebook: MissMacaroonCIC

Anton Shelupanov talks about StreetCraft, the Centre for Justice Innovation’s new book, and StreetCraft Scholarships

On 19 February in a small cafe run by former homeless people and ex prisoners in the East End of London, Criminal Justice Innovations recently launched a book and a support programme. The book is called StreetCraft – and it tells the true stories of dozens of amazing people who have gone against the grain and attempted to do something new within the criminal justice system. The support programme – StreetCraft Scholarships – will assist the next generation of people like those who contributed to the book, to make their innovative ideas for improving the lives of victims, making communities safer, and ‘resocialising’ offenders, a reality.


The book took many months to put together, not least because the innovation world is uncertain and the criminal justice world can move both very fast and painfully slow. Over the course of putting the book together we spoke to over thirty justice pioneers, twenty nine of whom were eventually featured in the book. Two of these worked on the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) pilot projects, demonstrating the importance of focusing on a young person’s maturity level rather than deciding whether to treat them as an adult or child based on some arbitrary age cut-off point. Their experiences, like of many others we spoke to, show how important it is to forge the right alliances early on and have early stage support  when you are trying to improve aspects of criminal justice practice which your professional judgement tells you aren’t working all that well.


This is one of the reasons the Centre for Justice Innovation has launched the StreetCraft Scholarships, in partnership with the Young Foundation and Clinks. We believe that the brilliant people who opened up to us and the world, by participating in the book, are right. There is a wealth of innovative ideas and capacity for innovation in the criminal justice world. And there are many creative passionate people working in the sector, who want to make things better. But the gap lies at the very early stage, when an idea is first formed and it needs to be developed to prove that it can fly. Big criminal justice delivery agencies aren’t always so great at nurturing the innovations brought to the table by ‘StreetCrafters’, and even those which are don’t always have the right alliances to ensure the right reach, support and embedding in the community.


We are not claiming that the StreetCraft Scholarship will change all of that overnight. But we do hope to keep proving, as we did in the book, and as smart funders like the Barrow Cadbury Trust prove through high impact collaborative initiatives as the T2A Alliance, those who want to innovate in the sector, driven by their sense of social mission, are not alone. If you would like to read some truly engaging and sometimes moving stories of people trying to make the world a better place, you can download the book for free here. And if you know such a person and feel they may need a bit of support in taking their practice-led idea to the next level, please send them our way.