Criminal Justice

The aim of this Programme is to strengthen the evidence base for structural and practical change for young adults and women to support rehabilitation and desistance from crime.

What are we trying to achieve?

The criminal justice system (CJS) focuses mainly on responding to crimes committed by men. Although some progress has been made in the CJS for children, the distinct needs of young adults, women, and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are rarely taken into account. Changes are needed in policy and practice, backed up by evidence to show where the system is failing. By funding and disseminating research, policy and good practice, and by campaigning with others for change, we will influence CJS organisations using robust evidence to improve service design, and support it to achieve 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 CJS,  achieved through research, pilot projects and  supporting practitioners and policy makers.  Read about this work on the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) website;
  • Engaged with initiatives that shine a light on the additional challenges women involved (or at risk of involvement) in the CJS face, and supported organisations which advocate for those women; and
  • Contributed to projects that highlight the over-representation of people from BAME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority) and Muslim communities at all stages of the CJS, challenging policy-makers to do more to address this growing trend.

Our current objectives are:

  • Building on T2A’s evidence base for effective, distinct approaches for young adults from point of arrest to prison resettlement.
  • Generating and supporting initiatives that focus on gender and race within a criminal justice context: 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 people at all stages of the CJS;
  • Amplifying the voices of people with direct experience of the CJS who are less frequently heard and listened to by decision-makers; and supporting projects that shine a light on the parts of the CJS that are infrequently scrutinised or contentious.

Funding priorities 

We want to fund work that can influence national policy and practice.  We expect all projects we support to include voices or views of people involved in the CJS.  We are interested in:

  • Policy and research projects that add to our existing Transition to Adulthood (T2A) evidence base, in particular new work on policing, courts and probation stages of the ‘T2A Pathway’
  • Projects that address the specific challenges faced by young adults involved in crime (such as leaving care, or barriers to employment and housing).
  • Pilot projects or research that focus on the distinct needs of young adult women involved in the CJS
  • Projects that address the over-representation of young BAME or Muslim people in the CJS.
  • Projects that enable the voices of young adults and/or women and/or people from minority ethnic communities involved in the CJS to be heard by policy makers, commissioners and service leaders.

Funding in Birmingham

We have strong historic links to Birmingham and the surrounding area.  We are particularly interested in hearing from Birmingham-based organisations wishing to undertake projects that fit the criteria above with a view to influencing policy and practice in Birmingham and the surrounding area (or nationally).  In addition we wish to support projects in the Birmingham area that:

  • Support leadership capacity within key voluntary sector organisations so they can more readily speak truth to power;
  • Bring together policy-makers, practitioners and the voluntary sector to promote good practice within the CJS; and
  • Amplify the voices of young adults and/or women from Birmingham and the surrounding area who are involved in the CJS so they are heard by policy makers, commissioners and service leaders.

Making an application

If you think your work reflects the criteria above or you want to find out if it is eligible please complete an enquiry form  We will aim to respond to it within 10 working days.

Please only fill in an application form if you have already discussed your project with us and we have asked you to do so.

Specific exclusions

  • Direct provision of services to individuals unless there are clear plans for learning from the project to influence national (or local in the case of Birmingham-based projects) policy or practice
  • Start-up funding for Community Interest Companies or small businesses.
  • We rarely fund university research projects.  Where we do, it is either (a) work we commission ourselves as part of building our evidence base for social change, or (b) is in partnership with a voluntary sector or social change organisation where the research is part of a long-term programme of work aiming at the systems change our programme seeks to achieve.

Key Contacts

Laurie Hunte

Criminal Justice Programme Manager