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Examining the effectiveness of Gateway – an out-of-court community-based intervention to reduce recidivism and improve the health and well-being of young adults committing low-level offences: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

Examining the effectiveness of Gateway – an out-of-court community-based intervention to reduce recidivism and improve the health and well-being of young adults committing low-level offences: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.
Examining the effectiveness of Gateway – an out-of-court community-based intervention to reduce recidivism and improve the health and well-being of young adults committing low-level offences: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

Background: Young adult offenders represent a third of the UK prison population and are at risk of poor health outcomes including drug and alcohol misuse, self-harm and suicide. Court diversion interventions aim to reduce the negative consequences of formal criminal justice sanctions and focus resources on addressing the root causes of offending. Although diversions are widely used, evidence of their effectiveness has not yet been established. Hampshire Constabulary, working together with local charities, have developed the Gateway programme, an out-of-court intervention aimed at improving the life chances of young adults. Issued as a conditional caution, participants undertake a health and social care needs assessment, attend workshops encouraging analysis of own behaviour and its consequences and agree not to re-offend during the 16-week caution.

Methods: This is a pragmatic, multi-site, parallel-group, superiority randomised controlled trial with a target sample size of 334. Participants are aged 18–24, reside in Hampshire and Isle of Wight and are being questioned for an eligible low-level offence. Police investigators offer potential participants a chance to receive the Gateway caution, and those interested are also invited to take part in the study. Police officers obtain Stage 1 consent and carry out an eligibility check, after which participants are randomised on a 1:1 basis either to receive Gateway or follow the usual process, such as court appearance or a different conditional caution. Researchers subsequently obtain Stage 2 consent and collect data at weeks 4 and 16, and 1 year post-randomisation. The primary outcome is the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS). Secondary outcomes include health status, alcohol and drug use, recidivism and resource use. The primary analysis will compare the WEMWBS score between the two groups at 12 months.

Discussion: This pioneering trial aims to address the evidence gap surrounding diversion in 18–24-year-olds. The findings will inform law enforcement agencies, third sector organisations, policymakers and commissioners, as well as researchers working in related fields and with vulnerable target populations. Trial registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Register (ISRCTN 11888938).

Diversion, Mental health, Police, RCT, Recidivism, Reoffending, WEMWBS, Young adult offenders
1745-6215
Cochrane, A
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Booth, A
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Walker, Inna, Valerie
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Morgan, Sara
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Mitchell, A.
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Barlow-Pay, Megan
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Hewitt, C.
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Taylor, B.
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Chapman, C.
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Raftery, James
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Fleming, Jenny
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Torgerson, David
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Parkes, Julie
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Cochrane, A
0e3eb0e6-c171-4bdb-ab46-57aaf985e588
Booth, A
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Walker, Inna, Valerie
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Morgan, Sara
8ad10b7e-2005-4e93-9948-164a69489350
Mitchell, A.
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Barlow-Pay, Megan
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Hewitt, C.
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Taylor, B.
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Chapman, C.
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Raftery, James
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Fleming, Jenny
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Torgerson, David
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Parkes, Julie
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Cochrane, A, Booth, A, Walker, Inna, Valerie, Morgan, Sara, Mitchell, A., Barlow-Pay, Megan, Hewitt, C., Taylor, B., Chapman, C., Raftery, James, Fleming, Jenny, Torgerson, David and Parkes, Julie (2021) Examining the effectiveness of Gateway – an out-of-court community-based intervention to reduce recidivism and improve the health and well-being of young adults committing low-level offences: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 22 (1), [939]. (doi:10.1186/s13063-021-05905-2).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Young adult offenders represent a third of the UK prison population and are at risk of poor health outcomes including drug and alcohol misuse, self-harm and suicide. Court diversion interventions aim to reduce the negative consequences of formal criminal justice sanctions and focus resources on addressing the root causes of offending. Although diversions are widely used, evidence of their effectiveness has not yet been established. Hampshire Constabulary, working together with local charities, have developed the Gateway programme, an out-of-court intervention aimed at improving the life chances of young adults. Issued as a conditional caution, participants undertake a health and social care needs assessment, attend workshops encouraging analysis of own behaviour and its consequences and agree not to re-offend during the 16-week caution.

Methods: This is a pragmatic, multi-site, parallel-group, superiority randomised controlled trial with a target sample size of 334. Participants are aged 18–24, reside in Hampshire and Isle of Wight and are being questioned for an eligible low-level offence. Police investigators offer potential participants a chance to receive the Gateway caution, and those interested are also invited to take part in the study. Police officers obtain Stage 1 consent and carry out an eligibility check, after which participants are randomised on a 1:1 basis either to receive Gateway or follow the usual process, such as court appearance or a different conditional caution. Researchers subsequently obtain Stage 2 consent and collect data at weeks 4 and 16, and 1 year post-randomisation. The primary outcome is the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS). Secondary outcomes include health status, alcohol and drug use, recidivism and resource use. The primary analysis will compare the WEMWBS score between the two groups at 12 months.

Discussion: This pioneering trial aims to address the evidence gap surrounding diversion in 18–24-year-olds. The findings will inform law enforcement agencies, third sector organisations, policymakers and commissioners, as well as researchers working in related fields and with vulnerable target populations. Trial registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Register (ISRCTN 11888938).

Text
s13063-021-05905-2 - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 1 December 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 December 2021
Published date: 19 December 2021
Additional Information: The study is funded by the NIHR Public Health Research Programme, Ref 16/122/20. The intervention was funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and Isle of Wight for the first year and Hampshire Constabulary thereafter.
Keywords: Diversion, Mental health, Police, RCT, Recidivism, Reoffending, WEMWBS, Young adult offenders

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 453177
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/453177
ISSN: 1745-6215
PURE UUID: 83888222-ff8e-454c-b8e4-e384bcbf1390
ORCID for Jenny Fleming: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7913-3345
ORCID for Julie Parkes: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6490-395X

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Date deposited: 10 Jan 2022 18:00
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:06

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Contributors

Author: A Cochrane
Author: A Booth
Author: Inna, Valerie Walker
Author: Sara Morgan
Author: A. Mitchell
Author: Megan Barlow-Pay
Author: C. Hewitt
Author: B. Taylor
Author: C. Chapman
Author: James Raftery
Author: Jenny Fleming ORCID iD
Author: David Torgerson
Author: Julie Parkes ORCID iD

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