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Missed opportunities to take people out of justice’s revolving door

Revolving Doors aims to prevent the next generation of young people entering a cycle of punishment instead of help.

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The estimable Revolving Doors Agency celebrated its 25th birthday last week (18 October 2018) by publishing an important new report: 1,800,000 Missed Opportunities showing the extent of the revolving door.

New analysis by the charity has found that last year 60,000 cautions or convictions for minor offences were given to people who had offended 11 or more times. The data reveals that these individuals had a total of over 1.8 million previous sentencing occasions where the criminal justice system failed to provide an effective intervention when they were dealt with for similar minor offences in order to prevent or to break the cycle of personal crisis and crime.

The report sets out the charity’s ambition to prevent the next generation of young people entering this cycle.

Drawing on a range of evidence, including from 2,500 people with lived experience, the report highlights the combined impact of childhood trauma, poverty and structural disadvantages on causing and perpetuating this negative cycle. 

Childhood experiences of people in the revolving door

RDA has launched a retrospective study exploring the childhood experiences of people in the revolving door in order to better understand their childhoods, the combination of: living in unsafe communities, household problems, neglect and abuse, as well as opportunities to access support.

The charity is investigating whether it can also measure the childhood experience of racism and of discrimination. It is finding that people in the revolving door have experienced more challenges, more severely
and for longer periods of time than others.

The childhoods that lead to a revolving door adulthood have a typical pattern. They involve exceptional levels of abuse, neglect and household disruption – sometimes within the context of community violence that the World
Health Organisation associates with war zones. And they are blighted by poverty so profound that even three meals a day are not guaranteed. 


The Revolving Doors Agency has set an itself an ambitious aim; not simply to identify specific gaps in the system
and apply ‘sticking plaster’ fixes. Rather it intends to help decision makers develop fundamental solutions that address the underlying systemic faults that can trap people within the crisis-crime cycle of the revolving door.

It intends to tackle the problem upstream to stop people entering the revolving door in the first place. The focus will be on the earlier contact with the criminal justice system and the charity has set itself the task of looking for solutions for young adults at risk of entering the revolving door.

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2 Responses

  1. I am so glad that at last an early intervention like this is available, or at last someone has the common
    sence to realise there is more to why people commit certain crimes,
    i wish this was around years ago when i commited certain crimes,
    through alcohol and mental health issues.
    i was crying out for help not to be punished by being put in and out of prison,
    if anything it made me worse,
    There can always be a story behind someones (bad) behaviour
    I know that for a fact there was one behind mine,
    only if someone had took the time to help me,i wouldn’t have this ‘Criminal’ label on me now!!

  2. Hi Teresa, thanks very much indeed for sharing your experience. I know that the Revolving Doors Agency is very committed to change the balance between help and punish for people whose offending is mainly driven by the challenges they face in life.
    Best Wishes

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