In partnership with the Ministry of Justice and the Barrow Cadbury Trust, PERU researchers undertook a qualitative study on the views and experiences of participants in the Chance to Change pilots. A key feature of the pilots is that the model should be offered to an accused offender without an admission of guilt being required. This is intended to address racial inequalities stemming from a lack of trust in the justice system amongst ethnic minority defendants, who we know are consistently more likely to plead not guilty and so face more punitive outcomes.


What is the need?

The pilots in North West London and West Yorkshire have been developed in response to a recommendation from The Lammy Review which advocated for a ‘deferred prosecution’ model in which someone accused of committing a low or medium level crime is given an opportunity to complete specified conditions (e.g. rehabilitative work, reparation to the alleged victim and/or a restriction such as a curfew) as an alternative to prosecution proceedings being brought against them.

What are we doing?

This study involved qualitative fieldwork using peer researchers with: Chance to Change participants; and operational and strategic agency stakeholders from the police, staff from youth offending services, police and crime commissioners and organisations providing interventions.

What will be the outcomes?

As well as tackling racial disproportionality, the model has the potential to reduce reoffending and crime harm and improve victim satisfaction.  However, more evidence is needed before a decision to promote wider use of this model is considered.

What are the timescales?

The study ran from March to December 2020

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