Award winning research on young offenders and the criminal justice system

MRS Award for Public Policy/Social Research

In 2008 Qa Research received the MRS Award for Public Policy/Social Research for its work on young offenders and the criminal justice system. This case study describes our work and explains its impact.

Breaking the cycle

The ultimate goal of the research was to establish how offenders could break the so-called “cycle of offending”. This cycle sees them commit crimes, serve their sentences and be released, only to find they lack the resources and support to begin a new life. The cycle begins again when they eventually commit another crime.

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In 2008 Qa Research received the MRS Award for Public Policy/Social Research for its work on young offenders and the criminal justice system

In 2006 The Prince’s Trust commissioned Qa to carry out qualitative research with young offenders. The first stage of the project saw Angela Browne of Qa run “Breaking the Cycle” discussion groups where young offenders talked about their experiences of the criminal justice system.

Unveiled at a special young people’s summit hosted by HRH Prince Charles at Clarence House in December 2006, this research became the springboard for a number of initiatives dedicated to reducing youth offending levels which were announced in 2007.

Following on from the research and the “Breaking the Cycle” event, Qa was asked to carry out additional research for a government taskforce into criminal justice.

This research asked former and current offenders whether measures such as giving families greater involvement in sentencing and resettlement activities could actually cut reoffending rates and improve life chances.

Launched in 2008, the Unlocking Potential report is expected to have a major impact on criminal justice policies over the next decade.

Why did we win?

The MRS judging panel decided Qa’s submission best demonstrated “the positive impact of research on decision-making within the public policy or social arena.”

“This project shows how qualitative research has contributed to an important and high-profile crime reduction initiative involving previous offenders. This is a carefully planned project which has led to real insights and solutions. The part that the research played in the recommendations was significant and the impact is clear.”

For more details e-mail angela.browne@qaresearch.co.uk or call 01904 632039