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Research project: GATEWAY

Currently Active: 

Gateway: A randomised control trial, economic and qualitative evaluation to examine the effectiveness of an out-of-court community-based Gateway intervention programme aimed at improving health and well-being for young adult offenders; victim satisfaction and reducing recidivism

Aims: The study aims to determine whether a new out of court programme, named Gateway, improves the health and wellbeing of young adult offenders aged 18-24, and influences their chance of offending again, and gives victim satisfaction.

Background: Young adult offenders commonly have a range of health and social needs, making them vulnerable to mental health problems. If you are aged between 18-24 years old and have committed a crime, you may need to attend court and face convictions such as prison. However, many believe that more should be done to prevent young adults from entering prison in the first place.

The Gateway programme has been developed by Hampshire Constabulary, in partnership with local community groups, with an aim to improve the life chances of young adult offenders. In the programme, a mentor assesses the needs of each adult and develops a care pathway with referrals to healthcare. The young adult offenders then attend two workshops about empathy, and the causes and consequences of their behaviour. Such programmes are believed to improve the health and well-being of young offenders, and reduce criminal behaviour. However there is currently little information about the extent of this improvement.

Design: To find out whether the programme works, this research study will compare a group of young adult offenders taking part in the Gateway programme with a group who do not take part and are given a court conviction.

Once charged with an offence at Southampton police station, the consenting participants will be randomly allocated to either group using a computer program. To compare whether the Gateway programme is more, or less effective at improving their outcomes, as compared to a court conviction. Participants will be followed up for two years. Their outcomes will be monitored and compared at different time points. Specifically, differences in mental health and well-being, quality of life, criminal behaviour, access to health and social care and substance abuse will be studied.

In addition to the randomised controlled trial, we will undertake some qualitative research and an economic evaluation. Some of the group allocated to Gateway will be asked to participate in restorative justice, which is a meeting between the offender and the victim. The offender has the opportunity to discuss and make amends for the crime they committed. To explore how satisfied the victims are with this, and on Gateway in general, victims will be interviewed.  To understand what works, where and for whom, further interviews will be undertaken with groups delivering the programme in other counties. To understand the costs of the programme, the amount spent through each group, as well as any associated health improvements, will be compared.

Patient and Public Involvement: To develop the study design groups of young offenders previously engaged with the criminal justice system were consulted. One stated ‘It would have helped me at that age. I was in and out of prison about seven times when I was younger; nothing addressed the root of what was the matter.’ The groups will be consulted again at later dates to ensure that they feel the study is acceptable and appropriate. A Public Participation Panel (PPP) will be established to ensure that the concerns and attitudes of the wider community are represented.

Dissemination: The study results will be presented in a formal report as well as a short summary report, which will be written so that it is easily understood by the public. The study findings will also be shared with all groups and partners involved in the study, including the offender and victim groups, the PPP, academics and policy-makers locally and nationally.

Local Investigators

Professor Julie Parkes (PPM), Dr Sara Morgan (PPM), Ms Rosanna Orlando (Health Sciences), Professor James Raftery (PPM), Professor Jenny Fleming (Criminology)

Study team


Mr Ben Taylor (Hampshire Constabulary), Mrs Alison Booth (York Trials Unit), Professor Catherine Hewitt (York Trials Unit), Professor David Torgerson (York Trials Unit) 

Project Team:

Ms Caroline Chapman (Project Support Officer, Hampshire Constabulary)
Ms Megan Barlow-Paye (PPI Officer)
Dr Inna Walker (Research Fellow, MD student in Public Health)
Dr Anthony Quinn (Research Fellow in Criminology)
Ms Ann Cochrane (Trials Coordinator, York Trials Unit)
Mr Alex Mitchell (Statistician, York Trials Unit)


Funder: NIHR Public Health Research programme
Duration: March 2018 - August 2021

Related research groups

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education
Population Health Sciences Research group
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