Enter your keyword

  • This event has passed.

Hackney Youth Justice Service: Out of Court Disposal and Ethnic Disproportionality

  • Lisa Green
  • 0
  • 289


Ethnic disparities across the youth justice system in England and Wales were highlighted by the Lammy review published in 2017. Subsequent research has identified ethnic disproportionality at the level of policing of young people, notably in stop and search practices (Shiner, et al., 2018), in decisions around access to diversion interventions (CJI, 2021), and in court outcomes for both young people and adults (Lammy, 2017). Research in other areas of the criminal justice system has also reported higher rates of use of force and a higher likelihood of a Taser being drawn (but not used) by police on Black people compared to other ethnic groups (HMICFRS, 2021). The most recently released national statistics (to year ending March 2020) on young people in the youth justice system show decreases overall in the number of children entering the system and in custody.

A number of organisations and reports have called for greater transparency from youth offending services in regard to data analysis and availability to better understand disproportionality at a local level including the Youth Justice Board and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation. As argued by the Lammy report (2017), it is necessary to first understand where disproportionality exists and at which points of the justice system it is apparent before it can be effectively addressed.

The research study presented in this 90-minute webinar is an overview of findings from two phases of a project conducted by researchers at Middlesex University and commissioned by Hackney’s Youth Offending Services

Phase one examined local data on Out of Court Disposals (OoCD) including Triage; court decisions and sentencing outcomes for young people who come through their services.  Phase two is currently ongoing and has taken a qualitative approach to understand the experiences of young people who have been given OoCDs in the previous two years and to explore professionals’ views of why outcomes for young people in Hackney Youth Justice Service (YJS) are statistically divergent from the national picture.



By the end of the course, delegates will:

  • Have the opportunity to discuss the role of social workers in supporting these young people;
  • Identify and discuss the factors emerging as being important to achieving young people’s diversion from the criminal justice system;
  • Identify promising practices and habits that are linked to reducing ethnic disproportionality in OoCDs, and that may be applicable to other YJ and CJ settings.



Brendan Finnegan has worked as Service Manager in Hackney’s Youth Justice Service since 2014, following 3 years shaping Hackney’s emerging MASH. His ‘previous’ includes time served with Southwark Youth Offending Team (YOT), 10 years at the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, including 6 years as Director of Strategy.  Three years setting up the Lewisham YOT during 1998, having been appointed as the first YOT Manager in England and Wales. 

Brendan has 15 years criminal justice experience with Inner London Probation. He is also a registered social worker, and Middlesex University is where he gained my CQSW. 

Dr Helen Gleeson is a Research Fellow in Social Work/Social Policy at Middlesex University where she has worked since 2016.  She received her PhD in psychology from National University of Ireland, Galway in 2013 where her thesis explored the relationships between young people and the police in Ireland.  Dr Gleeson’s recent research focuses on young people’s experiences in the criminal justice system, substance use treatment service experiences of minority groups, suicide ideation in older people, and social work interventions for children on the edge of care. 

Her research broadly works across a range of projects within social work and mental health that have a specific focus on socially and economically marginalised groups.




*This session is open to social workers and staff working in social care across the Teaching Partnership (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington Councils and Norwood).*