Young Justice Advisors

Young Justice Advisors

Young Advisors on Criminal Justice is our flagship initiative within the criminal justice sector. The project enables young adults with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System to use their unique expertise to inform changes in policy, service design and delivery. The project was set up as a pilot in 2016, and due to its success in its first year, it has expanded since then with funding from the Barrow Cadbury Trust.

Young Advisors on Criminal Justice aims to:

“We have nothing in common with the officers and there are hardly any ethnic officers – this doesn’t make me feel comfortable here. It feels like they only cater to one race”

How it works

Recruitment: Working proactively with frontline organisations, we recruit a diverse group of Young Advisors with a wide range of lived experience including custodial sentences, community sentences, family members in custody, youth offending teams, and stop and search.

Priorities: Through deliberation and negotiation, the Young Advisors identify a list of priority topics they wish to address through the project. Their current priorities are: Sentencing; Mental Health; Employment and Life After Prison; Care System; BAME young adults; LGBTQ+ young adults.

Young Advisors meetings: Every 2 months we hold meetings bringing together the group of young adults with decision-makers and experts working on reforms. These meetings help to build the skills and capacity of the Young Advisors, and also serve as a forum to share and reflect on progress.

Peer-led engagement sessions: We deliver peer-led engagement sessions in secure settings and community settings across the country, enabling the Young Advisors to lead conversations with other young adults about their priority topics.

Analysis and reports: Advisory Group members will analyse the key themes arising from their peer research and produce the key messages and recommendations to form unique youth-centred reports.


Young adults in the 18-25 age group make up less than 10% of the general population, but account for more than a third of the probation service’s caseload and a third of those sentenced to prison every year.

Get involved

If you’re interested in getting involved with the work we do at Leaders Unlocked, please do send us a message via our contact us page. We are always keen to hear from young people who may want to take part in our projects, as well as professionals who may want to collaborate.

More than 65% of our
staff came from Leaders Unlocked projects

As a person of colour, I have had racially unjust experiences which affected my view of the world. Being part of the Student Commission on Racial Justice has helped me, to help people like me, feel that they belong.