An article examined the impact on reoffending of the Enhanced Thinking Skills programme, a cognitive skills programme delivered to 21,000 male prisoners in England and Wales. It said that attendance at the programme was associated with significantly reduced reoffending for men convicted of some types of offences (sexual offenders, violent offenders, and other non-acquisitive offenders), but not for men convicted of burglary or robbery. The article considered the implications for the future targeting of programmes.
Source: Rosie Travers, Ruth Mann, and Clive Hollin, 'Who benefits from cognitive skills programs? Differential impact by risk and offense type', Criminal Justice and Behavior Review, Volume 41 Number 9
A report examined the effectiveness of existing arrangements to help adult offenders in England to obtain suitable and sustainable accommodation and education, training, and employment on release from custody, as part of wider resettlement provision. The report was based on research with 80 case studies, and made extensive observations and recommendations, but highlighted the central importance of an offender's family and friends to their successful rehabilitation in many cases, as well as the variability of existing rehabilitation and pre-release work in prisons. The report was intended to inform ongoing preparation for changes under the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, due to be introduced in April 2015.
Source: HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Probation, and Ofsted, Resettlement Provision for Adult Offenders: Accommodation and education, training and employment, HM Inspectorate of Prisons
An article examined the risk of harm that rehabilitative programmes could pose to prisoners, in particular the 'democratic therapeutic community' for prisoners with personality disorders. It said that the selective acknowledgement of human rights in penal policy both undermined programme delivery and seriously jeopardized the duty of care owed to prisoners by the state.
Source: Elaine Genders and Elaine Player, 'Rehabilitation, risk management and prisoners' rights', Criminology and Criminal Justice, Volume 14 Number 4
A paper examined the notion (from Wolff) that punishment was a response to social violations and acted as a communicative mechanism to both offender and victim, restoring status. The paper argued that Wolff's position was supported in some cases, but that: punishment alone was not sufficient for restoring the status of the victim; re-balancing of status should occur also between the offender and wider society (accepting a social role in re-inclusion); and that this was best achieved via a process of desistance.
Source: John Deering and Steven Smith, Revising Wolff's Support for Retribution as a Justification for Punishment: Desistance, rehabilitation and restoring the status of victim and offender, Working Paper 1/2014, Howard League for Penal Reform
A new book examined therapeutic communities for prisoners, drawing on a study of the first purpose-built prison community of its kind, HMP Dovegate Therapeutic Community, in Staffordshire, England.
Source: Jennifer Brown, Sarah Miller, Sara Northey, and Darragh O'Neill, What Works in Therapeutic Prisons: Evaluating psychological change in Dovegate Therapeutic Community, Palgrave Macmillan
The Scottish Government published a Bill designed to end the right of certain long-term prisoners (sentenced to four years or more for sex offences and 10 years or more for other crimes) to automatic early release from prison at the two-thirds point of their sentences; and to allow prisoners serving all but very short sentences to be released from prison on a particular day, to ensure immediate access to support services in communities.
Source: Prisoners (Control Of Release) (Scotland) Bill, Scottish Government, TSO
A report evaluated the Community Reintegration Project, which formed part of the Scottish Government's wider Reducing Reoffending Programme and focused on addressing the needs of offenders serving prison sentences between six months and less than four years.
Source: Simon Anderson, Shanna Dowling, Simon Noble, and Alison Platts, Evaluation of the Community Reintegration Project, Scottish Government
A new book examined the use of restorative justice in repairing the harm created by criminal offences. The book explored the development of empathy and compassion across the 'timeline' of restorative justice, from the committed offence, through the criminal justice process, to the restorative meeting, drawing on United Kingdom case studies.
Source: Pete Wallis, Understanding Restorative Justice: How empathy can close the gap created by crime, Policy Press
A report provided findings from a literature review of evidence on reducing reoffending in crimes of violence against women. It said that there was a range of good practice in criminal justice responses, but limited evidence about effective interventions to reduce reoffending by perpetrators.
Source: Oona Brooks, Michele Burman, Nancy Lombard, Gill McIvor, Leah Stevenson-Hastings, and Deborah Kyle, with Alix Thomazi, Violence Against Women: Effective interventions and practices with perpetrators – a literature review, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
A report by a committee of MPs said that reoffending rates remained relatively high and the government should seek to recognize more explicitly where reoffending had fallen and why. It noted the impact of the shift of power to police and crime commissioners, and said there were clear benefits to the collective ownership, pooled funding, and joint priorities that had resulted. The report questioned the government's approach to prioritizing crime reduction, and said: that addressing the funding of mental health services should be an urgent priority; that alcohol treatment required attention; that the prison system should engage in better rehabilitation; that the courts should encourage greater innovation; and that changes to the probation system needed to be carefully managed to ensure that local crime reduction activity continued. It called for the government to create an independent body to examine the evidence behind crime reduction, and its implications for policy-making, and for the Treasury to develop a longer-term strategy for the use of resources.
Source: Crime Reduction Policies: A co-ordinated approach?, First Report (Session 201415), HC 307, House of Commons Justice Select Committee, TSO
A report said that 70 per cent of United Kingdom prisoners responding to a survey admitted they had been drinking when they committed the offence for which they were imprisoned, yet only half of those prisoners recognized their drinking as a problem. The report said that services available in prison were based on alcohol dependency rather than behaviour, and that only 40 per cent of the survey respondents had been made aware of the support available to them when they left prison. The report called for alcohol treatment services to form a key part of prison rehabilitation, for all frontline prison staff to be given specialist alcohol awareness training, for specialist support services for women, for a needs analysis to inform the commissioning of alcohol-related services, and for continuing 'through the gate' support for prisoners on release from prison.
Source: Sophie Kydd and Natalie Roe, The Alcohol and Crime Commission Report, Alcohol and Crime Commission
A report by a committee of MPs said that the National Offender Management Service's strategy for managing the prison estate, involving closing uneconomic prisons and opening more efficient new facilities, had delivered cost savings and a good standard of accommodation, to time and within budget. However, the report said that two new prisons (HMP Oakwood and HMP Thameside) had performed poorly on providing sufficient, high-quality purposeful activity for prisoners, and that the department had closed some older prisons that had previously performed well. The committee said that increased offender behaviour provision and the removal from the United Kingdom of more foreign national prisoners would reduce prison overcrowding and generate additional cost savings.
Source: Ministry of Justice and National Offender Management Service: Managing the prison estate, Fifty-third Report (Session 201314), HC 1001, House of Commons Public Accounts Select Committee, TSO
A think-tank report examined types and forms of mentoring used within the criminal justice system in England and Wales, to identify examples and themes which constituted best practice. It said that around 15,000 additional volunteer mentors could be recruited over the following five years to contribute to rehabilitation efforts, funded through the Transforming Rehabilitation strategy budget. The report made recommendations.
Source: Jonathan Aitken, Meaningful Mentoring, Centre for Social Justice
An article examined the use of a restorative model for reducing recidivism, and considered the notional differences between ethical normative, prudential normative, and social normative models of restorative justice, rehabilitation, and desistance respectively.
Source: Tony Ward, Kathryn Fox, and Melissa Garber, 'Restorative justice, offender rehabilitation and desistance', Restorative Justice, Volume 2 Number 1
A report provided findings from the Offender Management Community Cohort Study, a longitudinal cohort study of offenders, aged 18 and over, who started Community Orders between October 2009 and December 2010. The report examined the role of Offender Managers in assessment, monitoring, and rehabilitation, the relationship between offenders and Offender Managers, and the impact on sentence outcomes. It said that the majority of offenders reported having a good or excellent relationship with Offender Managers, which other research had found to be an important factor in offender rehabilitation. The report was part of a series of outputs from the study.
Source: Chris Lord, Tom Kenny, and Martin Wood, The Role of Offender Managers in Community Orders: Results from the Offender Manager Community Cohort Study, Ministry of Justice
A new book examined the causes and consequences of hate crime victimization, and the use of restorative justice to repair the harms created by hate crime in the United Kingdom.
Source: Mark Austin Walters, Hate Crime and Restorative Justice: Exploring causes, repairing harms, Oxford University Press
The Scottish Government published an analysis of the responses to its consultation on the working of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Key findings included: existing legislation was not seen as fit for purpose, as it placed too little emphasis on rehabilitation; respondents stressed the need to support access to employment for ex-offenders, and especially young ex-offenders; there were calls for clearer legislation, and information for those needing to apply the legislation; and there was a 'general feeling' that rehabilitation periods should be shorter. Separate reports provided feedback from people in prisons, and from stakeholders.
Source: Discussion Paper on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974: Analysis of consultation responses, Scottish Government
A report examined factors associated with employment after release, for longer-sentenced prisoners. Drawing on data from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction survey, it said that factors associated with increased likelihood of employment after release from custody were: having been in work just prior to custody; participation in paid work while in custody; vocational training in custody; undertaking accredited programmes to address offending behaviour and reduce drug or alcohol use; and qualifications. Factors associated with reduced likelihood of employment after release included: homelessness after release from prison; disability; needing help with job-related skills; and being in treatment/counselling.
Source: Ian Brunton-Smith and Kathryn Hopkins, The Impact of Experience in Prison on the Employment Status of Longer-Sentenced Prisoners after Release: Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) longitudinal cohort study of prisoners, Ministry of Justice
A report provided an overview of evidence regarding the role of social enterprises in enabling adult and young offenders to access training and employment opportunities. It said that many of the social enterprises and their programmes were still in their first year of operation, and their varied approaches made it difficult to make comparisons about their impact, but some case studies did report observing reduced reoffending by their service users. It outlined the range of services offered by the case study organizations, noted the importance of partnership working and inter-agency relationships, and discussed the value of the social enterprise model. A range of case studies were published alongside this report.
Source: Providing Employment and Training Opportunities for Offenders: Growing sustainable work integration social enterprises – a report of learning from this programme, Home Office/Social Firms UK/Clinks
A report examined offender rehabilitation services, the use of payment by results, and the recent Transforming Rehabilitation reforms in the United Kingdom. It argued that the design of the payment by results scheme, level of payment, level of state investment, degree of control of the provider over outcomes, and the level of competition between providers were all essential to success. The report said that the government should seek to increase investment, and roll other schemes such as the work programme and prison services into the rehabilitation reforms.
Source: Nigel Keohane and Arthur Downing, Breaking Bad Habits: Reforming rehabilitation services, Social Market Foundation
A report provided the key results from Wave 2 (in-custody, pre-release) and Wave 3 (post-custody) of the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction survey. The report examined prison routine, prisoners' expectations of life after custody, and actual outcomes on release, including employment, accommodation, drugs and alcohol, and finance, benefits, and debt.
Source: Kathryn Hopkins and Ian Brunton-Smith, Prisoners' Experience of Prison and Outcomes on Release: Waves 2 and 3 of SPCR – Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) longitudinal cohort study of prisoners, Ministry of Justice
A report examined innovative approaches to reducing offending by women, and called for the development of better co-ordinated services. It said that providing support at an early stage could help women to address the causes of their offending, but existing interventions were not meeting their needs. The report called for a range of changes, including: funding for a national network of women's centres, projects, and services; for better assessment of individual needs; for pooled budgets, partnership working, and local needs mapping; and for women-specific liaison and diversion services.
Source: Jenny Earle, Rebecca Nadin, and Jessica Jacobson, Brighter Futures: Working together to reduce women's offending, Prison Reform Trust
A report examined the provision of mental health services at women's centres (community based services that delivered individually tailored services to women offenders, or those at risk of offending). Drawing on a bespoke survey conducted at centres across England and Wales, it said that women's community services provided a variety of mental health and other psychosocial interventions to a diverse client group, and that they appeared to have developed good working partnerships with other organizations, including probation and the NHS trusts. The report said that the evaluation of services could be improved, and suggested areas for further research.
Source: Victoria Hatchett, Ursula Tebbet-Duffin, Joanne Pybis, and Nancy Rowland, Mental Health Provision in Women's Community Services: Findings from a survey conducted in England and Wales, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
An article examined staff and prisoner experiences of an English initiative which aimed to engage young men in prison-based 'sporting academies', as a means to helping them to identify and meet their re-entry (or resettlement) needs in the transition from custody to the community. It said that the initiative led to perceived benefits, including improved attitudes, thinking and behaviour, and in promoting desistance from crime.
Source: Rosie Meek and Gwen Lewis, 'The impact of a sports initiative for young men in prison: staff and participant perspectives', Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Volume 38 Issue 2
An article examined the use of mentoring with adults in the criminal justice system. Noting the growth of the practice, it questioned the conceptual clarity of the term, the underlying evidence for its use, and the effects of its translation into a coercive and punitive environment, asking whether mentoring activities in this setting were actually 'interventions', described as mentoring but used to extend the reach of the criminal justice system. The article suggested using desistance theory as a conceptual framework for taking forward mentoring in criminal justice settings.
Source: Anthea Hucklesby and Emma Wincup, 'Assistance, support and monitoring? The paradoxes of mentoring adults in the criminal justice system', Journal of Social Policy, Volume 43 Issue 2
The Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 was given Royal assent. The Act provided for the release, and supervision after release, of offenders, to ensure that all adult offenders serving custodial sentences (and those who reached age 18 while in custody) could be supervised on release for a period of at least 12 months; changes to the extension period for extended sentence prisoners; drug testing requirements for those released from custody; changes to rehabilitative elements of community orders and suspended sentence orders; and new requirements for those on community or suspended sentence orders.
Source: Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014, Ministry of Justice, TSO
An article examined the implications of desistance research for the community management of high risk offenders.
Source: Beth Weaver, 'Control or change? Developing dialogues between desistance research and public protection practices', Probation Journal, Volume 61 Number 1
A government department published a range of short reports outlining data on reoffending, drawn from the Justice Data Lab. The Justice Data lab was launched as a pilot for one year from April 2013 and provided support from within the Ministry of Justice for organizations that provide offender services, by providing access to aggregate reoffending data specific to the group of people with which they worked. The published reports covered outcomes for offenders receiving a range of educational grants, various sentences, relationship support, and community chaplaincy.
Source: Ministry of Justice
The Offender Rehabilitation Bill was given a third reading. The Bill was designed to make provision for: the release, and supervision after release, of offenders, to ensure that all adult offenders serving custodial sentences (and those who reached age 18 while in custody) could be supervised on release for a period of at least 12 months; the extension period for extended sentence prisoners; new court process and sanctions for breach of supervision requirements for those serving sentences of less than 2 years; changes to the drug testing requirements for those released from custody; changes to rehabilitative elements of community orders and suspended sentence orders; and new requirements for those on community or suspended sentence orders.
Source: Offender Rehabilitation Bill, Ministry of Justice, TSO | Debate 14 January 2014, columns 814-822, House of Commons Hansard, TSO