A number of interventions are made in custody and the community to support the rehabilitation of offenders. These include offending behaviour programmes, drug treatment, unpaid work and education and employment. There is robust evidence, originating mainly from north America, to support the effectiveness of offending behaviour programmes in reducing re-offending; the UK research is more limited and mixed. The evaluations to date of drug treatment programmes also suggest that these programmes can reduce re-offending. There is some evidence of employment schemes helping to secure employment for ex-prisoners and of basic skills training improving prisoners' skills. However, evidence on the extent to which improvements in these skills can lead to reductions in re-offending is still limited (Harper & Chitty, 2005). The current Home Office research programme includes further research on the effectiveness of a wide range of interventions aimed at reducing re-offending.
The most recent information on the re-offending of adults in England and Wales was published in December as “Adult re-offending: results from the 2002 cohort”. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 25/05”. The report is available on line at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/hosb2505.pdf and covers offenders starting community sentences or being discharged from prison in the first quarter of 2002. Table A5 provides information which can be used to calculate the number of offenders who re-offended within two years. Re-offending rates have not been calculated on a one and three-year basis for offenders released from prison.
(2) what changes have been made in the last 12 months to regulations governing whether offenders under the supervision of the probation service may travel abroad; and if he will make a statement.
Probation circular 4/2006 sets out the revised policy in respect of determinate sentence prisoners who request permission to temporary travel abroad. A copy of the circular is available in the Library of the House. The circular requires the probation service to consider all applications to travel on their individual merits, and stipulates that such requests should not be granted if there are any concerns on grounds of risk. Permission should be granted only in the most exceptional circumstances and where the prisoner has demonstrated that the need to travel is so pressing that it must be given priority over the statutory aims of supervision.