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Offenders: Rehabilitation

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many offending behaviour programmes were undertaken in prisons in England and Wales in the period 1997 to 2007; and what measures were used to judge their effectiveness; (186330)

(2) how many offending behaviour programmes in prisons in England and Wales over the period 1997 to 2007 were subject to randomised controlled trials to assess their effectiveness;

(3) how many prisoners in England and Wales participated in offending behaviour programmes during the period 1997 to 2007;

(4) what the cost of offending behaviour programmes in prisons in England and Wales was in each year from 1997 to 2007.

In 1997 the Prison Service offered a range of six accredited offending behaviour programmes, and by 2007 the repertoire of accredited offending behaviour programmes had increased to 15.

Various measures have been used in the evaluation of the effectiveness of offending behaviour programmes in England and Wales. Predominantly quasi-experimental and non-experimental research designs have been used, many examining the reconviction rates of those who have completed programmes compared to those who have not. Other measures used to judge effectiveness include pre to post-examines treatment psychometric data which short term treatment impact, as well as gathering audit and qualitative information on programme participants and the delivery of programmes.

During this period, one randomised control trial has been conducted on the effectiveness of offending behaviour programmes. The Treatment Change Project (TCP) is an evaluation of HM Prison Service accredited Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) programme which aims to examine the impact of ETS courses on impulsivity in adult male offenders over the age of 18, and to investigate whether changes in levels of impulsivity were reflected in changes in prison behaviour.

The TCP was conducted as a randomised control trial (RCT), and as such is the first large-scale RCT evaluating the impact of ETS in prisons.

The draft report is at the peer review stage, with publication scheduled for April 2008.

From 1 April 1997 to 31 March 2007 the number of accredited offending behaviour programmes completed by prisoners was 65,233. Some prisoners will have completed more than one programme.

The funding for the delivery of accredited offending behaviour programmes is part of establishment baselines, therefore it is not possible to accurately disaggregate the cost of this work. The Prison Service is currently working on developing a costing process to provide more accurate costs for regime activities and interventions.

Additional funding was provided by the Government to expand the delivery of accredited offending behaviour programmes as shown in the following table:

£ million

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

Comprehensive Spending Review

7.3

8.4

8.9

8.9

8.9

Crime Reduction Programme

0.7

1.1

1.5

Spending Review 2000

3.6

11.6

Based on an estimated average cost per programme completion and the number of completions in 2006-07, we estimate that the cost of delivering accredited offending behaviour programmes in 2006-07 to be approximately £25 million.