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Crime: Offender Behaviour Programmes

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what reduction in crime has been achieved by the participation of offenders in offender behaviour programmes in the community. [HL863]

Reoffending is measured as a rate1, rather than in terms of numbers of offences or offenders.

There is considerable evidence, originating mainly from North America, to support the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural programmes in reducing reoffending (McGuire, 2002; Pearson et al, 2002; Lipton et al, 1998, Wilson et al, 2005).

There are positive indications that offender behaviour programmes may be effective in reducing reoffending for offenders in the community. For example, Offender Management and Sentencing Analytical Services (OMSAS) conducted an analysis on accredited programmes in the community (Hollis, 2007). It compared actual reoffending rates in 2006 with rates predicted on the basis of 2004 data. The reoffending rate for all offenders who had undertaken interventions was 55 per cent, based on a two-year reconviction rate. Programme completers did statistically significantly better than those who did not start or who dropped out of programmes. The rates were 38 per cent, 61 per cent and 64 per cent respectively. This analysis of management information, however, cannot determine whether these differences result from programme impact.

1 The rate is the proportion of offenders who reoffend at least once during the one-year follow-up period. For adults, this offence must result in a conviction at court to be included as a further offence. This yes/no reoffending rate is presented as a percentage of the total number of offenders in the cohort.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what reduction in crime has been achieved by the participation of prisoners in offender behaviour programmes in prisons. [HL864]

Reoffending is measured as a rate1, rather than in terms of numbers of offences or offenders.

There is considerable international evidence (Wilson et al, 2005; Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2006), to support the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural programmes in reducing reoffending. However, UK research examining the effectiveness of programmes in prisons has produced mixed results (Friendship et al, 2002; Falshaw et al, 2003; Cann et al, 2003).

A recent prison-based study showed that the one-year reconviction rate for both adult men and young offenders who had completed enhanced thinking skills (ETS) and reasoning and rehabilitation (R&R) interventions in prison represented a positive 2.5 percentage points difference in reconviction for adult male completers (17.0 per cent vs. 19.5 per cent) and a 4.1 percentage point difference for young offender completers (31.4 per cent vs. 35.5 per cent) compared to matched comparison groups. There was no difference in reconviction rates between programme starters and comparison groups. See tables 3 and 4 at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/r226.pdf.

A study of female participants of ETS and R&R (Cann, 2006) found no statistically significant differences in one- and two-year rates between offenders and a matched comparison group. See www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/r276.pdf.

The most robust evaluation of the sex offender treatment programme (SOTP) in England and Wales (Friendship et al, 2003) examined the impact of the prison-based programme. This compared two-year reconviction rates for prisoners who participated in the programme with those who did not. Findings indicated that the SOTP had an impact on reconvictions for sexual and/or violent offences (as a combined measure).

1 The rate is the proportion of offenders who reoffend at least once during the one-year follow-up period. For adults, this offence must result in a conviction at court to be included as a further offence. This yes/no reoffending rate is presented as a percentage of the total number of offenders in the cohort.