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Prisoners: Rehabilitation

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 41780, tabled on 3 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the paper entitled Effectiveness of psychological interventions in prison to reduce recidivism: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, published by Lancet Psychiatry in September 2021, what progress has been made with Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service impact evaluations of accredited offender behaviour programmes.

Answered on

13 September 2021

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) keeps abreast of any research and reviews relevant to our rehabilitative work and will consider the Lancet Psychiatry paper as we would with any published study. Programmes that follow Risk, Need and Responsivity (RNR) and Cognitive-Behavioural Treatment (CBT) principles have been shown to be linked to a reduction in reoffending. There is considerable research highlighting the importance of RNR in promoting effective interventions, and evidence to support the use of CBT programmes that include the teaching of skills to reduce offending.

Therapeutic communities (TC) are part of the Offender Personality Disorder (OPD) pathway, a joint venture with NHS England and Improvement. There are currently no plans to increase the number of prisons that operate TCs. The evidence and principles behind TC are at the heart of the OPD pathway which operates across prisons and probation. The Pathway continues to look for opportunities to invest in provision within available resources.

In July, this Government published the Beating Crime Plan which announced plans to tackle some of these key drivers of reoffending. This includes launching a £20m scheme across five probation regions to provide temporary accommodation for prison leavers at risk of homelessness. As set out in the Beating Crime Plan, we are also encouraging prison leavers to turn their backs on crime by securing employment. The Prison Service’s New Futures Network continues to broker partnerships between prisons and employers to improve employment opportunities for prisoners and prison leavers and we are increasing the number of DWP Prison Work Coaches across the estate, which means that prior to release, prisoners can access advice and support on employment and benefits. The Civil Service is also leading by example with the goal of recruiting 1,000 prison leavers by the end of 2023.

This is all part of wider investment this Government announced earlier this year: £70 million package to tackle some of these key drivers of repeat offending and £80 million on expanding drug treatment services in England to address offenders’ substance misuse issues, divert them on to effective community sentences and reduce drug-related crime and deaths. This £80 million will bolster the continuity of care for substance misuse treatment for prison leavers and we will continue to work closely with NHS England on rolling out RECONNECT services for those leaving prison to ensure that they engage with community health services.

We are committed to evaluating the current suite of accredited offender behaviour programmes and have a number of evaluations underway or being scoped. Where there is a sufficient number of people who have completed the programme and the necessary data is available to construct a meaningful comparison group, to help attribute any change to the intervention, the aim is to conduct good quality offending and reoffending impact studies to assess whether the programme is effective. We will be keeping the future direction of travel on accredited programmes under review using the best evidence.