27 April 2006

Do "Offending Behaviour Courses" work?

Dr. Andrew Green sent me the following information relating to my comments on the failings within the prison service. I have grave doubts that the 'Offending Behaviour Courses' which are used extensively in all jails actually work? I had posed the question with Andrew that it would be interesting to find statistics on how many repeat offenders had gone through these courses - how many times they had repeated them and therefore exactly how useful these courses are! Here is the article Andrew forwarded to me:

Dear Sue,

I too thought it was a productive meeting yesterday, and I will contact Allan Bayle and Des Thomas in the near future, and let you know what their responses are. Thanks for the meal and the good conversation. Please give my best wishes to Adam and Louise.

I thought you might be interested in the following piece of Home Office research, confirming what you were saying yesterday.

Best wishes,

Findings 276 Cognitive skills programmes: impact on reducing reconviction among a sample of female prisoners

This report outlines the findings of research assessing the effectiveness of accredited and pre-accredited prison-based cognitive skills programmes – Enhanced Thinking Skills and Reasoning and Rehabilitation – on reducing reconviction for a sample of female offenders. These programmes were introduced in HM Prison Service (HMPS, England and Wales) in the early 1990's as part of the 'What Works' ethos towards offender treatment and rehabilitation. They were developed around the assumption that offenders lack appropriate cognitive skills to achieve their goals in a pro-social way and seek to address these deficits by improving skills such as communication, perspective taking and problem-solving to help enable offenders to desist from future offending.

The research found no statistically significant differences in one- and two-year reconviction rates between female offenders who participated in prison-based cognitive skills programme delivered between 1996 and 2000 and a matched comparison group. These results are similar to recent evaluations of the same programmes delivered to male adults and young offenders (Cann et al., 2003; Falshaw et al., 2003a) and are considered in the contexts of potential limitations in the theory as applied to female offenders, programme implementation and evaluation methodology.


Blogger janetngoodwin said...

Typical! Another example of jobs for the penpushers who deliver the programmes,and lots of nice little boxes for admin. staff to tick. But of absolutely no other use whatsoever.
(Hope this message doesn't dissolve into cyberspace again!)

6:30 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

Your point actually got to me this time Janet - thank you. The fiasco surrounding the release of foreign national prisoners should encourage the public to ask further questions about the 'workings' of the prison system! This failure has come to light, there are many more.

3:32 pm  
Blogger Alan said...

Susan, when you said (somewhere in a previous posting) that "the system is a shambles", did you mean the prison system, the justice system or something else? I would be interested to know exactly what you meant.

4:59 am  
Blogger Susan said...

I believe I made that comment in the section on Government proposals to put a limit on any future compensation payments to a proven miscarraige of justice. But the discussion had moved on to the latest furore to hit the news re foreign national prisoners. I remember well people I knew whilst I was in prison being deported back to their country of origin and the system seemed to work in 1993, 1994 thro' until recently. However, the prison system is so stretched and overcrowded it is obvious some procedures are being overlooked! There are many more areas which I could point to which causes me to say the system is a shambles. Mind you Alan, I also feel the Justice system needs reforming, especially the Appeal system. It is surrounded by red tape and bureaucracy and its' main function is not to render justice but to protect the system!

8:16 am  

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