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Early evidence that probation reforms cutting reoffending – MoJ

Payment by results pilots at two prisons have seen a slight drop in reoffending rates, figures from the Ministry of Justice show.

Schemes at Peterborough and Doncaster prisons provide support for offenders to access housing, employment and financial services. Both are measuring reconviction rates in the 12 months following offenders’ release from prison.

Since the project started at Peterborough, the reconviction rate fell from 41.6% to 39.2%. The national average is 37.3%.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling said: “It is madness that we release prisoners serving short sentences without any support in the community.

“These figures show a sizeable fall in reconvictions. They clearly demonstrate that with targeted support and help aimed at the right people at the right time we can divert more offenders from a return to crime.”

At Doncaster prison the overall trend for reoffending is down over time, but results show its pilot has proved to be less successful since it was launched in October 2011. The re-conviction rate up to March 2012 was 41.1% – lower than the 41.6% rate between October 2009 and March 2010.

But the rate was higher than the 39.8% recorded in the period October 2010 to March 2011.

Shadow prisons minister Jenny Chapman said: “It is mildly encouraging. Some of the numbers show I think that the pilots are still at an early stage and that providers are still experimenting with what works best.

“I think we need to allow the pilots to run their course. We need to be very very cautious about rolling stuff out around the country before we have had a chance to make the right learning.”

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