Press release

Payment by results prison pilot continues to show falls in reoffending

A ground-breaking pilot testing a new way of rehabilitating offenders continues to show marked falls in reoffending.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Figures published today suggest that short sentenced offenders receiving through-the-gate support on release from HMP Peterborough - as part of an innovative payment-by-results (PbR) Social Impact Bond pilot - are less likely to reoffend than those outside the scheme.

Before the pilot, for every 100 prisoners released from Peterborough there were 159 reconviction events annually. Under the scheme this figure has fallen to 141 — a fall of 11 per cent. Nationally that figure has risen by 10 per cent over the same period.

A second PbR pilot operating out of HMP Doncaster has also shown marked falls in reoffending.

The latest encouraging figures come as the Government rolls out crucial reforms to the probation service that have been significantly influenced and informed by the project at Peterborough. The reforms include extending supervision to all offenders on release from prison, including those sentenced to less than 12 months who currently get no support on release and have the highest reoffending rates.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:

While the same old approach has seen reoffending rates barely change in a decade, these groundbreaking through-the-gate pilots, with the voluntary, private and public sectors working together, are getting results. The message is clear — our reforms are the right approach and will help us end the depressing cycle of reoffending too many are caught up in, keeping our communities safer.

The latest evaluation reports of the pilots at Doncaster and Peterborough prisons have also been published today, providing the Government with further valuable learning on designing rehabilitation services using a PbR approach.

The introduction of the Government’s reforms to probation coincide with the final years of the pilots at Doncaster and Peterborough, and we have considered how best to integrate them as we roll-out the new approach. We have already confirmed that no new offenders will join the Doncaster scheme beyond 2014.

The Peterborough pilot will continue in its current form until June 2015, when rehabilitation support to the second cohort of prisoners is due to finish.

However, maintaining the PbR element of the scheme at Peterborough until 2017 for the third and final cohort is not possible, as the majority of prisoners within that group will already be receiving 12 months supervision and rehabilitation as a result of the wider reforms to probation.

Despite this, we want to ensure the new provider of probation services in the Peterborough area has the opportunity to build the scheme into their plans. We have therefore proposed an alternative funding arrangement for the third pilot cohort, which will allow the scheme to continue operating until the new providers are in a position to implement their new approach to rehabilitation.

The latest figures from the PbR pilot are published alongside wider reoffending data that show offenders returning to crime at a depressing rate. Almost 450,000 crimes were committed by 154,000 convicted criminals in the 12 months to June 2012.

For adults sentenced to less than 12 months, a staggering 57.8 per cent had reoffended within a year of their release, committing almost 85,000 further crimes.

Notes to editors

  1. Latest interim figures from the pilots at HMP Peterborough and HMP Doncaster, along with latest proven reoffending rates

  2. Phase two evaluation report of the pilot at HMP Peterborough

  3. Phase two evaluation report of the pilot at HMP Doncaster

  4. For more information contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536.

Published 24 April 2014