The Justice Data Lab has been launched as a pilot for one year from April 2013. During this year, a small team from Analytical Services within the Ministry of Justice will support organisations that provide offender services by allowing them easy access to aggregate re-offending data, specific to the group of people they have worked with. This will support organisations in understanding their effectiveness at reducing re-offending.
The service model involves organisations sending the Justice Data Lab team details of the offenders they have worked with along with information about the specific intervention they have delivered. The Data Lab team then matches these offenders to MoJ’s central datasets and returns the re-offending rate of this particular cohort, alongside that of a control group of offenders with very similar characteristics in order to better identify the impact of the organisation’s work.
There are two publication types:
A summary of the findings of the Justice Data Lab pilot to date (2 April to 31 September 2013).
Tailored reports about the re-offending outcomes of services or interventions delivered by each of the organisations who have requested information through the Justice Data Lab pilot. Each report is an Official Statistic and will show the results of the re-offending analysis for the particular service or intervention delivered by the organisation in question.
Main findings to date
This publication reports on the Justice Data Lab requests received in the six months between the launch of the Justice Data Lab on the 2nd April 2013, and 31st September 2013. During this period there were 52 requests for re-offending information completed through the Justice Data Lab. Of these requests; 7 requests have been fully answered. 7 requests could not be answered, as the minimum criteria for a Data Lab analysis had not been met. The remaining requests will be processed in due course.
Two organisations delivered programmes which led to a statistically significant reduction in re-offending. These organisations and their programmes are:
- Brighton & Hove City Council Preventing Offender Accommodation Loss (POAL) Project
- Blue Sky who offer ex-offenders short term, full-time employment contracts.
Four inconclusive results which looked at programmes delivered by Safe Ground, The Prison Fellowship, The Koestler Trust and HMP Swansea Community Chaplaincy Project. Reasons for an inconclusive result include; the sample of individuals provided by the organisation was too small to detect a statistically significant change in behaviour; or that the service or programme genuinely does not affect re-offending behaviour. However, it is very difficult to differentiate between these reasons in the analysis, so the organisations are recommended to submit larger samples of data when it becomes available.
One organisation, Shelter, who delivered a housing programme which led to a statistically significant increase in re-offending. We have worked with Shelter to understand more about the programme, and why this result might have been observed. Further investigation has revealed that the Shelter housing programme delivered in prisons involves housing advisors offering a short advice sessions to prisoners, with further sessions arranged as needed. Additionally, the service is likely to attract prolific offenders who have multiple complex needs, including access to housing. It can be very challenging to model the effect of services received by persons with multiple complex needs, so the negative result will also reflect the fact that the group that Shelter worked with will typically be much harder to help.
The bulletin is produced and handled by the Ministry’s analytical professionals and production staff. Pre-release access of up to 24 hours is granted to the following persons: Ministry of Justice: Secretary of State, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Permanent Secretary, Policy Advisers for reducing re-offending, Policy Advisors for the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme, and relevant Press Officers and Special Advisers.