Offending behaviour programmes and interventions

Offending behaviour programmes and interventions currently available for offenders in England and Wales.

Offending behaviour programmes and interventions

Offender behaviour programmes and interventions aim to change the thinking, attitudes and behaviours which may lead people to reoffend.

Most programmes and interventions are delivered in groups but one-to-one provision is available in some circumstances.

They encourage pro-social attitudes and goals for the future and are designed to help people develop new skills to stop their offending. These include:

  • problem solving
  • perspective taking
  • managing relationships
  • self-management

Offending behaviour programmes often use cognitive-behavioural techniques. There is good international evidence that these are most effective in reducing reoffending.

A range of programmes are available both in prisons and in the community for people on probation. They include programmes to address:

  • specific offences, for example sexual offending and domestic violence
  • general patterns of offending behaviour
  • substance misuse related offending

Risk, needs and responsivity principles

We use these to help us target the right programmes for the right people so that:

  • the level of support provided by a programme matches a person’s risk of reoffending
  • the content of the programme covers the areas a person needs to address to stop further offending. For example, being impulsive or having poor relationship skills
  • the approach is adapted to respond to people’s individual circumstances, abilities and strengths. For example, there are programmes specifically for people with learning disabilities

Evidence shows that programmes that follow these principles are more likely to work. HMPPS offers accredited programmes as part of a package of rehabilitative activity and support. They are most effective when they are properly targeted and provided within a prison or probation culture that supports rehabilitation.

Programme effectiveness and accreditation

Evidence shows there are common features of effective offending behaviour programmes. Evidence also shows what is ineffective and what we should avoid doing. Programmes that are:

  • poorly designed or run
  • targeted at the wrong people, and/or
  • delivered by poorly trained staff

This can sometimes increase offending.

Accredited programmes

Accreditation gives confidence that a programme:

  • is designed based on the best available evidence
  • is monitored to make sure it is delivered as intended
  • is evaluated to show the outcomes


The Correctional Services Advice & Accreditation Panel (CSAAP) helps HMPPS to accredit programmes by reviewing programme design, quality assurance procedures and findings, and programme evaluations. They make recommendations about whether to accredit to the HMPPS Accredited Programmes and Interventions Delivery Strategy Board (APIDSB). HMPPS is accountable for decisions to accredit programmes.

CSAAP members are independent, international ‘what works’ academics and practitioners. They include criminologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and sociologists. They review programmes against a set of criteria, drawn from the principles of effective interventions.

The Principles of Effective Interventions

These principles state that high-quality programmes and interventions:

  • are evidence based and/or a have a credible rationale for reducing reoffending or promoting desistance
  • address factors relevant to reoffending and desistance
  • are targeted at appropriate users
  • develop new skills (as opposed to only awareness raising)
  • motivate, engage and retain participants
  • are delivered as intended
  • are evaluated

Accredited programmes must demonstrate sound evidence that:

  • the techniques used will help offenders to change
  • assessment tools will reliably target the right people
  • there is a commitment to monitoring the quality of programme delivery and to evaluation

Information about accredited programmes offered locally may be obtained from:

List of HMPPS accredited programmes

This list includes all the accredited programmes that are accredited for use in the community and custody, and available to service users in at least one prison or probation site.

More about CSAAP

What is the Correctional Service Advice and Accreditation Panel (CSAAP)?

The Correctional Services Advice and Accreditation Panel (CSAAP) comprises academics and expert practitioners who provide independent evidence-based advice and products to HMPPS. There are two groups: The Core Panel and Associate CSAAP Members.

The Core Panel

The Core Panel advises HMPPS on accredited programmes. They review programme design, quality assurance, and evaluations. They make recommendations to the HMPPS Accredited Programmes and Interventions Delivery Strategy Board (APIDSB) on accreditation. The Core Panel also provide evidence-based advice on a range of topics according to their specialist knowledge.

The Members

CSAAP members are independent, international academics and practitioners. They include criminologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and sociologists.

The Core Panel members are:

  • Nicholas Blagden
  • Erica Bowen
  • Jason Davies
  • Yolanda Fernandez
  • Theresa A Gannon
  • Friedrich Lösel
  • Mike Maguire
  • James McGuire
  • Ralph Serin
  • Michael Seto
  • Faye S Taxman

Associate CSAAP Members

HMPPS engages a wide pool of academics and expert practitioners for evidence-based advice on a wide range of topics relevant to prisons and probation in England and Wales.

The list of active Associate members is available on request. If you would like to know more about CSAAP or work with us, please email

Published 23 November 2018
Last updated 23 May 2022 + show all updates
  1. Update made to Offending behaviour programmes and interventions - 17 February 2022

  2. Content update.

  3. CSAAP attachment change.

  4. Attachment updated.

  5. Descriptions of CSAAP accredited programmes updated.

  6. Descriptions of CSAAP accredited programmes updated.

  7. Descriptions of CSAAP accredited programmes updated.

  8. First published.