Statistics show NIACRO project significantly reduced reoffending

New NISRA research published today shows that a former NIACRO project to support resettlement reduced reoffending by up to 24%.

The project, Jobtrack, ran for more than two decades and worked to increase the employability of people who had offended and had been in contact with the Prison Service and Probation Board. It aimed to reduce the risk of reoffending, based on evidence that links unemployment to offending behaviour. Its funding was not renewed in March.

The Northern Ireland Data Lab, a pilot study within the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), conducted a reoffending analysis for a sample of people who completed Jobtrack during 2010/2011.

The study showed that, when compared to people who were not engaged with the NIACRO project, Jobtrack reduced the one year reoffending rate of an individual by between <1 and 24%.The one year reoffending rate for those who completed the project was 20%, compared to 32% of those in the matched sample of similar offenders, representing a statistically significant difference.  

Indications also show that even partially completing the project reduced the one year reoffending rate by between 2 and 18%.

NIACRO Chief Executive Olwen Lyner welcomed the findings:

“This pilot study shows just how effective partnership working can be. The various projects NIACRO delivers all have the aim of reducing crime and its impact on people and communities. As a voluntary organisation, we are ideally placed to deliver this intervention service to people returning to the community during the critical first year of resettlement after prison.

“The statistics published today prove what we knew: NIACRO works. Though this particular programme has not received funding for the future, we look forward to working with statutory agencies to continue delivering effective services that represent smart expenditure.

“In the current economic climate, it is more important than ever that the voluntary, statutory and private sectors work together to reduce crime and increase public safety. Crime places a huge cost on the public purse in terms of policing and justice. It therefore pays for sectors to co-operate to deliver preventative support to reduce offending. This research highlights how well that can be done.”

This is the first time this kind of analysis has been carried out in Northern Ireland. Adapted from the methods used by the Ministry of Justice Data Lab in England and Wales, the Northern Ireland Data Lab is a pilot which seeks to evaluate the impact of services delivered by organisations on reoffending rates. The introduction of this measurement provides an exciting opportunity to identify both effective interventions and efficient partnerships.

Notes to editors:

  1. The statistical bulletin and information about the Northern Ireland Data Lab is available here: http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/statistics-research/stats-research-publications/reoffending-stats-and-research.htm
  2. NIACRO is a voluntary organisation which has been working for more than 40 years to reduce crime and its impact on people and communities.
  3. The Jobtrack programme was primarily funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and was run in partnership with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) and the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS). It ran from 1987 to March 2015.
  4. For media enquiries, please contact Julia Kenny on julia@niacro.co.uk or 028 9032 0157.