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UK: Innovative Support Scheme for Short-term Prisoners Helps Reduce Re-offending Rates

10th March 2016

An independent evaluation of the Low Moss Public Social Partnership (PSP) in Scotland has found the project helped to improve many aspects of prisoners’ lives and reduce re-offending rates. 

The PSP is a joint project between the Scottish Prison Service and a range of third sector organisations (led by Turning Point Scotland), which was developed to improve the throughcare support received by short-term prisoners. Running since April 2013, the PSP was set up in an attempt to address the lack of access to co-ordinated services which could support people serving short-term sentences, as many faced complex issues – such as difficulty in accessing housing, welfare supports and medical supports – all of which served to increase the likelihood of the person re-offending and returning to prison.

Identifying the problems previously experienced through a lack of service co-ordination, the PSP provided a model of ‘throughcare support’, meaning that support was provided to the prisoner all the way through their sentence and even after their release. 

The results of the independent evaluation of the project, carried out by Reid-Howie Associates, were very promising. It found, for example:

1) Less than 17% of all those who had engaged with the project had returned to custody at some point;
2) 51% of service users reported an improvement in their involvement in criminal behaviour;
3) 40% reported an improvement in their physical health and 44% in their psychological well-being;
4) 42% had reduced their level of substance misuse and risk-taking;
5) Evidence was also found of improved literacy, numeracy, employability and education, among others.

Importantly for policy-makers and those looking to replicate the project, the report also identifies factors which were critical to the PSP’s success and challenges faced by the project, as well as making recommendations for future improvement.

To read more, the evaluation can be accessed here.

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