5: Impact and outcome measures

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Conclusions about the impact on offenders of participation in the second stage Pathfinders are limited by the fact that the available resources did not permit us to collect similar data on a valid comparison group of non-participants. The only comparison groups used in the evaluation were constructed during Phase 1 in order to support a reconviction study, the first (one-year) results of which are presented briefly later in this chapter.

Nevertheless, some useful indications of the impact of the programme in Phase 2 can be obtained from the data collected on participants. In the first part of the chapter we focus on three ‘proxy’ measures of effectiveness. The first of these is ‘continuity of service’, which is defined as the proportion of participants who remained in contact with the FOR programme team (or its community links) beyond their day of release. This was chosen because a central concern of all resettlement services is to promote service uptake after release; this was also a key aim of all three projects. The second and third measures relate to changes in participants’ attitudes to crime and in their perceived ‘life problems’, as reflected in ‘before and after’ scores on the CRIME-PICS II questionnaire. All three sets of results are compared by site and where appropriate by prisoner category.

Next, although it is recognised that they are not robust enough to be used as outcome measures, some data are presented (a) on the accommodation and employment status of some of the FOR participants, comparing their situation before and after imprisonment, and (b) on their self-reported levels of substance misuse and re-offending.

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