Country: United Kingdom
Problem: There are a wide range of programs aimed at supporting the rehabilitation of offenders, but without access to follow-up data, it can be difficult for providers to have quantifiable evidence that they had a direct impact on recidivism.
Solution: The Ministry of Justice’s Justice Data Lab (JDL) supports rehabilitation organizations by providing vital evidence to understand effectiveness of organizations in reducing reoffending.
Strategy: Established a Data Lab service available to providers that is a leader in frontline service evaluation.
Initiative Highlighted: Justice Data Lab statistics
Source: What Works
What is it?
The Justice Data Lab is a service run by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) that gives organizations working with offenders, access to re-offending data. The information provided helps organizations to assess the impact of their work on reducing re-offending and also helps develop an understanding of effective rehabilitation. The Justice Data Lab was launched as a pilot in 2013, and confirmed as a permanent service in 2015.
What problem does it solve?
The problem is that rehabilitation programs for offenders are unable to identify their direct impact on recidivism due to the lack of quantifiable evidence.
How does it solve it?
JDL analyzes offender data from rehabilitation programs and uses a propensity score matching method that allows them to identify a group of similar offenders based on characteristics observed in available data. Members of both a treatment group and comparison group are judged to have a similar propensity to reoffend and the comparison group is not exposed to interventions. The provision of a comparison group allows JDL to establish whether changes to a cohort’s offending behavior is attributable to the rehabilitation program rather than other variables.
JDL has published reports covering over 200 comparison group analyses across a range of intervention types, from prison-based education and post-release accommodation support to the impact of women’s centres. The analyses have identified which programs are working.
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