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Evaluation of the Impact of the HM Prison Service Enhanced Thinking Skills Programme on Reoffending Outcomes of the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) Sample

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This document examines the impact of the Enhanced Thinking Skills accredited offending behavior program, a cognitive-behavioral program that addresses thinking and behavior associated with offending, on the one-year reconviction outcomes of 257 prison-based participants between 2006 and 2008.


This report provides an in-depth discussion of a research project aimed at addressing the conflicting evidence base regarding the effectiveness of Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) in reducing recidivism. Early findings of statistically significant reduction in reconviction following ETS participation were later contradicted by research studies finding little or no statistical differences between ETS participants and non-participants. The key added value of the study being examined in this document is the ability to match on the basis of dynamic risk factors, such as drug use and motivation to stop offending, and additional rich static risk factors, such as family criminal history, in addition to the standard static risk factors. Results of this evaluation show that ETS was successful in significantly reducing both the reconviction rate and the frequency of general reoffending of ETS participants: ETS participants that were reconvicted within one year was six percentage points lower than the comparison group; ETS participants were convicted of 60 fewer recordable offences within one year per 100 released prisoners; and no statistically significant impact was found on the severe offence reconviction rate.

Date Published: January 1, 2010