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University of Oxford Centre for Criminology Probation & Youth Justice Research Unit MANAGING PERSISTENT AND SERIOUS OFFENDERS IN THE COMMUNITY Dr Colin Roberts, Professor of Criminology & Penology 31 st October 2006 Monash Law Chambers Melbourne
PRINCIPLE OBJECTIVES OF THE PROBATION AND YOUTH JUSTICE RESEARCH UNIT Foster and develop multi-disciplinary research within the University between different departments and faculties, and in collaboration with other universities. Seek to obtain research funding from government, public organisations in criminal justice, independent research trusts and for profit companies, and publish the results. Increase the number of research students registered. Contribute to the development of: evidence and intelligence-led practice, more effective interventions, improved policy making, and provide direct consultation to key agencies. Assist in providing greater public assurance and safety from crime.
Two Recent Research Studies undertaken by the Unit 1. Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) for Young Offenders for the Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England Wales 2. Intensive Prolific Offenders Project (IRIS) for the Thames Valley Police Both projects have involved the employment of full-time research officers from a wide range of academic backgrounds, and the overall research design, analysis and write-up has been overseen by : a senior group of academics from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge including: three criminologists, one neurological and one behavioural psychologist, an adolescent psychiatrist, a physiologist specialising in learning handicaps, two educationalists, a criminal and human rights lawyer , a social worker and an economist specialising in cost benefit analysis.
The ISSP Research Study YJB commissioned a multi-dimensional evaluation of the first 41 schemes across England Wales. Three key national objectives: to reduce the rate of re-offending in the target group of persistent and serious young offenders by 5%, and to reduce the seriousness of any re-offending. To tackle underlying problems of the young people in an effective manner, with particular emphasis on education and training. To demonstrate that supervision and surveillance is being undertaken consistently and rigorously, and in ways which will reassure sentencers and the community of their credibility and likely success.
CONTINUED The ISSP consisted of either six or twelve months of intensive supervision and electronic surveillance, either as part of a community sentence or after time in youth custody, requiring a minimum of 25 hours contact additional to school, training or work attendance. The research involved a sample of 4, 000 young people on ISSP, and a comparison group of over a 1, 000 from non- experimental locations, followed up for two years post sentence or release from custody ( a random allocation trial was proposed but the YJB considered it would be unacceptable to the general public)
Key Findings from the ISSP Research Study Targeting of 6 month ISSP cases was estimated to be reasonably accurate (7% net-widening ), but the 12 month cases attracted massive net-widening (42%) particularly from the Crown Court
CONTINUED Young Offenders on ISSP were mostly very disadvantaged an damaged Average was 16. 4 years, but average reading age was 10. 5 years Mean number of convicted offences in previous 12 months at liberty was 9. 8 per offender, and 84% had already served a custody sentence 15% were currently of no fixed abode, a further 12% were in the local government care and 39% were on of the local “at risk “ register Of those of school attending age (under 17 years), 78% were not receiving any type of formal education 12% had been diagnosed with a mental health condition, 18% reported deliberate self-harming in the previous 12 months, and 9% were known to have attempted suicide
CONTINUED At least 37 out of 41 schemes struggled throughout to provide 25 hours of meaningful contact with the young people per week Mean was 22 hours for 6 month ISSP cases Mean was only 17 hours for 12 month ISSP cases Major problems of service delivery were in relation to: accommodation, drug abuse treatment, and mental health issues
CONTINUED Surveillance largely involved electronic devices 66% were on electronic curfew tags for a minimum of 3 months 12% were subject to electronic voice verification 9% were on both forms of electronic systems 18% were humanly tracked only 41% were electronically monitored and humanly tracked The research showed that only in monitoring with electronic and human contacts was there any positive benefits, and only in 9% of all cases
CONTINUED Re-offending and reconviction 12 month reconviction rate was 89% and 24 month rate was 94% Reductions in frequency of re-offending were 42% for community sentence and 35% for post-custody cases over 24 months Re-offending gravity reduced by 15% for community cases and 12% for custody cases over 24 months BUT matched comparison group cases showed slightly lower reconviction rate, lower re-offending frequency and lower re-offending gravity rates CLEAR CASE OF REGRESSION TO THE MEAN NOT EVIDENCE OF A TREATMENT EFFECT
CONTINUED Measurable impact on some underlying problems was more encouraging Education and training engagement increased by 11% Family and close relationships improved by 10% Thinking and pro-social attitudes and activities improved by 9% Accommodation situations improved in 8% of relevant cases HOWEVER Drug abuse reductions only occurred in 2% of relevant cases Motivation to change and desist from re-offending occurred in 1% In mental health case there was a -1% regression in treatment provision and health improvement.
CONTINUED Completion and Termination Rates Overall average completion rate was 45% across all cases Over 80% of the young people were breached at some time on ISSP 20% were breached and ordered not to continue 19% were terminated early due to re-offending 17% were terminated early for re-offending and breaches in 84% of cases who were terminated a custodial sentence was made
Costs of ISSP The following data only applies to 6 month ISSP, 12 month case costs considerably more per head as there were few of them (250) Mean cost per young offender per start was £ 12, 500 Mean cost person per completion was £ 32, 000 At scheme level costs per start varied from £ 5, 500 to £ 30, 000 a person At scheme level costs per completion varied from£ 12, 000 to £ 80, 500 COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS SHOWED BIG NEGATIVE RATIOS ONLY 2 SCHEMES SHOWED SMALL AND LIMITED POSITIVE FINANCIAL OUTCOMES
Overview of ISSP Research Study Findings Huge variations in the quality of the different ISSP schemes Minority of schemes ( 9 at the most ) showed some significant effects on under-lying problems and re-offending Majority drowned out the achievements of the few to produce the overall discouraging results Best schemes appeared to have: clear models for practice (e. g. MST, Multi-dimensional Advocacy), good leadership, well trained and enthusiastic staff, excellent collaboration with other local agencies (e. g. police, schools, employers, health services, accommodation providers, drug treatment agencies ) Worst schemes had confused managers, high staff turn-over, poor facilities, non-existent local collaborations with other key agencies
OVERVIEW CONTINUED Targeting Problems and confused objectives Difficulties grew in defining persistent vs serious young offenders Ensuring proportionality and “Just desserts” in sentencing Negative labelling effects on many young person’s self-identity Was reducing the young prison population the prime hidden agenda ?
OVERVIEW CONTINUED Intensification of Community Controls on Young People Net widening, mesh thinning and greater penetration in social control Up-tariffing by giving intrusive and demanding community penalties which young offenders cannot comply with and then go to custody Unintended consequences on criminal careers of mixing together young offenders who have different levels and types of offending experience Over-emphasis on surveillance with no positive dimensions, viewed by young offenders as oppressive, negative and very punitive. Makes it a shaming experience with no re-integrative dimension ( al a Braithwaite) Lost the proper balance between care, control, support, and coercion Some staff became unintentionally collusive in work with young people, did not properly pro-socially model (al a Trotter), and may have actually encourage deviance, non-compliance and ultimately further offending. BUT DOES MORE MEAN MORE EFFECTIVE ? CERTAINLY NOT IN ISSP
Prolific Offender Projects (POPS) in England & Wales Since mid-1990’s gradual development of POPs in more than a dozen Police Areas Earliest projects and research were in Lancashire and Staffordshire University of Oxford has done consultancy and research in six of them: Northumbria, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, Avon & Somerset, West Midlands and Thames Valley.
Key Characteristics of POPS in England & Wales Police led, but staffed with experienced police and probation officers, located in local police stations. Local schemes using police and probation information for “profiling” and identification of most prolific local offenders Fully compliant with human rights legislation and use these rights to inform offenders and others of their prolific offender status Combine high levels of police and electronic monitoring with intensive one-to-one supervision and other contacts (e. g. mobiles, police checks) by police and probation officers. Enforce strict compliance with police and court orders, community sentence conditions, custody licences & parole, and electronic curfews
CONTINUED Ensure increased probability of arrests and convictions for any re-offending via greater and more effective use of intelligence-led police practice, and agreed information sharing between agencies Fast-tracked prosecution into court, advanced sentencing hearings, swift enforcement of court and community sentence breaches, and rapid prisonrecalls escorted to prisons by police officers. Provides immediate support and help to designated offenders in prison and outside to actively encourage desistance from crime, including : accommodation support, financial management ( e. g. bank accounts), education and job-training placement, family relationship support (e. g. partner support, child care support), faster access health care diagnosis and referral. Rapid access to community and residential drug and alcohol treatment Offenders once designated as prolific can only be taken off POP if they are crime free for 12 months at liberty
POPS concentrate on having Multi-professional Teams Police officers are mostly experienced detectives with good local crime and community knowledge, probation officers are of at least five years experience in the local area. Teams usually include community drug specialists and other specialist civilians with strong local ties. Teams all operate in the same office and have knowledge of each other’s cases. Different team members use their own professional status to enforce orders and compliance, and to ensure good communication back with their own agencies or settings.
Other characteristics of POPS in England & Wales Local POP’s have strong links and support from local legal professionals: judges, magistrates, court clerks, Crown Prosecution Service, and defence lawyers Despite greatly increased levels of surveillance and monitoring there are very few complaints from designated offenders of harassment, due to strict human rights compliance in all dealings with them Provides a classic form of “carrot and stick” model of offender management. If offenders continue to offend they are arrested more quickly and processed more rapidly. If they want to begin to desist from crime, the support from the police and key others is high quality, instantly available and well supported by other key agencies and officials
Comparisons made of criminal careers of prolific offenders Compared offenders in the IRIS cohort and the matched comparison sample, by analysing their known criminal record and the types of offences committed, their location and circumstances, whether they had led to a court conviction, or only had resulted in an arrest, and whether the offences had been later admitted to and brought before a court ( TIC’d –taken into consideration). Measured time by separate weeks at liberty, to be able to exclude periods in custody on remand or sentenced when they would have been incapacitated (i. e. could not offend in the community)
OFFENDINGCOMPARISONS CONTINUED Examined their offending careers over the 24 months at liberty pre-IRIS against the 12 and 24 month periods at liberty since they commenced on IRIS, or for they same time period at liberty for the comparison group. Constructed from police and probation records Individual Case Profiles with time-lining week by week on different characteristics. These can be used for individual singlecase studies or for collective analysis. First 20 offenders put on IRIS had in the 24 months at liberty pre-IRIS been convicted in courts of 269 offences (excluding road traffic offences) and had admitted to in court a further 384 separate offences.
CONTINUED The most commonly convicted offences were: robbery, aggravated and domestic burglary, thefts of and from cars, thefts from shops and persons, deception and fraud, serious motoring offences (e. g. death by dangerous driving, excess alcohol and/or drug use), assaults, woundings and criminal damage ( including arson ). Specialist Sex offenders were excluded from selection , but some of the prolific offenders had recent convictions for sexual crimes, mainly against adult women.
Key Findings on IRIS in the First Year of Operation Statistically significant reductions on all measures used in analysis. Frequency and gravity of known offending in IRIS cases had reduced, as had police intelligence reports of suspected offending. Largest known offending reductions were for: Robberies down 81% All burglaries down 72% Thefts of cars down 83% Thefts from cars down 69%
Continued Key Findings from IRIS Improvements occurred in compliance rates in the IRIS group even though there was far greater levels of surveillance, stop checks and supervision contacts of all kinds. In IRIS the monthly at liberty known re-offending rates dropped from 2. 1 per offender to 0. 8 –a 60% reduction In the Comparison group the rate only fell from 2. 1 to 1. 9 – a 5% reduction In the IRIS group breaches of Court Bail reduced from 1. 8 to 0. 15 per offender per month at liberty, prison license and parole re-calls fell from 0. 45 to 0. 25 per month, and curfew breaches dropped from 0. 25 per month to 0. 05 In the comparison group over the same time period the overall noncompliance rate actually slightly increased from 0. 26 to 0. 33 per offender per month – a rise of 42%.
Cost Benefit of IRIS: Key Findings After 12 Months Full running costs for first 20 offenders were £ 10, 250 per offender Costs of known offences to victims and health services was pre-IRIS £ 2, 500 per offender per month at liberty Post- IRIS reduced to £ 790 per offender – a 67% reduction Costs of known offences for police activity only reduced from £ 450 per offender per month at liberty pre IRIS, to £ 150 per offender per month post IRIS. A 66% reduction produced local police activity savings for 20 offenders of over £ 65, 000 in one year, the equivalent of employing two new police officers
Cost Benefit Analysis : Continued Key Findings Savings in the first 12 months from the full economic costs of offences committed by only the first 20 offenders on IRIS were : over £ 4, 000 per offender per year at liberty The full Cost Benefit Ratio was 1. 35 for full running and set-up costs against all the known offence reduction savings. The Cost Benefit Ratio was 0. 60 of full running and set-up costs, when only benefits to victims and health services are included in calculations.
Initial Conclusions from some aspects of the IRIS Research Findings IRIS and other POPS targeting local prolific offenders are proving popular with local people, and are being embraced by police and probation areas for several reasons. They are “tough” on crime involving known local prolific offenders. These typically are only 7 -9% of the known offenders but commonly account for over 90% of the known local crimes, and also commit a disproportionate number of the most grave offences, including homicides, serious asaults, arsons, aggravated burglaries and car thefts, and armed robberies. They were measurably arrested more quickly and prosecuted more successfully ( fewer acquittals), and sentenced more swiftly. This type of humane toughness is cost effective in the use of scarce police resources. They make a significant contribution to reducing local crime rates and meeting police targets for crime reduction of key offence types. The projects stick at individual offenders until the stop offending, so they keep some individuals on their “books” for years and years. The police officers do not become social workers, they retain their detecting and interrogation skills, but they gain new sources of intelligence information. Offenders who resist can be shown to have reduced the frequency and seriousness of their continued offending.
Overview of the Conclusions from POPS Research They do something positive to help offenders to desist and actually direct contribute to reducing re-offending, and making offenders to become useful citizens. Offenders welcome the real support and practical help they get. The multi-professional teams are really effective if the offender is motivated to change, and can offer rapid and meaningful assistance with such strong local police backing. They are actually tough on persistent criminals: 9% of offenders commit over 90% of known crimes and account for a disproportional number of the most serious offences. They arrest quickly and process and sentence more swiftly, and save the police and other criminal justice agencies money. They provide what we know the public wants: crime reduction and less fear of being a victim, but also direct offender supervision which puts them on the “ straight and narrow”. They help the police to do a difficult job better, probation to be more effective and other agencies to meet their objectives with a hard to reach group of clients. They appear to produce some “win, win “ outcomes police, probation, other agencies and the public.
Concluding Comments on Multi-professional Research in Criminal Justice A Multi- professional research consortium has the potential to contribute in different way It has all the advantages of intellectual co-operation: Wider base of publications, journals and inter-disciplinary books, Wider range of theoretical and methodological techniques and approaches Sharing expertise and wider knowledge, and greater evidence-based Knowledge and evidence development: Practical expertise transfer from different disciplines Policy implications arising from multi-dimensional approaches Improved theoretical models to assist in better practice and policy making It can achieve an overall widening and improvement of services to contracted clients and funding bodies. Improves chances of renewed contracts and wider range of and stability on contracted work for research staff and research students ( Masters and Doctorates) Contributes to improved offender management and crime reduction Helps ensure better services to victims and reduced victimisation, Assists in managing and delivering more efficient and effective criminal justice agencies, Most importantly it can help deliver greater public assurance and safety