News

Commenting on the findings of the Ministry of Justice's evaluation of the Sex Offender Treatment Programme, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

"The results of an evaluation into sex offender treatment programmes published today are disappointing, but they do not mean that a whole group of people have been made more dangerous by doing the courses involved. The reoffending rate for sexual offending is much lower than for most other offences, and the rise in the reoffending rate for the whole cohort is from 8% to 10% (for sexual reoffending) measured over 8 years. The great majority of people released after serving a long sentence for sexual offending are not being convicted of further sexual offences.

"Decisions on whether to release people convicted of sex offences and how to manage them safely in the community depend on a wide range of factors, including the support available to them. Completing a particular course has only ever contributed to that judgement. That remains true.

"The range of courses available has already been adjusted to take account of these findings, but it is very important that individual prisoners are not disadvantaged because they voluntarily took part in the previous courses. In fact, their willingness to undergo lengthy and challenging courses, and the skills learned, should count in their favour, as just one factor amongst many in assessing risk and preparing for release."