Prison Pathfinder

This is an evaluation of the Prison Pathfinder Programme, an initiative aimed at reducing violence within the prison estates.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Barry Charleton
Police region
Collaboration and partnership

HMPs Isis and Wormwood Scrubs.

Level of research
Professional/work based
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

The Prison Pathfinder Programme is an initiative designed by the London Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), and delivered predominantly at HMP Isis.

It has the objective of reducing violence within the secure estate by:

a) addressing institutional issues that are enabling violence, and to improve safety

b) changing behaviour and reducing violent offending both in custody and on release

The programme comprises four separate intervention services (three of which are funded by MOPAC) in the establishment, and the provision of a dedicated Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer within the prison.

In addition to the programme delivery at Isis there is a mediation service at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. MOPAC are working collaboratively with HMPs Isis and Wormwood Scrubs to evaluate the Prison Pathfinders Programme.

The evaluation focuses on three distinct areas for analysis. The first stage (performance review) aims to track the assignment of participants to the intervention services over the 24-month term of the programme. The second stage (process evaluation) involves gathering feedback from course participants in order to evaluate the set up and delivery of the each of the courses.

The final stage (impact evaluation) involves gathering the perceptions of prison staff and inmates about levels of safety and violent incidents within the secure estate, and data regarding number of violent incidents involving group service participants, and overall throughout the estate.

Research methodology

The Prison Pathfinder evaluation will assess the impact of independently delivered programmes on several elements within HMP Isis.

Performance Monitoring

HMPPS data on offences occurring within HMP Isis will be tracked, including which individuals are involved. Individual level data will be needed in order to match any participation on rehabilitative programmes.

Process evaluation

The effectiveness of the implementation of the rehabilitative programmes will be assessed both from throughput data of the programmes themselves, as well as prisoner and staff opinions on whether objectives have been met. This will be achieved through surveys (before and after for prisoners).

Impact evaluation

Collectively we will use data on offences within the estate, participation in the programmes, survey data, MPS investigation information and adjudications to determine the impacts on those involved with the rehabilitative programmes versus those who are not.

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