Prison payment by results ‘works’

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A REPORT into a payment-by-results pilot in a privately-run Doncaster prison has found that almost two-thirds of released offenders sought help in the community.

The study, conducted by the Ministry of Justice, looked into the lessons learned from the early implementation of ‘payment by results’ at HMP Doncaster in Marshgate.

Payment by results means the prison is paid for each offender who seeks support after their release.

The report found the reason for the new approach is to ‘only pay for what works’ and to achieve ‘better outcomes for the public’ which can be delivered for the same or less money.

It also seeks to transfer the ‘financial risk from the taxpayer to the provider’.

The study found 58 per cent of offenders who were released from the prison, which is run by Serco, took part in community management which included addressing their employment needs.

There was also a specific focus on case management, which Serco achieved in partnership with voluntary sector provider Catch 22.

The research team spoke to offenders who expressed approval for the scheme.

One told researchers: “It’s better if you see the same person every time. I don’t need to explain to a different person that I don’t need help with this or I do need help with that.”

Another said: “It’s a lot better – they’ve got your own file … it’s more personal, you don’t have to give your name and number all the time to different people who don’t know your specific needs.”

Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said: “With 58 per cent of offenders voluntarily engaging with rehabilitation services and early examples of offenders being helped into full-time employment, this report is encouraging and clearly shows the payment-by-results approach is working.”

The report concludes that the next stage of the research will be to look at how the new approach may have influenced reoffending rates.