Justice Data Lab launched

MOJ to release data on reoffending in year-long pilot

The Ministry of Justice has launched the Justice Data Lab, which will give organisations working with offenders access to reoffending data.

It has been set up in conjunction with NPC, which called for such a service in its report Unlocking Offending Data last year.

Through the Justice Data Lab, analysts at the Ministry of Justice will match data from organisations working with offenders with national records to produce reoffending rates for that group of individuals. This will be compared with a control group to prove the effectiveness of a particular intervention.

The Ministry of Justice will provide the service for free for the first 12 months as part of a trial, with a view to making it a permanent fixture.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Reoffending has been too high for too long and we need a revolution in the way we tackle it. Providers must be able to see what works if they are to break the depressing cycle of crime.

"Giving the voluntary sector the right tools to understand their impact will allow them to compete for contracts on a level playing field with the confidence that they are working from sound evidence and proven success.

"This will help good organisations to become even more successful."

Dan Corry, chief executive of NPC, added: "We are very pleased the Ministry of Justice has acted so swiftly to set up the Justice Data Lab.

"Access to reoffending data will enable voluntary sector organisations to prove their efficacy and fine-tune their services. This is particularly pertinent as the payment-by-results approach starts to sweep through the criminal justice system."

NPC surveyed criminal justice charities that work directly with ex-offenders and found that:

  • around half had tried accessing offending data, in order to find out whether their interventions had effectively helped service users avoid reoffending;
  • of those who had tried to access data only one in five were successful every time; but
  • four in five found the process of accessing data hard some or all of the time.


This article was taken from Civil Society Finance – www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news