Main content

Can sex offenders and violent criminals be rehabilitated in prison?

Why the Sex Offender Treatment Programme was scrapped. Do other prison rehabilitation schemes for paedophiles and violent criminals work?

The decision to scrap the Sex Offender Treatment Programme raised major concerns about the rehabilitation of prisoners and the impact on victims. The scheme was replaced five years after initial research suggested it wasn’t working - and might even increase the risk of re-offending. There are now calls to ensure that other courses, including those which cater for violent offenders, are properly evaluated.

Campaigners claim the system for assessing the effectiveness of such programmes is too secretive and needs to be made more open. Some experts believe there’s been an over-reliance on treatment schemes as a way of calculating the risks posed by prisoners. Victims say some prisoners are playing the system – accessing programmes to convince the authorities they’re safe to be released. Former inmates say education and training are more likely to stop offenders returning to a life of crime, while there’s emerging evidence that providing newly-released prisoners with support in the community is the key.

Reporter Danny Shaw
Producer Nicola Dowling
Editor Carl Johnston

Photo credit; Motortion\Getty

Available now

37 minutes

Broadcasts

Download this programme

Download this programme

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.

Podcast