Mary Needham

PhD researcher Marie Needham.

Reducing offending and recidivism in Cornwall

Plymouth University

This PhD project uses data from the Devon & Cornwall Probation Trust on alcohol prevention programs and recidivism to investigate whether assigning offenders to different alcohol preventive programs reduces their rate of offending and being charged.  

The Probation Trust provides relevant institutions with the most up-to-date data about recidivism. Plymouth University PhD student Marie Needham is developing her skills to support the Probation Trust to undertake the necessary research.

Dr Rebecca Mandeville-Norden, Research & Information Manager, Devon & Cornwall Probation Trust, said: “We have been involved in supervising a number of student placements for several years. It is helpful to us to have their input and specialised analytical skills as it enhances our understanding of the impact that the probation trust can make in terms of rehabilitating offenders and protecting the public.”

It is hoped that the results of this analysis will allow the Probation Trust, along with policy makers, to make more informed decisions about the merit of these programs.

The research has already examined the value of three different alcohol prevention programs that are intended to help reduce recidivism. Using survival analysis, Marie has provided the Probation Trust with much needed data about the programs’ effectiveness in reducing recidivism rates as well as providing preliminary data on cost effectiveness of each of the three programs.

Reducing criminal behaviour and recidivism has the potential to help towards the financial burden of crime as well as increasing the quality of life for local communities. It is hoped that the research will also contribute to Cornwall Council and local probation offices in their efforts to reduce crime, particularly recidivism.