Impact Case Study

Transforming criminal justice and offender rehabilitation

The university’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit has developed a distinct offender rehabilitation model that’s being adopted by policy-makers and practitioners.

The problem

The rates of reoffending remain high and innovation is badly needed to reform the system. New models might be needed for better integration of practice in offender resettlement.

What we did

In 2007, researchers Professor Chris Fox (background in criminal justice policy) and Dr Kevin Albertson (economist) started to study England and Wales criminal justice commissioning practice.  This was a continuation of Professor Chris Fox’s work on the criminal justice system and community safety, begun in 1995.

They were commissioned to undertake a series of evaluations and embarked on a programme of theoretical work to counter the prevailing economic thinking in the sector and develop an alternative economic theory to underpin criminal justice policy and practice work.

What we discovered

Manchester Met’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) developed a distinct economic model for commissioning more personalised services for the resettlement of offenders.

The model is adopted by and influences the approach taken by policy-makers and senior practitioners involved in commissioning offender resettlement services.

It’s also been used by one of the most successful consortiums bidding to deliver these services, in the ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ framework, recently introduced by the government.

The Manchester Met approach is inter-disciplinary and multi-method. It’s grounded in the application of economic theory and methods to an analysis of criminal justice. The model of commissioning offender resettlement developed has three aspects:

The approach has had particular impact in the development of the Transforming Justice model developed in Greater Manchester where the team is based.

Why it matters

The research has had an impact on policy nationally and locally – in public and private sector.

The researchers have influenced national policy through their Membership of the Home Office Economic Research Advisory Group and Ministry of Justice Evaluation Advisory Group.

Local policy-makers and commissioners have taken on board the stimulating innovations grounded in academic theory.

Since 2012 Chris Fox has been an advisor to a FTSE 250 company working in the justice sector.

Ultimately, Manchester Met research is supporting organisational change within criminal justice agencies in Greater Manchester.

"Manchester Met has supported the programme of transformation work within Greater Manchester by providing advice, guidance and academic rigour. Advice in relation to the potential for a Justice Reinvestment approach has also supported Greater Manchester to move to a broader model of 'Transforming Justice'."

Senior Manager from Greater Manchester Public Service Reform Team

Featured Researcher

Christopher Fox

Chris is a Professor of Evaluation with an interest in policy evaluation and evidence-based policy and practice.

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Phone 0161 247 3031