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Assessment of the Detention and Training Order and its Impact on the Secure Estate across England and Wales: Reconviction Study


This project complemented a research study entitled 'The Assessment of the Detention and Training Order (DTO) and its impact on the secure estate', already undertaken by the Policy Research Bureau, Nacro and, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, and published as a report in 2002. The study, commissioned by the Youth Justice Board, comprised three stages of research, which described respectively the courts' use of the order; the progress of a sample of 300-500 young people on the order; and the outcomes for this sample of young people. This third stage of the research focused on collating and analysing data on reconvictions for a sample of DTO trainees. This reconviction study allowed us to concentrate on the possible impact of this court disposal on the reconviction rates of young people who received this part custody, part community sentence.

What did the research focus on?

The study analysed reconviction figures for the secure estate for a 'snapshot' in time. We analysed the rates for a cohort of trainees who left custody between specified dates to begin the community part of their sentence. Further involvement in or desistence from criminal activity was measured by analysing the number of reconvictions for this sample over a chosen period of time, following the completion of the community part of a sentence (i.e. the second half of the DTO). Some institutional comparisons were then made. The reconviction rates for this DTO sample were then compared with reconviction figures for a matched sample of previous cases. These comparisons included Detention in a Young Offenders Institution (DYOI) and the Secure Training Order (STO) cases from the same release months as the DTO sample but two years earlier.

What did the research involve?

To carry out this study, we requested some basic standardised data on the sample of DTO trainees from the Youth Justice Board's SACHS database. These data were thenused to access data concerning offending and reconvictions which are held on the Police National Computer (PNC). The sample was followed in the central criminal records for a period of 12 months after release from custody. These data were analysed and the results informed our conclusions regarding an overall assessment of the impact of the DTO. In addition, comparisons with results for young people serving earlier custodial sentences were made.

Timescale and final products of the research

A final report was submitted to the Youth Justice Board in the spring of 2004.

Last updated November 2004