Research shows positive impact of mentoring service on female offenders
A service that matches female offenders in Scotland with mentors to help them reintegrate back into the community and reduce reoffending has been shown to have a positive impact on them.
An independent evaluation of the ‘Shine’ women’s mentoring service has shown a considerable proportion of participants making progress towards a long term reduction in reoffending and increased integration into the community. Shine is a public social partnership, delivered by lead organisation Sacro in partnership with seven other voluntary sector organisations and supported by the Scottish Prison Service, Social Work Scotland and Scotland’s eight Community Justice Authorities.
The evaluation was carried out over six months by Ipsos MORI Scotland. The independent research organisation was commissioned by Shine to evaluate:
- progress against short and medium term outcomes
- levels of participation in the service
- whether the activities in the service logic model had been undertaken as planned
- whether mentors felt equipped to deliver the activities to a high standard.
- Mentees who took part in the depth interviews were overwhelmingly positive about their mentors and the impact that the service had on their lives.
- There is evidence that a considerable proportion of mentees made progress on short and medium term outcomes. This should contribute in the long term to reduced reoffending, increased integration and a reduction in gender inequalities of opportunity.
- 59% of all mentees who engaged in the service made progress on at least one of their personal outcomes and 39% made progress on three or more outcomes.
- Among those who engaged for five months or longer, 78% made progress on at least one outcome, 65% made progress on three or more outcomes and 53% made progress on five or more outcomes.
- The specific target of 60% of those who engage in the community achieving improved motivation to change behaviour has been met.
- The specific target of 60% of those who engage in the community achieving increased engagement with services has been met.
- 48% of all mentees who engaged and 77% of all those who engaged for five months or more were referred to three or more different types of service.
- In most cases, mentees who required a service were referred to such a service.
- The referrers (Criminal Justice Social Workers) who had referred clients were also extremely positive about the quality of the service and the impact it had on their clients. In particular, they felt it had helped clients engage with other services and become less isolated in the community.
- Over the first 20 months of operation, the average number of referrals exceeded Shine’s target figure of 720 per year.
- The number of women continuing to engage with Shine following release from prison also met Shine’s target figure of 60%.
Commenting on the evaluation, Tom Halpin, Chief Executive of lead delivery organisation, Sacro said:
There is a real strength in the public and voluntary sectors working together to make the best use of available resources, by delivering services through Public Social Partnerships. The Shine Women’s Mentoring Service is fundamentally meeting the needs of women who, although vulnerable, recognise the need for change in their lives.
Shine works with women to empower them to take control of the decisions that they need to take to begin to make those positive changes.
The diversity of Shine’s approach to the mentoring relationship, matches solutions to the often complex needs that many women struggle with and recognises that building an intensive one to one relationship of trust, with the women, shows early promising results.
For further information on the evaluation visit Ipsos MORI