ADR UK Research Fellows: The first users of the Data First probation and criminal justice linked datasets

Status: Active

The linking dataset enables probation data – containing information such as offences and community order requirements – to be linked with other MoJ Data First products, including magistrates’ courts, Crown Court, and prisoner custodial journey datasets. It acts as a lookup to identify where records in various datasets refer to the same people. This enables records to be grouped by individuals and repeat appearances across the criminal justice system to be investigated. All data is de-identified and stored and accessed securely in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service.

The two Research Fellows will be the first to use these linked datasets for research in the public good and aligns with the MoJ Areas of Research Interest 2020 – such as reducing re-offending, protecting the public from harm, and improving life chances.

Learn more about the Research Fellows and their projects below.

Dr Angela Sorsby

Sentencing and diversity: how do ethnicity and gender impact on the requirements and outcomes of sentences served in the community?

Dr Angela Sorsby, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Sheffield, is exploring ethnic disparities within the criminal justice system, their causes, and whether any disparities differ between genders. Her previous ADR UK Research Fellowship investigated racial bias in court case outcomes in England and Wales. This new project will examine the types and outcomes of sentences served in the community (community orders) in relation to ethnicity and gender.

View project details

This project aims to explore the following research questions:

  • Are there differences between ethnic groups and men and women in the number and type of requirements that make up community orders and suspended sentence orders, after controlling for other factors, such as age and severity of offence?
  • Are some community order requirements more effective in terms of successful completion and preventing reconviction?
  • Does the effectiveness of community order requirements vary by ethnicity and is this the same for men and women?
  • Does unsuccessful completion due to failure to comply with the requirements of an order increase the likelihood of a custodial sentence for a subsequent offence?
  • Does the likelihood of a custodial sentence for a subsequent offence after breaching the requirements of an order vary by ethnicity, and is this the same for men and women?

The methodology used in this study:

The project will use the Data First probation and criminal justice linked dataset to examine the relative effectiveness of different requirements of community-based orders. The orders will be assessed in terms of successful completion and the likelihood of future offending in relation to ethnicity and gender, while controlling for other variables such as age and offence.

Regression analysis enables the relationship between two variables to be assessed while controlling for other variables in the analysis. It will be used to:

  • examine whether there are differences between ethnic groups and men and women in the number and type of requirements that make up community-based orders (rehabilitation, unpaid work, curfew and accredited programmes)
  • investigate whether some requirements are more effective in terms of successful completion and preventing reconviction
  • identify whether the effectiveness of each requirement in terms of successful completion and preventing reconviction varies by ethnicity and gender
  • investigate whether failing to comply with requirements increases the likelihood of a custodial sentence for a subsequent offence and the relationship between this, ethnicity and gender.

Funded value: £50,089

Duration: February 2023 – January 2024

Details of the funding grant awarded by ADR UK for this project can also be found on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Gateway to Research platform.

Publications

Blog: Ethnicity, gender, and community sentences, March 2023


Dr Carly Lightowlers

Enforced alcohol abstinence: does it reduce reoffending?

Dr Carly Lightowlers, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Liverpool, will look at how alcohol-related treatment or monitoring requirements are being used and whether these are reducing re-offending.

View project details

This project aims to explore the following research questions:

  • What is the profile of offenders for whom alcohol related treatment and abstinence requirements are used?
  • For whom are alcohol related treatment and abstinence requirements effective?

The methodology used in this study:

Cross-sectional analysis observes data from different samples of the population at a single point in time. Longitudinal analysis, by contrast, repeatedly observes and collects data on the same individuals to show changes over a period. The study will apply both cross-sectional and longitudinal data analysis to:

  • Assess the profile of offenders issued with orders and for whom these are effective
  • Compare whether those given alcohol treatment/abstinence requirements fare better than those sentenced to prison for similar offences
  • Examine disparities in the use of these requirements along the lines of age, gender, ethnicity, and deprivation.

Funded value: £91,595

Duration: January 2023 - December 2023

Details of the funding grant awarded by ADR UK for this project can also be found on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Gateway to Research platform.

Publications

Blog: Enforced alcohol abstinence: does it reduce reoffending?, March 2023

OSF Registry entry: Enforced alcohol abstinence: does it reduce reoffending, November 2023

Categories: Research using linked data, Datasets, ADR UK Research Fellows, ADR England, Crime & justice, Inequality & social inclusion

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