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News 26 October 2017

Forward’s response to MoJ’s drug and re-offending statistics

On 26th October 2017 the Ministry of Justice released new data on the impact of community-based drug and alcohol treatment on re-offending.

The report contains initial findings from a project linking data from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) held by Public Health England (PHE) with data on offenders held by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). It found that those with a history of injecting drugs were more likely to offend and that people who successfully completed treatment or were still in treatment were less likely to re-offend.

Mike Trace, CEO of Forward, said: “We applaud the Ministry of Justice’s efforts to invest in understanding the link between drug and alcohol treatment and reoffending. The Forward Trust (formerly RAPt and Blue Sky) has demonstrated over many years that well designed recovery programmes can significantly reduce crime – we are one of the few organisations in the country to have independently verified research on the effectiveness of our interventions on reducing reoffending.

Our frontline experience over 25 years has taught us that offenders are capable of breaking the cycle of drugs and crime, but they need support, belief and positive role models to make the necessary changes. We provide that support through our drug and alcohol programmes, mutual aid networks, and a range of creative projects to help offenders get into real work and stable accommodation”.

An estimated 55% of prisoners commit offences connected to their drug tacking or alcohol dependence (1). Forward’s intensive prison rehabilitation programme shows an 18% drop in reconviction rates, and a 65% reduction in volume of re-offending (2) yet less than 2% of the prison population have access to the programme. Yet for every 100 people completing this programme an estimated £6.3million is saved on reduced crime and re-sentencing. Making the programme available to just 10% of drug dependent prisoners would equate to potential savings of £440million a year. Blue Sky Agency is one route to how Forward helps ex-offenders into employment. The model has been proven to reducing reoffending by up to 23% (3).


1)    Ministry of Justice 2016
2)    Kopak, A. M., Dean, L. V., Proctor, S. L., Miller, L., & Hoffmann, N. G. (2014) ‘Effectiveness of the rehabilitation for addicted prisoners trust (RAPt) programme’, Journal of Substance Use, [Online] pp.1-8. Available from: doi:10.3109/14659891.2014.904938.
3)    Ministry of Justice Data Lab Re-offending analysis: Blue Sky Agency 2013