Offending behaviour programmes
Produced in partnership with Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
Offending behaviour programmes

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Offending behaviour programmes
  • Offending behaviour programmes
  • The effectiveness of offending behaviour courses
  • The Secretary of State’s duty to provide courses
  • The public law duty revisited in the domestic courts
  • The effect of Article 5(1)—James, Wells and Lee v United Kingdom
  • Damages in domestic law
  • Prisoners who maintain innocence
  • Disabled prisoners
  • Disclosure of reports

Offending behaviour programmes

An accreditation system for offending behaviour programmes (OBPs) was introduced by the prison service in 1996. OBPs are delivered by a range of staff including psychologists, probation staff and prison officers. The aim of an OBP is to change the way people think or behave in order to change the type of behaviour that caused them to offend. Although attendance on these programmes is not compulsory, prison report writers and the Parole Board place great reliance on the completion of OBPs as the key tool for assessing whether there has been a reduction in risk and this has an impact on progress through the prison sentence and obtaining release on parole licence.

The effectiveness of offending behaviour courses

There has been considerable debate about the effectiveness of these courses. In 2017, publication of the Ministry of Justice’s research into the Sex Offenders’ Treatment Programme (that had been running since 1998), indicated that it had little or no effect on reconviction rates. This led to a substantial overhaul of the programmes that are available and how they are delivered.

There are a range of legitimate views on risk assessment and risk reduction and, the Secretary of State and the Parole Board are entitled to prefer the views of one expert over another, providing those views are rational.

In R (Bealey) v Secretary of State for the

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