The Clink Charity: an economic impact analysis

30 Jun 2020

Pro Bono Economics has discovered that The Clink delivers at least a four-fold return on investments by reducing reoffending and the associated social costs of reoffending.

Pro Bono Economics conducted a cost benefit analysis to assess The Clink Charity’s economic impact. The Clink Charity operates training restaurants and gardens in prisons, giving prisoners the opportunity to obtain skills and qualifications while in prison and also links them to employers willing to employ them upon release.  

PBE demonstrated the cost-benefit ratio of The Clink Charity’s intervention through measuring the cost of running the scheme per head against the benefits provided to the taxpayer through reducing reoffending rates.  

The analysis is based on a Justice Data Lab report which established that reoffending rates among Clink ‘graduates’, at 0.46 per former prisoner, are 17% lower than a control group. PBE calculates that for every £1 invested, The Clink’s integrated training and support programme has the potential to deliver a return of £4.80 to society. 

The report also provided a scenario analysis looking more closely at types of offences committed by prisoners. The report showed that given that re-offenders whose first-time offence is in a serious crime category are much more likely to commit more serious and costly crimes when reoffending, the estimated benefit of The Clink programme could be significantly higher. The report, therefore, demonstrates the potentially significant returns to society from supporting prisoners through qualifications and communicating with potential employers while they remain in prison. 

Lord Gus O'Donnell, Chair of Pro Bono Economics, notes:

“Currently, reoffending by former prisoners costs the taxpayer £18 billion every year, but just one in five inmates receives any support in preparation for their return to society.  Without effective rehabilitation, nearly one in three of the 80,000 people in prison will reoffend, and the outcomes are adverse, costly and chronic, such as reduced earnings and increased demands on government benefits and criminal justice services.  This analysis of The Clink Charity’s integrated training and support scheme highlights the economic potential that lies in reskilling inmates. They derive significant economic benefit from rebuilding their lives in a purposeful way – as do other taxpayers and the rest of society.  Not only does this economic analysis pinpoint the value of this type of rehabilitation in prisons, it plays a role in commissioning decisions.”

Thank you to Alastair Carr, ​Bojana Ignjatovic and Alex Suchanek from RBB Economics for their work on this report.  

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