You are on the Natcen site

Click here for Scotcen

natcen map

You are on the Natcen site

Click here for Scotcen

natcen map

Assessing the feasibility of conducting an RCT or other evaluation of the FOR…A Change programme

Published: July 2010


This feasibility study was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). It was designed to explore whether it would be possible to carry out a randomised controlled trial (RCT) or other outcome study of the FOR…A Change offending behaviour programme.

What is FOR?

FOR (Focus on Resettlement) is a brief cognitive motivational intervention for offenders in custody. The main objective of FOR is to increase offenders’ motivation to become committed to setting their own agenda for change as they prepare for release.



The findings from this research suggest that an RCT of FOR is feasible. Both staff and offenders were supportive of an evaluation and recognised the organisational and individual benefits it offered.

The suggested RCT model would be to introduce FOR and the evaluation as a package in sites not currently offering the programme. This addresses the clinical, behavioural, legal and practical challenges that exist if an RCT were to be run in prisons already offering the programme.

The research also found that it would be necessary to widen the FOR eligibility criteria to ensure an adequate case flow for an evaluation.

Staff favoured extending the current eligibility criteria to those with a sentence of less than 12 months.

Download the report.



 The research was primarily qualitative and comprised four distinct stages:

  • A literature review;
  • Scoping interviews with strategic stakeholders;
  • Case studies in prisons, which involved interviews and group discussions with operational staff and offenders; and
  • A findings workshop with key strategic and operational stakeholders.