Mar 27, 2019
There are many different kinds of mentoring. Programmes vary considerably in aims, content and the nature of the mentor-mentee relationship. This diversity makes it difficult to generalise about effectiveness and good practice. There is a lack of good-quality research evidence on the impact of mentoring projects with offenders. Available studies indicate that some kinds of mentoring may influence reoffending through acting as a 'bridge' to other services and providing continuity of support 'through the gate'. Tentative evidence indicates that mentoring projects may be associated with improvements in mentees' employment outcomes, and may improve engagement in other programmes and interventions. More tentative evidence suggests that mentoring projects may be associated with improvements in mentees' housing situation. Very limited evidence suggests they may be associated with reductions in substance misuse. There is very limited evidence that mentoring programmes can increase coping abilities, improve family and peer relationships and reduce pro-criminal attitudes. All of these 'intermediate outcomes' can be theoretically linked to reductions in reoffending behaviour. Most relate to criminogenic or protective factors identified widely in the academic and research literature, and hence are likely to contribute to the process of desistance from crime. The research team recommends these intermediate outcomes are considered for inclusion in a proposed toolkit which can be adopted by organisations delivering mentoring interventions to measure their activities and impacts.