Liaison and Diversion Services Can Help Vulnerable People in the Criminal Justice System at a Time of Crisis and May Halve Custodial Sentences
Apr 12, 2021
An outcome evaluation of the National Model for Liaison and Diversion scheme in England, which identifies and supports people in the criminal justice system with health issues and vulnerabilities, using a novel, large-scale linked data set. This evaluation looks at the impact on health service utilisation, reconviction, diversion from the criminal justice system, and timeliness of court processes, as well their economic effects.
Liaison and Diversion (L&D) services identify and support people in the criminal justice system who have vulnerabilities such as mental and physical health issues and learning disabilities.
RAND's evaluation of the National Model for L&D was conducted at 27 sites in England using a novel, linked data set combining national level administrative data from both the healthcare and criminal justice sectors.
This evaluation examined the impact of the National Model for L&D on health service utilisation, reconviction, diversion from the criminal justice system and timeliness of court processes, as well as the economic effects of identified impacts.
Analyses conducted across the data sources consistently showed that L&D services are successfully engaging with a group of service users with a broad range of vulnerabilities, often at a time of acute crisis when they are most in need of support. The strongest effect appeared to be an increase in diversion from custodial sentences, although L&D services may also increase referrals to mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services.
There was no evidence of an impact on offending, but also no evidence that outcomes became worse due to L&D referral.
The methodological approach for the evaluation of the National Model for L&D
Characteristics of people referred to L&D and of the evaluation cohort
Accident & Emergency care utilisation
Use of specialist mental health services
Use of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies
Use of drug and alcohol treatment services
Diversion from the CJS
Summary of economic evaluation of the National Model for L&D
Implementation of the evaluation
Data linkage and matching
Development of the counterfactual
L&D Programme minimum data set analyses
Variation in evaluation outcomes between L&D sites
Additional secondary analyses
Team leader interview interviews
Complete economic analysis
Approvals and consent