New evidence of the economic impact of PET’s work

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15 July 2020

Learners reading PET handbook

A new report from Pro Bono Economics (PBE) provides further evidence that PET’s work to support people to study in prison has a positive economic impact for society.

The report builds on research by the government’s Justice Data Lab that shows that PET’s courses increase learners’ chances of finding work. In the report, three PBE economists looked at the economic impact from this increased employment, in the 12 months after release from prison.

In a thorough, independent and peer reviewed analysis, they showed that for every £1 spent on PET’s work there is a return to society of between £1.17 and £1.43 from the increased employment in the first year alone.

Read the Pro Bono Economics report here

This figure might be considerably higher if the improved employment found by the Justice Data Lab extended beyond the first 12 months after release.

The findings about the impact of increased employment are also additional to the benefits to society from reduced reoffending. A report from PBE published in 2016 showed a positive return on the investment in our courses, based on reduced reoffending alone.

Rod Clark, PET’s Chief Executive, says:

It is excellent to have this independent analysis from professional economists, providing further evidence that our work supporting people to study in prison doesn’t just have an impact on our learners’ lives, but on the rest of society too.

Jon Franklin, Chief Economist at PBE, says:

This work adds to the growing evidence that charitable activities produce substantial spillover benefits to society.

The programmes run by the Prisoners’ Education Trust have a very clear benefit for those individuals who engage, but our report show that this benefits all of us.

It isn’t just PET and its interventions which generate such benefits – across the sector we see that charities’ contributions to our communities and economy are chronically undervalued.

Only by understanding and measuring these spillover benefits can we assess the value of the charity sector and ensure that we invest the appropriate level of resources as a country.


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