Do offenders discover the harm of their offences? A multi-site randomised controlled trial evaluation of the Sycamore Tree Programme

Randomised Control Trial Status


Trial Hypothesis

​The Sycamore Tree victim awareness Programme causes less recidivism than no treatment (control) up to 24 months from the release of prisoners.

Geographical area

8 prisons located in the North, East, South, and Midlands of England

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Cambridge

Contact Name

Margaret Wilson

Project Start Date

February 2011

Participants - inclusion criteria

Course requirements: admission of guilt; sufficient literacy and language ability; minimum six weeks of sentence left to serve after completing a STP.
Research requirements: on the STP waiting list; adult men; determinate release date; within a maximum of 18 months of release from time of recruiting sample. No foreign nationals.

Target Sample Size

200 Ratio 1:1 with target size of 800

Study Design

​Two group comparison of adult men who have applied to complete the STP; treatment group gets STP, control group gets treatment as usual. Both groups may complete any other intervention except one whereby they meet a victim of crime.


​The STP teaches restorative justice to all convicted, incarcerated offenders who wish to participate except sex and domestic violence offenders. Derived from restorative justice principles, participants meet an unrelated victim of crime and make a symbolic act of restitution in front of their peers and community guests. It is accredited as an educational course and offenders who pass are awarded a Level 1 or 2 certificate. The course comprises 6 2 hour (approx.) sessions delivered over 6 weeks with a notional 2 hours ‘homework’ between sessions. It is owned and operated by Prison Fellowship England & Wales.

Summary of Findings

​Not available

Date last updated

Monday 25 June 2018
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