Research underpins Key4Life’s programme. We commission independent research among our participants, their families, mentors, prison officers, and businesses involved in the programme. 

Please see our full: Research Review 2017
Overall numbers: 
  • 116 young men have been through the Key4Life programme to date at HMP/YOI Ashfield, HMP/YOI Isis, HMP/YOI Portland, HMP Wormwood Scrubs and Somerset Preventative ‘At Risk’ programmes 
  • 2017 programmes include a 'At Risk' programme in London, a further programme at HMP/YOI Portland and the first-ever residential programme at HMP Guys Marsh   
  • 145 mentors trained and provided support to young men pre- and post-release 
  • 80 businesses involved in providing Work Tasters, workshops and employment. 

Key4Life impact:

  • Young Offenders are 4x more likely to be in employment and 4x less likely to re-offend if they have been through the Key4Life programme
  • For every £1 invested, Key4Life generates £17.06 in social value over 3 years through economic benefits, human capital gains, avoided Exchequer costs and wellbeing improvements
  • 97% of Key4Life mentors would recommend mentoring with Key4Life to friends and colleagues. 82% say they have used the skills developed in Key4Life's mentor training and experience. 

Key4Life is breaking the cycle of re-offending:

  • A year after release, 14% of those through the programme have re-offended, compared to a national proven re-offending rate of 64% 
  • The costs of re-offending in the UK have been estimated up to £16 billion a year and the majority of Key4Life ex-offender participants are in a cycle of re-offending - with an average of over 5 previous offences
  • There are 16,000 young people aged 18-24 in custody in England and Wales
  • The children of prisoners are 3x more at risk than their peers of committing anti-social behaviour. 30% of Key4Life’s participants are already fathers.

Key4Life increases employment opportunities:

  • Nationally, 15% of ex-offenders are in employment a year after release. By comparison, 64% of Key4Life participants are in employment a year after their release
  • 81% of participants have completed Work Tasters, with 79% in education, employment or training at the end of the programme.

Supporting those most in need with multiple issues:

  • 57% of our participants left mainstream education before 16
  • 2 in 3 of our participants have regular contact with their fathers when growing up 
  • Only half of Key4Life participants have permanent accommodation (compared to 89% nationally)
  • Independent research concludes that Key4Life tackles the underlying social, emotional and practical causes of offending. This is not only illustrated by participants’ behavioural outcomes but also by their percentage point movement on 11 attitudinal statements which are proven to reduce reoffending, which demonstrated a 30% movement through the course of the programme
  • Mental health is an issue for 1 in 7 offenders nationally. But it affects 2 in 3 of those in our ‘At Risk’ preventative programme reporting mental health issues.


Independent research is conducted by thepeoplepartnership and Bean Research.  



“I work with Key4Life because the team get a level of engagement from the men that I could never achieve, and I have seen this first hand at HMP/YOI Portland. I aim to turn HMP Guys Marsh around within two years and I see Key4Life as an important part of the strategy.” James Lucas, Governor, HMP Guys Marsh 



Key4Life: A Social Return on Investment (SROI) Analysis. This independent research was conducted by Bean Research Ltd during Spring 2017; having worked with Key4Life during 2016 to establish a Theory of Change and resulting indicators to collate and collect, for its prison rehabilitation programme.