Researchers from the Mental Health Institution (GGzE) and Tranzo (Tilburg University) are cooperating in a research on the effectiveness of learning-workprojects with rehabilitation purpose for male persistent offenders. Persistent offenders are overrepresented in crime and cause a lot of social agitation and unsafety. Social innovation is needed to better suit the personal needs of this specific group to achieve successful reintegration and reduction of current high recidivism rates.

Today’s reintegration programs

We follow 40 male persistent offenders – with complex problems, including psychiatric problems, addiction and housing problems – for 12 months in 5 today’s learning-work projects in the Netherlands. These projects are innovative as they: train participants into a trendy and commercial profession and are located in the middle of society. Furthermore, project leaders are craftsman, entrepreneurs and experts-by-experience. The projects seem promising in the reintegration of this specific group as they match with the personal needs to stimulate social and personal recovery.

The aim of the research is to study the effect of these projects for persistent offenders in terms of personal need fulfillment, social participation and desistance from crime.

Research methods 

To study the effects over time, we use validated questionnaires and semi-structured interviews at three moments: when participants start at the learning-work projects, and after 3 and 12 months. Additionally, we added the innovative Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to capture the ‘real time’ experiences and fluctuations in emotions and behaviors in daily life. Especially in this group with complex problems, emotion can fluctuate greatly and therefore it’s important to also measure this changes of emotions in daily life.

What now? 

The research started in December 2017 and the end date of research is June 2020. If you want to know more about the research, please contact the research team which is attached to GGzE and Tranzo:  Renee Sagel, MSc. (, Dr. Diana Roeg ( or Prof. Dr. Chijs van Nieuwenhuizen (

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