“The Sycamore Tree Project really makes you think. It’s not like any other course I’ve been on. It makes you think about feelings. It’s about what’s inside. It changes how you feel about victims and that. I’ve done the ETS [Enhanced Thinking Skills] and that’s easy. You know all the answers before you go in there. That doesn’t change anything. STP is different because it’s about what’s in here.”
offender from England
“I witnessed a man murdering my father. I have been carrying this hatred and hurt for more than 25 years. For the first time, I can truly say that I have forgiven the man that murdered my father. The feeling is something I can’t describe.”
crime victim from New Zealand
The Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) offers unrelated victims and offenders the opportunity to discuss the reality of crime and its impact on their lives. Victims tell their stories and hear the stories of offenders. Offenders come to understand the impact of crime on victims and the community and take responsibility for their behaviour. The participant comment's above demonstrate the powerful impact these exchanges can have.
Evaluations of attitude changes among offenders participating in STP confirm this effect. In England and Wales, 2188 participating prisoners completed questionnaires before and after the programme. The questionnaires, from the Crime-
Significant improvements in victim empathy for prisoner participants
Strong evidence of statistically significant changes in attitudes to offending attributable to participation in STP.
Evidence that STP changed attitudes in ways known to reduce the likelihood of offending behaviour1.
A study of STP in New Zealand found similar improvements in the attitudes of offenders participating in the programme.
In 2007, a Master’s dissertation at Lucy Cavendish College explored the impact of STP on recidivism. Due to difficulties obtaining information from official sources, this research only measured the one-
Anecdotal evidence indicates that the programme also improves in-