Friday, December 14, 2007

Recidivism—What Works, What Doesn’t

One of the topics up for discussion at NIC’s Correctional Research Roundtable right now is a paper on meta-analyses of what’s effective in corrections sentencing. It confirms what we regularly say here about the research on the criminogenic and counterproductive impact of prisons on public safety, and not only describes in great detail why rehab and reentry programs have been shown to have much greater effect on reduced recidivism and greater public safety, it gives you the research and the programs in its tables and bibliography so you can follow up on your own. One thing that makes it ring true for corrections practitioners is the awareness that the programs studied do vary in terms of the actual implementation, which is of course something we see all the time. [It’s also a wonderful primer on meta-analyses for laypeople, complete with the qualifiers that you always need to be aware of.] Not much discussion going on there yet, but this is really a good foundation for a discussion on what needs to be done, including why this research is relevant to most DOCs but not to policymakers. So let’s do it.

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