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Criminology Rehabilitation
by
Beth M. Huebner

Introduction

Rehabilitation is a central goal of the correctional system. This goal rests on the assumption that individuals can be treated and can return to a crime free lifestyle. Rehabilitation was a central feature of corrections in the first half of the twentieth century. The favorability of rehabilitation programming declined in the 1970s and 1980s but has regained favor in recent years. Rehabilitation includes a broad array of programs including mental health, substance abuse, and educational services. In addition, specialty programs have been developed for women, sex offenders, and parolees. Rehabilitation has also been introduced in the court system. The following literature summarizes the prominent works in this area and provides sources of reliable data on a range of treatment and rehabilitation programs.

General Overviews

As noted, the popularity of rehabilitative programs has varied over time. Although rehabilitation has always been a part of correctional programming, the “nothing works” conclusions of Martinson 1974 brought down the rehabilitative ideal that had gained prominence in the preceding decades. Cullen and Gendreau 2000 presents an excellent summary of the historical trends in treatment and describe the principle elements of modern treatment services. More recently, researchers have focused instead on what works for which offenders and under what circumstances. MacKenzie 2006 provides an excellent description of model treatment and rehabilitation programs for juveniles and adults. Gaes, et al. 1999 presents a similar summary of best practices in correctional treatment, and describes some of the challenges in conducting evaluation studies of treatment programming. A number of meta-analyses have also been conducted that provide a statistical summary of the efficacy of treatment programs. Andrews 1990 evaluates the components of effective treatment with adult offenders. Lipsey 1992 presents a similar analysis with juvenile offenders; both researchers highlight the efficacy of cognitive programming. Students interested in a general overview of treatment modalities for juvenile offenders should look to Howell 2008. Most recently, researchers on behalf of the National Research Council detail the extant literature on institutional and community treatment for offenders (Committee on Community Supervision and Desistance from Crime 2008). Much of the program evaluation literature is conducted on the local level. The National Institute of Corrections provides a superb resource for local research studies.

  • Andrews, D. A., Ivan Zinger, Robert D. Hoge, James Bonta, Paul Gendreau, and Francis T. Cullen. 1990. Does correctional treatment work? A clinically relevant and psychologically informed meta-analysis. Criminology 28:369–404.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1990.tb01330.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Meta-analysis of juvenile and adult correctional treatment programs administered over the past two decades. Results suggest that programs that deliver treatment to higher risk cases, target criminogenic needs, and match with client learning styles are most likely to achieve positive results.

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  • Cullen, Francis T., and Paul Gendreau. 2000. Assessing correctional rehabilitation: Policy, practice, and prospects” In Criminal Justice 2000. Vol. 3, Policies, processes, and decisions of the criminal justice system. Edited by Julie Horney, 109–175. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.

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    Extensive, theoretically rich discussion of the history and practice of correctional treatment. Denotes principle elements of effective rehabilitation programs and describes model programs. Includes numerous citations of relevant research; an excellent bibliographic tool for researchers, students, and practitioners.

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  • Gaes, Gerald G., Timothy J. Flanagan, Laurence L. Motiuk, and Lynn Stewart. 1999. Adult correctional treatment. In Crime and justice: A review of research. Vol. 26, Prisons. Edited by Michael Tonry and Joan Petersilia, 361–426. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Comprehensive analysis and summary of research on adult correctional treatment. Includes a detailed discussion of extant research on cognitive skills programming, drug treatment, educational and vocational services, and sex offender treatment. Presents a succinct methodological discussion of the challenges of program evaluation.

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  • Howell, James C. 2008. Preventing and reducing juvenile delinquency: A comprehensive framework. 2d ed. Los Angeles: Sage.

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    Introductory text outlining the history of the juvenile justice system, the etiology of juvenile delinquency and gang membership, and effective rehabilitative and prevention programming for juveniles. Accessible introduction that could be used as a text for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course.

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  • Lipsey, Mark W. 1992. Juvenile delinquency treatment: A meta-analytic inquiry into the variability of effects. In Meta-analysis for explanation: A casebook. Edited by Thomas D. Cook, Harris Cooper, David S. Cordray, Heidi Hartmann, Larry V. Hedges, Richard J. Light, Thomas A. Louis, and Frederick Mosteller, 83–128. New York: Russell Sage.

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    Frequently cited meta-analysis of the literature on juvenile delinquency treatment. Treatment that is multimodal, behavioral, and includes a cognitive component had the most success for juvenile offenders. Services provided in the community had larger effects on delinquency than programs implemented in an institution.

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  • MacKenzie, Doris Layton. 2006. What works in corrections: Reducing the criminal activities of offenders and delinquents. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Evidence-based description of promising programs designed to reduce recidivism. Provides extensive statistical summaries of treatment modalities for different kids of offenders and correctional and therapeutic interventions. Excellent resource for students and correctional personnel.

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  • Martinson, Robert. 1974. What works? Questions and answers about prison reform. Public Interest 10:22–54.

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    Statistical summary of twenty years of correctional programming. Analysis suggests that rehabilitative programming does not reduce recidivism. Seminal article that had a large influence on the public policy of the 1970s and 1980s.

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  • National Institute of Corrections.

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    Comprehensive online resource center for current research on correctional interventions and treatment. Includes an extensive library of scholarly research and state-level technical reports and commentary.

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  • National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Community Supervision and Desistance from Crime. 2008. Parole, desistance from crime, and community integration. Washington, DC: National Academies.

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    Designed as a primer on prisoner reentry; includes a detailed summary of the literature on institutional and community treatment for inmates. Argues for the importance of wraparound treatment services for inmates reentering the community.

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Data Sources

Data on treatment modalities is collected on a number of different levels. Data on needs for services and participation in treatment programming is available at the national level. The Bureau of Justice Statistics collects annual data on jail treatment provision through the Annual Survey of Jails. Similar data is collected through the Survey of Inmates in Federal Correctional Facilities. Data on substance abuse trends and treatment provision is also collected and maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA). Scholars interested in specific treatment and service modalities and local and regional program evaluations should look to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD). The SAMHDA and NACJD data repositories are housed at the Institute for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan. These Web-based resources include data on a number of topics, and the data are available to researchers and students of member organizations.

Risk Assessment

Before an individual can enter a program, it is important to document needs for services so that treatment can be responsive to an offender’s needs. Traditionally, blanket one-dimensional services were provided to the broader correctional population, but there has been a proliferation of risk-assessment instruments in past decades to document and classify the need for services. Risk assessment is traditionally conducted upon entrance to prison or placement on probation. Bonta and Andrews 2007 describes the risk, needs, and responsivity (RNR) model first designed in Canada and now implemented around the world. Lowenkamp and Latessa 2005 and Lowenkamp, et al. 2006 describe how RNR principles can be used in the field to increase the efficacy of programs. Van Voorhis, et al. 2008 discusses the need for risk instruments unique to the female correctional population. Conversely, Ward and Maruna 2007 challenges the risk model and suggests a “good lives” perspective of rehabilitation which incorporates the need for offender motivation and community support.

  • Bonta, James, and D. A. Andrews. 2007. Risk-need-responsivity model for offender assessment and rehabilitation. Public Safety Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

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    Introduction to the use of risk principal in corrections. Goal of the model is to identify risk, assess criminogenic needs, and provide specific treatment and services appropriate to the learning style and needs of the offender. Documents the efficacy of the model for correctional outcomes. Available online.

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  • Lowenkamp, Christopher T., and Edward J. Latessa. 2005. Increasing the effectiveness of correctional programming through the risk principle: Identifying offenders for residential placement. Criminology and Public Policy 4:263–290.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9133.2005.00021.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An evaluation of a residential treatment facility in Ohio. Outcomes were strong and positive for high-risk offenders compared to traditional probation. Highlights the importance of matching services to offender risk levels.

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  • Lowenkamp, Christopher T., Edward J. Latessa, and Alex M. Holsinger. 2006. The risk principle in action: What have we learned from 13,676 offenders and 97 correctional programs? Crime and Delinquency 52:77–93.

    DOI: 10.1177/0011128705281747Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Extensive evaluation of residential and nonresidential correctional treatment programs. Programs that targeted services to high-risk offenders had lower rates of recidivism than comparison programs. Includes a cogent discussion of the specific policy initiatives that may improve correctional services, including the development of comprehensive, validated risk scales and the need for longer-term and multimodal programming for high-risk offenders.

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  • Van Voorhis, Patricia, Emily Salisbury, Emily Wright, and Ashley Bauman. 2008. Achieving accurate pictures of risk and identifying gender responsive needs: Two new assessments for women offenders. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.

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    Heavily cited report documenting the unique treatment needs for female inmates. Makes a compelling case for the need for gender-responsive risk instruments. Correctional resources for developing risk scales are included. Available online.

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  • Ward, Tony, and Shadd Maruna. 2007. Rehabilitation. Abingdon, U.K. and New York: Routledge.

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    Accessible review of the rehabilitation literature. Critiques the risk-based scientific approach to treatment. Instead, offers a good-lives perspective of rehabilitation which considers the motivation of the offender for change and the therapeutic power of the treatment community. Offers suggestions to merge the treatment models.

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Cognitive Behavioral Programming

Cognitive behavioral programs have been identified as one of the most successful program models for reducing offender recidivism. Designed to address criminal thinking, these programs serve to challenge and address learned assumptions and distorted cognitions common among offender populations. Milkman and Wanberg 2007 provide a policy-based introduction to the implementation and evaluation of cognitive behavioral programming in the correctional setting. In addition, Lipsey, et al. 2007 presents a statistical analysis of the existing empirical work on cognitive behavioral programming; the results of the research suggest that these types of programs can significantly reduce recidivism. Thinking for a Change (T4C), developed by the National Institute of Corrections, is one example of a cognitive behavioral program model. Cognitive behavioral programs are often used in conjunction with motivational interviewing or mentoring programs to assist in providing social support for offenders. Ginsburg, et al. 2002 describes the therapeutic effects of motivational interviewing for correctional clients. Similarly, Jolliffe and Farrington 2007 provides a review of the literature on mentoring programs for offenders supervised in the community.

  • Ginsburg, Joel I. D., Ruth E. Mann, Frederick Rotgers, and John R. Weekes. 2002. Motivational interviewing with criminal justice populations. In Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change. 2d ed. Edited by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollinick, 333–346. New York: Guilford.

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    Summary of the research on the efficacy of the use motivational interviewing techniques with correctional populations. Existing research suggests that these techniques, employed in probation and parole interviews, can help improve outcomes.

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  • Jolliffe, Darrick, and David P. Farrington. 2007. A rapid evidence assessment of the impact of mentoring on reoffending: A summary. London: Home Office Online Report.

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    Systematic review of research on the efficacy of mentoring programs for offenders. Very few studies have been conducted, but initial research suggests that mentoring may reduce recidivism. Mentoring programs are only successful when part of a multimodal treatment strategy, and this report includes a call for more research in this area. Available online.

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  • Lipsey, Mark W., Nana A. Landenberger, and Sandra J. Wilson. 2007. Effects of cognitive-behavioral programs for criminal offenders. Campbell Systematic Reviews 2007:6.

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    Meta-analysis of the research literature on cognitive behavioral programs. Results suggest that, on average, participation in a cognitive behavioral program was associated with a 25 percent decline in the odds of recidivism. Available online.

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  • Milkman, Harvey, and Kenneth Wanberg. 2007. Cognitive-behavioral treatment: A review and discussion for corrections professionals. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.

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    Policy document designed to outline all aspects of cognitive behavioral programs including: model programs, programmatic evaluations, and real-world programmatic applications. Essential resource for correctional administrators. Available online.

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  • Thinking for a Change (T4C).

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    Cognitive behavioral program designed by the National Institute of Corrections. Online resource provides offender program materials, a well-evaluated curriculum, and materials for training program facilitators.

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Substance-Abuse Treatment

Substance abuse and dependency is common among correctional populations. Mumola and Karberg 2006 documents drug use and dependency among correctional populations. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of National Drug Control Policy also provide comprehensive statistics on treatment and the need for substance-abuse services among the offender and general population. Moreover, there is a strong link between crime and substance abuse. Treatment modalities have been developed for community and correctional environments. Aos, et al. 2006 provides an accessible summary of the research on substance abuse treatment, and the research results suggest that these modalities can be cost-effective for correctional populations. Similarly, Luirgio 2000 provides a similar examination of treatment modalities for the general and correctional populations. Mitchell, et al. 2006 synthesizes the existing research on institution-based drug treatment, and suggests that research provided in a therapeutic community (TC) environment is particularly effective. Inciardi, et al. 2004 presents an excellent model evaluation of a TC program; while Jason, et al. 2006 evaluates a model drug treatment program implemented in the community environment.

  • Aos, Steve, Jim Mayfield, Marna Miller, and Wei Yen. 2006. Evidence-based treatment of alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders: Potential benefits, costs, and fiscal impacts for Washington State. Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

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    Comprehensive policy study includes extensive meta-analysis of what works in the area of substance abuse and mental health treatment. Evidence-based programs had a moderate effect on the occurrence and severity of mental health episodes and substance use. Outcomes suggest a strong potential for cost reduction. Available online.

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  • Inciardi, James A., Steven S. Martin, and Clifford A. Butzin. 2004. Five-year outcomes of therapeutic community treatment of drug-involved offenders after release from prison. Crime and Delinquency 50:88–107.

    DOI: 10.1177/0011128703258874Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Long-term rigorous evaluation of an in-prison therapeutic community (TC) drug treatment program. Participants had lower levels of drug use and drug-related crime, and particularly strong positive findings were noted for offenders who completed aftercare programming.

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  • Jason, Leonard A., Bradley D. Olson, Joseph R. Ferrari, and Anthony T. Lo Sasso. 2006. Communal housing settings enhance substance abuse recovery. American Journal of Public Health 96:1727–1729.

    DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.070839Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Evaluation of a model program, Oxford House, designed to provide housing and social support for parolees with histories of substance abuse. Participants had lower levels of recidivism and higher employment rates two years after release from prison than the comparison group.

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  • Lurigio, Arthur J. 2000. Drug treatment availability and effectiveness: Studies of the general and criminal justice populations. Criminal Justice and Behavior 27:495–528.

    DOI: 10.1177/0093854800027004005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comprehensive review of research literature on effective drug treatment; outlines model programs and principles of effective interventions. Research also suggests that coerced treatment can have benefits for offenders.

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  • Mitchell, Ojmarrh, David B. Wilson, and Doris L. MacKenzie. 2006. The effectiveness of incarceration-based drug treatment on criminal behavior. Campbell Systematic Reviews 2006: 11.

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    Theoretical and methodologically rigorous summary of extant work on drug treatment in prison, including analyses of therapeutic communities, counseling programs, and boot camps. Results from the meta-analysis suggest that therapeutic community and counseling programs reduce recidivism, while boot camps and narcotic replacement programs have little effect on recidivism or drug-use behaviors. Available online.

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  • Mumola, Christopher J., and Jennifer C. Karberg. 2006. Drug use and dependence, state and federal prisoners, 2004. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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    Summary of state and federal inmates’ prior use, dependence on, and abuse of illegal drugs. Data are presented in excel format for easy analyses. Data obtained from the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. Available online.

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  • National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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    Evidence-based research. Comprehensive statistics on drug abuse. Excellent resource for students, researchers, and practitioners.

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  • Office of National Drug Control Policy.

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    Maintains an extensive library of research documenting national, state, and local drug use and crime trends. Includes information on local policy initiatives and best practices for drug treatment provision.

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Medical and Mental-Health Treatment

Inmates come to prison with needs for medical and mental health treatment, and correctional institutions have a constitutional obligation to provide services to the offender community. The Bureau of Justice Statistics compiles descriptive data on the prevalence and need for medical and mental health services among correctional populations (Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates). McDonald 1999 summarizes the existing research on health-care provision in correctional institutions, while Hammett, et al. 2001 reviews the challenges of providing wraparound services to offenders upon reentry to the community. National Mental Health Association 2004 presents an accessible research monograph documenting the unique mental health needs of juvenile offenders. Finally, National Institute of Drug Abuse 2008 documents the unique needs of patients with co-occurring mental health and substance-abuse treatment needs.

  • Hammett, Theodore M., Cheryl Roberts, and Sophia Kennedy. 2001. Health-related issues in prisoner reentry. Crime and Delinquency 47:390–409.

    DOI: 10.1177/0011128701047003006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Accessible article outlining the need for services and the challenges in provision of treatment to offenders in the community. Addresses the need for appropriate discharge and transition services, adherence to treatment, and particular treatment requirements for offenders with dual diagnoses. Available online.

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  • McDonald, Douglas. 1999. Medical care in prisons. In Crime and justice: A review of research. Vol. 26, Prisons. Edited by Michael Tonry and Joan Petersilia, 427–478. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Readable introduction to the history and transformation of health care in prison over the past two decades. Particular attention is paid to the challenges of providing both acute and long-term medical care in a closed institution. Suggestions are provided for reducing mounting health-care costs while maintaining required levels of care.

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  • Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates.

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    Maintained by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, includes estimates of the prevalence of mental health problems among prison and jail inmates using self-reported data. Describes mental-health problems and treatment among inmates since admission. Data culled from the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities and the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails.

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  • National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2008. Comorbidity: Addiction and other mental illnesses. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health.

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    Research monograph documenting the emerging literature on the co-occurrence of drug abuse and mental illness. Includes timely statistics and illustrative graphs, and highlights the challenges of treating individuals with co-occurring disorders. Available online.

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  • National Mental Health Association. 2004. Mental health treatment for youth in the juvenile justice system: A compendium of promising practices. Arlington, VA: National Mental Health Association.

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    Accessible policy analysis outlining existing research on the unique needs of juvenile offenders. Highlights successful programs including multisystemic therapy, functional systemic therapy, and cognitive behavioral programs. Argues for the need for client-based interventions with youth. Available online.

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Education, Employment, and Skills Development

Educational programming services are most commonly offered in correctional settings, and employment can serve as an important turning point in the life course. Harlow 2003 documents the need for educational programming among the correctional population, while Aos, et al. 2006 presents a meta-analysis of research on educational programs. This study confirms a modest negative link between educational treatment and recidivism. Conversely, Visher, et al. 2006 does not document a similar relationship for employment programming. Wilson, et al. 2000 confirms the results of the previous studies, finding that education reduces recidivism, but employment programs have only a modest effect on recidivism. However, Uggen 2000 does suggest that employment, even of marginal quality, can reduce recidivism for older offenders.

  • Aos, Steve, Jim Mayfield, Marna Miller, and Wei Yen. 2006. Evidence-based treatment of alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders: Potential benefits, costs, and fiscal impacts for Washington State. Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

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    Meta-analysis of basic educational programs and vocational training for incarcerated males. Highlights the modest positive effects of educational programming on recidivism, and indicates potential cost savings from this mode of services. Available online.

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  • Harlow, Caroline Wolf. 2003. Education and correctional populations. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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    Accessible descriptive report on the need for educational services among the correctional population. Includes summary data and tables on trends in education and specific statistics by region. Available online.

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  • Uggen, Christopher. 2000. Work as a turning point in the life course of criminals: A duration model of age, employment, and recidivism. American Sociological Review 65:529–546.

    DOI: 10.2307/2657381Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Frequently cited article exploring the effectiveness of the National Supported Work Demonstration Project, which provided jobs to previously incarcerated or underemployed men. Results suggest that employment, even low quality, was associated with decreased odds of offending for offenders over the age of twenty-seven. Employment did not have similar positive effects for younger offenders.

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  • Visher, Christy A., Laura J. Winterfield, and Mark B. Coggeshall. 2006. Systematic review of non-custodial employment programs: Impact on recidivism rates of ex-offenders. Campbell Systematic Reviews 2006:1.

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    Summary of existing research on the efficacy of employment programs for adult offenders. Analysis suggests little association between employment and reduced recidivism for former inmates; however, the body of research on this subject is very limited. The need for more rigorous evaluations of similar studies is noted. Available online.

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  • Wilson, David B., Catherine A. Gallagher, and Doris L. MacKenzie. 2000. A meta-analysis of corrections-based education, vocation, and work programs for adult offenders. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 37:347–368.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022427800037004001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Statistical summary of over thirty evaluation studies designed to estimate the effect of employment, education, and vocational training on recidivism. Education programs had modest effects on recidivism; the evidence for work programs was insufficient to make strong conclusions.

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Reentry Programming

Nearly all individuals who enter prison will return to the community, and many have subsequent contact with the criminal justice system. There has been a call for the development of rehabilitative programming that eases the transition to the community and reduces subsequent offending. Petersilia 2009 provides an excellent introduction to best practices for prisoner reentry. Similarly, Solomon, et al. 2008 documents the unique treatment needs of offenders returning home after a stay in jail. Many model reentry programs have centered on the provision of employment training and services. For example, Finn 1998 describes the Texas RIO project, designed to provide educational and employment services to inmates. Similarly, Rossmanand Roman 2003 evaluates the Opportunity to Succeed Program which matches drug-involved parolees with employment opportunities. Finally, family relationships are an important aspect of the reentry process. Sullivan, et al. 2002 describes a model family-centered program, La Bodega de la Familia, which provides comprehensive case-management services to offenders and their families.

  • Finn, Peter. 1998. Texas’ Project RIO (Re-Integration of Offenders) Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

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    Model correctional program designed to provide comprehensive training and employment services to parolees. Outcome evaluation indicates that program participants had lower levels of recidivism and higher employment rates than nonparticipants. Includes resources for practitioners interested in implementing similar employment-focused reentry services. Available online.

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  • Petersilia, Joan. 2009. When prisoners come home: Parole and prisoner reentry. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Comprehensive description of current best practices in programming for parolees. Includes an extensive policy mandate, and is an excellent introduction for practitioners and students.

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  • Rossman, Shelli B., and Caterina Gouvis Roman. 2003. Case-managed reentry and employment: Lessons from the Opportunity to Succeed Program. Justice Research and Policy 5:75–100.

    DOI: 10.3818/JRP.5.2.2003.75Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Evaluation of a model employment program designed for drug-involved parolees. Results indicate that participants had less recidivism and drug use following program participation.

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  • Solomon, Amy L., Jenny W. L. Osborne, Stefan F. LoBuglio, Jeff Mellow, and Debbie A. Mukamal. 2008. Life after lockup: Improving reentry from jail to the community. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

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    Contemporary policy monograph detailing current jail populations and the challenges inmates face when making the transition to the community after a jail stay. Includes a thoughtful discussion of the role of probation officers in the jail reentry transition, and offers suggestions for future jail policy. Available online.

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  • Sullivan, Eileen, Milton Mino, Katherine Nelson, and Jill Pope. 2002. Families as a resource in recovery from drug abuse: An evaluation of La Bodega de la Familia. New York: Vera Institute of Justice.

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    Evaluation of a family-focused reentry program implemented in New York City. Program provides family-centered case-management services; clients in the program had fewer arrests and less drug use, but increased family conflict was reported. Available online.

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Specialty Courts for Community Treatment

Although treatment has traditionally been the purview of correctional and community organizations, drug and other specialty courts have emerged in recent decades as an important, effective tool in managing substance abuse and recidivism among correctional populations. There is ample evidence to suggest that treatment provided in drug courts can reduce recidivism. The Drug Court Clearinghouseis an excellent resource for existing research on drug courts. In addition, Latimer, et al. 2006 presents a meta-analysis of drug court research conducted in the United States and abroad. Their work highlights a strong negative effect of drug-court programming on recidivism. More recently, the drug-court model has been expanded to address the needs of individuals with mental health disorders; this model is particularly important, given that many offenders have co-occurring mental health disorders and substance dependency. The Council of State Governments Justice Center has produced an accessible monograph (Council of State Governments Justice Center 2008) that highlights the goals and processes of implementing a mental health court. This report is an excellent resource for practitioners and court personnel interested in developing a specialty court.

  • Council of State Governments Justice Center. 2008. Mental health courts: A primer for policymakers and practitioners. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance.

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    Monograph outlining the goals, process of implementing, and populations served by mental health courts. Includes resources for agencies interested in developing similar program models; excellent tool for practitioners.

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  • Drug Court Clearinghouse Project.

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    Comprehensive online resource operated in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and American University. Serves as a clearinghouse of research on drug courts. Excellent resource for students and researchers.

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  • Latimer, Jeff, Kelly Morton-Bourgon, and Jo-Anne Chrétien. 2006. A meta-analytic examination of drug treatment courts: Do they reduce recidivism? Ottawa, Ontario: Department of Justice Canada.

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    Extensive statistical review of program evaluations of drug-court programs implemented in the United States and abroad. Results suggest a strong positive effect of drug-court programming on recidivism. Available online.

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Sex-Offender Treatment

Sex offenders have unique needs for treatment as the nature of sexual abuse varies substantially across offenders. The website maintained by the Center for Sex Offender Management is an essential research tool for scholars and practitioners interested in sex-offender recidivism, treatment, and reentry. This organization has produced a number of unique research reports and fact sheets on sexual offenders and offending. Daly 2008 documents the extant research on sex-offender treatment; the report also includes comprehensive state-level data on sex-offender treatment and correctional policies. A large body of research has been amassed that evaluates what works in sex offender programming. Lösel and Schmucker 2005 provides a statistical analysis of existing treatment research studies conducted in the United States and abroad. A similar research document is Polizzi, et al. 1999, which synthesizes sex-offender research studies conducted in North America. Both research studies highlight the utility of cognitive behavioral programming for sex offender populations. Finally, Hanson and Morton-Bourgon 2005 considers what works for persistent sexual offenders; particular attention is paid to the role of dynamic correlates of recidivism.

  • Center for Sex Offender Management.

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    Web resource developed in cooperation with the Office of Justice Programs, including original research documents and policy papers. Includes training and research materials on sex-offender treatment, the provision of services to victims of sexual crimes, and the challenges of managing offenders in the community.

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  • Daly, Regean. 2008. Treatment and reentry practices for sex offenders: An overview of states. New York: Vera Institute of Justice.

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    Policy report summarizing extant research on prison and community-based treatment for sex offenders. Includes detailed state-by-state descriptions of correctional sex-offender policy and treatment availability. Provides insight into possible best practices in sex offender management. Available online.

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  • Hanson, R. Karl, and Kelly E. Morton-Bourgon. 2005. The characteristics of persistent sexual offenders: A meta-analysis of recidivism studies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 73:1154–1163.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-006X.73.6.1154Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Review and analysis of existing recidivism studies. Results suggest that addressing dynamic correlates of recidivism, including sexual preoccupations and general self-regulation problems, is likely to reduce future offending; while many traditional treatment modalities, including denial of the sex crime and victim empathy, did not reduce recidivism.

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  • Lösel, Friedrich, and Martin Schmucker. 2005. The effectiveness of treatment for sexual offenders: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Journal of Experimental Criminology 1:117–146.

    DOI: 10.1007/s11292-004-6466-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Meta-analysis of international evaluation studies of sex-offender treatment programs. The majority of studies confirmed the benefits of sex-offender treatment. Strongest effects were observed for hormonal treatment programs and cognitive behavioral treatments.

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  • Polizzi, Danielle M., Doris Layton MacKenzie, and Laura J. Hickman. 1999. What works in adult sex offender treatment? A review of prison- and non-prison-based treatment programs. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 43:357–374.

    DOI: 10.1177/0306624X99433008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Statistical summary of sex-offender prison-and nonprison-based treatment programs. Cognitive-behavioral approaches to treatment were the most promising, and the results suggest that noncustodial sex-offender treatment programs can have modest effects on recidivism.

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Treatment for Female Offenders

Women often take different routes to prison, and there is ample evidence to suggest that female offenders have unique needs. In fact, women often have histories of physical and sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addictions, and familial responsibilities that can affect treatment outcomes and reentry transitions. Pollock 2002 summarizes the unique needs of female inmates and describes treatment and correctional models implemented in the United States, England, and Scotland. Bloom, et al. 2003 provides a similar analysis of gender differences in the need for correctional treatment, and they argue for the development of new models of gender-responsive programming. Morash, et al. 1998 documents the dearth of programming available for female offenders and highlights potential model treatment programs. Finally, Prendegast 2002 presents and evaluation of the Forever Free Substance Abuse Program, a unique substance-abuse treatment program designed for incarcerated female offenders.

  • Bloom, Barbara, Barbara Owen, and Stephanie Covington. 2003. Gender-responsive strategies: Research, practice, and guiding principles for women offenders. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.

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    Detailed monograph outlining gender differences in crime and punishment. Argues for a gender-responsive justice and treatment model. Includes a detailed appendix of additional reading appropriate for students and practitioners. Available online.

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  • Morash, Merry, Timothy S. Bynum, and Barbara A. Koons. 1998. Women offenders: Programming needs and promising approaches. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

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    Although dated, this monograph highlights the unique treatment needs of female inmates. Documents model programs and provides an extensive policy discussion. Available online.

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  • Pollock, Joycelyn M. 2002. Women, prison, and crime. 2d ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.

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    Essential text reviewing the history of female imprisonment, adaptation to prison life, and the prison subculture. Female-specific needs for programming and medical services are addressed, and women’s unique imprisonment experiences in England and Scotland are also outlined.

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  • Prendegast, Michael. 2002. Outcome evaluation of the Forever Free substance abuse treatment program: One-year post-release outcomes. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

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    Evaluation of a model program designed for incarcerated female offenders based on a therapeutic community model with comprehensive aftercare. Results suggest that this program can be effective in reducing recidivism and substance use in the short term. Highlights the specific needs of female offenders. Available online.

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LAST MODIFIED: 12/14/2009

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0046

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