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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Howell, James C. 2008. Preventing and reducing juvenile delinquency: A comprehensive framework. 2d ed. Los Angeles: Sage.
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.
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.
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.
MacKenzie, Doris Layton. 2006. What works in corrections: Reducing the criminal activities of offenders and delinquents. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.
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.
Martinson, Robert. 1974. What works? Questions and answers about prison reform. Public Interest 10:22–54.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions and individuals. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email email@example.com to express your interest.
- Active Offender Research
- Airport and Airline Security
- Alcohol and Drug Prohibition
- Alcohol Use, Policy and Crime
- Animals, Crimes Against
- Bail and Pretrial Detention
- Biosocial Criminology
- Black's Theory of Law and Social Control
- Blumstein, Alfred
- Boot Camps and Shock Incarceration Programs
- Burglary, Residential
- Capital Punishment
- Chicago School of Criminology, The
- Chinese Triad Society
- Civil Protection Orders
- Collateral Consequences of Felony Conviction and Imprisonm...
- Collective Efficacy
- Commercial and Bank Robbery
- Communicating Scientific Findings in the Courtroom
- Community Change and Crime
- Community Corrections
- Community Disadvantage and Crime
- Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
- Confessions, False and Coerced
- Contextual Analysis of Crime
- Control Balance Theory
- Corporate Crime
- Costs of Crime and Justice
- Courts, Problem-Solving
- Crime and Justice in Latin America
- Crime Control Policy
- Crime Control, Politics of
- Crime, (In)Security, and Islam
- Crime Prevention, Situational
- Crime Trends
- Crime Victims' Rights Movement
- Criminal Career Research
- Criminal Decision Making, Emotions in
- Criminal Justice Data Sources
- Criminal Justice Ethics
- Criminal Justice System, Discretion in the
- Criminal Retaliation
- Criminology and Political Science
- Criminology of Genocide, The
- Critical Criminology
- Cross-National Crime
- Cultural Criminology
- Cultural Theories
- Cycle of Violence
- Developmental and Life-Course Criminology
- Digital Piracy
- Driving and Traffic Offenses
- Drug Control
- Drug Trafficking, International
- Drugs and Crime
- Environmental Crime and Justice
- Experimental Criminology
- Family Violence
- Fear of Crime and Perceived Risk
- Felon Disenfranchisement
- Feminist Theories
- Firearms and Violence
- Forensic Science
- Gangs, Peers, and Co-offending
- Gender and Crime
- Genetics, Environment, and Crime
- Green Criminology
- Hate Crime
- Hate Crime Legislation
- Healthcare Fraud
- Hirschi, Travis
- History of Crime in the United Kingdom
- History of Criminology
- History of Police
- Homicide Victimization
- Honor Cultures and Violence
- Hot Spots Policing
- Human Rights
- Human Trafficking
- Identity Theft
- Immigration, Crime, and Justice
- Incarceration, Mass
- Income Tax Evasion
- Institutional Anomie Theory
- Integrated Theory
- Interpersonal Violence, Historical Patterns of
- Investigation, Criminal
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Juvenile Justice System, The
- Kornhauser, Ruth Rosner
- Labeling Theory
- Labor Markets and Crime
- Lead and Crime
- Local Institutions and Neighborhood Crime
- Lombroso, Cesare
- Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
- Mapping and Spatial Analysis of Crime, The
- Mass Media, Crime, and Justice
- Measuring Crime
- Mediation and Dispute Resolution Programs
- Mental Health and Crime
- Meta-analysis in Criminology
- Motor Vehicle Theft
- Narrative Criminology
- National Deviancy Symposia, The
- Nature Versus Nurture
- Neighborhood Disorder
- Neutralization Theory
- Offender Decision-Making and Motivation
- Offense Specialization/Expertise
- Organized Crime
- Panel Methods in Criminology
- Peer Networks and Delinquency
- Performance Measurement and Accountability Systems
- Personality and Trait Theories of Crime
- Phenomenological Theories of Crime
- Police Administration
- Police Cooperation, International
- Police Effectiveness
- Police Misconduct
- Police, Race and the
- Police Use of Force
- Policing and Law Enforcement
- Policing, Community and Problem-Oriented
- Policing, Privatization of
- Policing, Proactive
- Prison Gangs and Subculture
- Prison History
- Prisoner Reentry
- Prisons and Jails
- Property Crime
- Prosecution and Courts
- Psychiatry, Psychology, and Crime: Historical and Current ...
- Psychology and Crime
- Public Criminology
- Public Opinion, Crime and Justice
- Public Order Crimes
- Punishment Justification and Goals
- Race, Ethnicity, Crime, and Justice
- Racial Threat Hypothesis
- Racial Profiling
- Rape and Sexual Assault
- Rational Choice Theories
- Religion and Crime
- Restorative Justice
- Risk Assessment
- Routine Activity Theories
- School Bullying
- School Crime and Violence
- Seasonality and Crime
- Self-Control, The General Theory:
- Sentencing Guidelines
- Sentencing Policy
- Sex Crimes
- Sex Offender Policies and Legislation
- Sex Trafficking
- Sexual Revictimization
- Situational Action Theory
- Snitching and Use of Criminal Informants
- Social and Intellectual Context of Criminology, The
- Social Construction of Crime, The
- Social Control of Tobacco Use
- Social Control Theory
- Social Disorganization
- Social Ecology of Crime
- Social Learning Theory
- Social Networks
- Social Threat and Social Control
- Solitary Confinement
- South Africa, Crime and Justice in
- Sport Mega-Events Security
- Stalking and Harassment
- State Crime
- Strain Theories
- Street Code
- Street Robbery
- Substance Use and Abuse
- Surveillance, Public and Private
- Sutherland, Edwin H.
- Technology and the Criminal Justice System
- Terrorism, Criminological Explanations for
- Testimony, Eyewitness
- Therapeutic Jurisprudence
- Trajectory Methods in Criminology
- Transnational Crime
- Urban Politics and Crime
- US War on Terrorism, Legal Perspectives on the
- Victimization Patterns and Trends
- Victimization, Repeat
- Violence Against Women
- Violence, Youth
- Violent Crime
- White-Collar Crime
- Wilson, James Q.
- Wrongful Conviction