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Correctional Effectiveness - The High Cost of Ignoring Success

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 51 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1987) Pages: 56-60
P vanVoorhis
Date Published
5 pages
Despite recent negative attitudes toward the effectiveness of corrections, policy research does provide guidelines for improving the outcome of correctional treatments.
First, successful interventions must target social institutions and groups, as well as individuals. Exclusive attention to offender personality or pathology is likely to be ineffective if systems such as families, peer groups, and communities continue to exert negative influences. Second, differential treatment programs are likely to be more successful than programs that treat all offenders alike. Successful treatment will require appropriate use of both risk and needs assessments and offender classification. One is a treatment tool, the other is a management tool. Finally, there is sufficient evidence to discontinue the use of traditional training schools and reformatories for youth. The use of community alternatives and deinstitutionalization policies do not appear to increase either juvenile crime rates or recidivism. 50 references.