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Journal of Experimental Criminology

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 565–595 | Cite as

Preventing future offending of delinquents and offenders: what have we learned from experiments and meta-analyses?

  • Doris L. MacKenzieEmail author
  • David P. Farrington
Article

Abstract

Objectives

The main aim of this article is to review knowledge about what works in preventing future offending by delinquents and offenders. We examine what has been learned from randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews, and meta-analyses in the past 10 years about the effectiveness of correctional interventions.

Methods

We focus on important recent RCTs, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses from 2005 onwards. Where reported in the meta-analyses, we examine the number of RCTs included in the analyses and whether results from experiments differ from those contained in non-experimental designs.

Results

Interventions based on surveillance, control, deterrence, or discipline are ineffective. Interventions based on restorative methods and skills training are effective. The effectiveness of interventions providing services and opportunities is unclear.

Conclusions

More randomized trials are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of programs. Only evidence-based programs should be implemented.

Keywords

Randomized controlled trial Meta-analysis Systematic review Delinquency Reoffending Recidivism Evidence-based corrections Correctional interventions 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Justice Center for Research and Department of Sociology and CriminologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Institute of CriminologyCambridge UniversityCambridgeUK

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