Corrections-based education, vocation, and work programs are a major rehabilitative component of our correctional system. Recent reviews of the research literature raise doubt about the effectiveness of these programs in reducing recidivism. This study meta-analyzed the recidivism outcomes of 33 independent experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations of education, vocation, and work programs and found that program participants recidivate at a lower rate than nonparticipants. The generally weak methodological character of these studies, however, prevents attributing this observed effect on criminal behavior to the activities of the programs. Future evaluative research in this area could be strengthened through the incorporation of theoretical links between the program activities and future criminal involvement and through designs that control for self-selection bias beyond basic demographic differences.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology