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9 J. Experimental Criminology 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/jexpcrm9 and id is 1 raw text is: J Exp Criminol (2013) 9:1-17
DOI 10.1007/s11292-012-9167-7
First do no harm: a look at correctional policies
and programs today
The 2011 Joan McCord Prize Lecture
Doris Layton MacKenzie
Published online: 2 December 2012
O Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012
Objectives This paper reviews the historical changes in correctional policies and the
impact these changes have had on the operations of corrections and correctional
programs. Social changes and theoretical perspectives moved corrections away from
a focus on rehabilitation to programs characterized by deterrence, incapacitation, and
control. Similarly, theoretical criminology encouraged corrections to move away
from rehabilitation towards programs designed to provide social opportunities such
as employment and housing for offenders. This paper examines whether these
changes in policies and programs have been effective in reducing recidivism. The
question is: What works in corrections?
Methods This paper reviews the research examining the impact of correctional
policies and programs on the later criminal activities of offenders and delinquents.
Research using systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and the Maryland method scores
is used to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of various types of programs,
management strategies, and policies.
Results Research demonstrates programs based on deterrence, incapacitation and
increased control do not reduce the future criminal activities of offenders and
delinquents. Nor have programs targeting social opportunities such as employment
and housing been effective in reducing recidivism. The most effective programs
target individual-level change in thinking and information processing.
Conclusions In the search for ways to sanction offenders, U.S. correctional policies
and programs using control, deterrence, and incapacitation have harmed individuals
and communities. Such programs have not been effective in reducing recidivism.
While programs that provide social opportunities for offenders do not necessarily
harm offenders neither do they decrease later criminal activities. Effective programs
bring about a cognitive transformation in offenders and delinquents. Theorists have
begun to develop hypotheses about how and why these transformations are effective.
D. L. MacKenzie (E)
Department of Sociology, Crime, Law and Justice Program, Penn State University, 327 Pond Bldg,
University Park, PA 16802, USA
e-mail: dorismac@gmail.com

4L Springer

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