What are the features of effective prison-based programmes for reducing recidivism?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers are concerned that recidivism rates remain high among prisoners released from custody. Prison-based programmes have been introduced amid recognition that incarceration as a standalone intervention does not work in reducing post-release recidivism. However, it is not clear what features of these programmes are evidence-based for effectiveness. The present chapter draws together findings from recent ‘systematic reviews’ of prison-based programmes. By adopting a transparent approach to study inclusion and results synthesis, systematic reviews have been influential in distilling evidence-based practice in crime and justice, as in medicine. Recent reviews were found in the following areas: substance-misuse programmes, educational and vocational programmes, cognitive-behavioural treatment for general violence and aggression, and programmes for reducing sexual recidivism. The pattern of results, within and between offence-specific areas, has implications for modernising custodial environments and for implementing prison services.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice
EditorsPamela Ugwudike, Hannah Graham, Fergus McNeill, Peter Raynor, Faye Taxman, Chris Trotter
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315102832
ISBN (Print)9781138102057, 9781138103320
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2019


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