What Works (and Doesn’t) in Reducing Recidivism


  • Edward Latessa
  • Shelley Listwan
  • Deborah Koetzle

This book offers criminologists and students an evidence-based discussion of the latest trends in corrections. Over the last several decades, research has clearly shown that rehabilitation efforts can be effective at reducing recidivism among criminal offenders. However, researchers also recognize that treatment is not a "one size fits all" approach. Offenders vary by gender, age, crime type, and/or addictions, to name but a few, and these individual needs must be addressed by providers. Finally, issues such as leadership, quality of staff, and evaluation efforts affect the quality and delivery of treatment services. This book synthesizes the vast research for the student interested in correctional rehabilitation as well as for the practitioner working with offenders. While other texts have addressed issues regarding treatment in corrections, this text is unique in that it not only discusses the research on "what works" but also addresses implementation issues as practitioners move from theory to practice, as well as the importance of staff, leadership and evaluation efforts.
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Undergraduate and graduate students in the criminal justice programs of 2-year, 4-year, and career schools. CJ practitioners and researchers.


Book information

  • Published: August 2013
  • ISBN: 978-1-4557-3121-3

Table of Contents

  1. "Nothing Works" to "What Works": The History and Social Context of Rehabilitation
  2. Understanding Risk and Needs and the Importance of Assessment and Screening: Potential Tools and How to Apply Them
  3. Putting Theory into Practice: Approaches that Work in Reducing Recidivism
  4. Changing Behavior Long-Term: Behavioral Techniques and Core Correctional Practices
  5. What Doesn’t Work: Ineffective Approaches and Correctional Quackery
  6. Responsivity: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
  7. What Works with Drug Courts
  8. What Works with Sex Offenders: A Unique Challenge
  9. What Works with Women
  10. What Works in Prison
  11. What Works in Re-entry
  12. Making Sure It’s Done Right: The Importance of Quality and How to Ensure Program Fidelity