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Campbell Crime and Justice Group Expedited Reviews Project, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2006
22 pages
This report summarizes nine of the Systematic Reviews on “what works” in the criminal justice system, which were commissioned by the Campbell Crime and Justice Group (CCJG) and funded by the National Institute of Justice.
The nine reviews summarized focus on the effectiveness of correctional boot camps, closed-circuit television, street lighting, counter-terrorism strategies, neighborhood watch programs, cost-benefits of sentencing, community based alternatives versus incarceration, the impact of situational factors on violence, and screening for juvenile and young adult suicide risk. The analysis of the effectiveness of correctional boot camps for reducing crime concluded that boot camps were neither as effective as advocates claim nor as bad as critics contended and that additional research is needed to establish whether a rehabilitative component within the boot camp framework would be effective. Closed-circuit television systems were found to be most effective in well lit parking lots in the United Kingdom while the evaluation of street lighting as a crime prevention technique appeared to be a feasible and cost effective method of reducing crime. Many of the counterterrorist strategies were found to displace crime, rather than actually reduce it, by forcing terrorists to carry out their activities in different ways. The results of the effectiveness of neighborhood watch programs were encouraging but a great deal of variability was observed in their effectiveness based on the type of data used. The cost-benefit analysis of sentencing concluded that prison-based sex offender treatment programs, drug treatment diversion programs, and intensive supervision were cost-beneficial when compared to imprisonment alone. Due to a lack of rigorous empirical data, no firm conclusions could be reached regarding the effectiveness of community based alternatives to incarceration or regarding the use of screening for juvenile and adult suicide risk. On the other hand, the study of situational risk factors for violence indicated that the assessment of situational risk factors, along with individual-based risk assessment, could lead to a better understanding of violence and its interventions. Research methodology mainly relied on meta-analysis of previous empirical findings. Footnotes

Date Published: September 1, 2006