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Desistance and Legitimacy: The Impact of Offender Notification Meetings on Recidivism Among High-Risk Offenders

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 33 Issue: 7 Dated: 2016 Pages: 1237-64
Date Published
28 pages

This paper discusses a research study that used quasi-experimental and survival analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of a legitimacy-based program to prevent crime; it presents the authors’ research methodology and outcomes as well as implications for this type of program for reducing recidivism.


Legitimacy-based approaches to crime prevention assume that individuals will comply with the law when they believe that the law and its agents are legitimate and act in ways that are “fair” and “just.” Currently, legitimacy-based programs are shown to lower aggregate levels of crime, yet no study has investigated whether such programs influence individual offending. Using quasi-experimental design and survival analyses, this study evaluates the effectiveness of one such program, Chicago’s Project Safe Neighborhoods’ (PSN) Offender Notification Forums, at reducing individual recidivism among a population of returning prisoners. Results suggest that involvement in PSN significantly reduces the risk of subsequent incarceration and is associated with significantly longer intervals that offenders remain on the street and out of prison. As the first study to provide individual-level evidence promoting legitimacy-based interventions on patterns of individual offending, this study suggests these interventions can and do reduce rates of recidivism. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2016