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Critique and Qualified Defense of "Correctional Quackery"

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2012 Pages: 96-112
Lynette C. Lee; Mary K. Stohr
Date Published
February 2012
17 pages
The authors of this article examine correctional programs that deter recidivism.
Correctional programs that do not have a discernible effect on recidivism have been dismissed as "correctional quackery" by some scholars. The authors argue that labeling programs and practices as "quackery" has certain limitations given the state of the author's theory and research, and they explore why some programs might be worthwhile for reasons beyond their effect, or noneffect, on recidivism. This discussion is framed around the need to balance the goals of relying on existing evidence to guide correctional programming, while remaining open to new advances in our understanding of human behavior. The authors highlight the need to question existing assumptions about reductions in recidivism as the only program goal worthy of pursuit, and they discuss the potential value of a range of nontraditional treatments in correctional settings. The authors end with four recommendations regarding research on programming in corrections. (Published Abstract)