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The Impact of Reentry Programs on Recidivism: A Meta-Analysis

NCJ Number
Mirlinda Ndrecka
Date Published
February 2014
203 pages

This dissertation presents an empirical analysis the effectiveness of reentry programs in their ability to reduce recidivism.


The author of this dissertation used a meta-analytic approach to answer two questions addressing the effectiveness of reentry programs: if reentry programs are effective in reducing recidivism, and what factors are associated with reentry programs. The author addressed the challenge that previous research on reentry programs has produced mixed results and only two comprehensive reviews of reentry programs have been reported. For this project, the author used 53 studies to code 58 distinct effect sizes; and determined the overall impact of reentry programs on recidivism by calculating the mean effect size, the weighted mean effect size, and the respective confidence intervals. The author also measured the impact of several moderating variables. The categories included reentry program type, phases included in the program, treatment modality, duration of treatment, location of treatment, presence of aftercare, risk level of offender, type of treatment provider, and methodological quality of the study. Results were in line with previous studies and showed that reentry programs reduce recidivism, on average, by six percent; reentry programs that initiated treatment while the offenders were incarcerated and continued into the community had greater impact on recidivism than those programs that were limited to pre- or post-release; certain programs targeting high risk offenders, at least 13 weeks in duration, were associated with a significant impact on recidivism; and voluntary or mandatory program attendance and an aftercare component showed no significant impacts on recidivism.