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Meta-Analysis of the Predictors of Adult Offender Recidivism: What Works!

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 34 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1996) Pages: 575-607
P Gendreau; T Little; C Goggin
Date Published
33 pages
Meta-analytic techniques were used to analyze 131 studies published between January 1970 and June 1994 to determine which predictor domains and actuarial assessment instruments were the best predictors of recidivism among adult offenders.
Criteria for including the studies included collection of offender data prior to the recording of the criterion measures, a minimum follow-up period of 6 months, the recording of the outcome measure when the offender was 18 years old or older, and other factors. The predictors were grouped into eight predictor domains. The studies generated 1,141 correlations with recidivism. The strongest predictor domains were criminogenic needs, criminal history/history of antisocial behavior, social achievement, age/gender/race, and family factors. Weaker predictors included intellectual functioning, personal distress factors, and socioeconomic status in the family of origin. Dynamic predictor domains such as antisocial personality and drug abuse performed at least as well as the static domains such as age and criminal history. The most useful actuarial measure was the Level of Service Inventory (LSI-R) from Andrews and Bonta in 1995. Findings clarified which predictor domains and actuarial measures of risk will be the most useful to practitioners and policymakers. Tables, footnotes, and 72 references (Author abstract modified)


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