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Quantitative Review and Description of Corrections-Based Education, Vocation, and Work Programs

NCJ Number
Corrections Management Quarterly Volume: 3 Issue: 4 Dated: Fall 1999 Pages: 8-18
David B. Wilson Ph.D; Catherine A. Gallagher MA; Mark B. Coggeshall BA; Doris L. MacKenzie Ph.D
Date Published
11 pages
Inmate education, vocational, and work programs were studied with respect to their effects on recidivism, based on quantitative research synthesis techniques in a meta-analysis of 33 previous outcome studies that included 53 program-comparison contrasts.
The studies were all published or written after 1975 in the English language. Results revealed that participants in these programs recidivated at a lower rate than did nonparticipants and that the overall effects were roughly comparable across the different types of programs. However, the data did not permit the conclusion that this reduction was due to the effects of the programs. The typical study was quasi-experimental and compared naturally occurring groups of program participants with nonparticipants. Few studies made serious attempts to control for biases produced by this self-selection into programs. The higher-quality studies revealed promising findings but did not provide a sufficient foundation to support a general statement about the effectiveness of these programs. This review did not examine other potential benefits of education, vocation, and work programs, including increased employability of the offenders. However, high-quality evaluation studies are needed to resolve the issue of the effectiveness of typical corrections-based education, vocation, and work programs. Tables, figure, and 55 references