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Lessons Learned From 30 Years of Prison Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2012
2 pages
Publication Series
This article from the January 2012 issue of Corrections Today discusses successful prison programs for inmates that have been developed over many years of work by the National Institute of Justice.
This article discusses a presentation by a leading researcher in the field of criminal justice on ways to identify successful prison treatment programs for inmates. The researcher notes that while programs focused on the arts are meant to assist offenders in dealing with stress they have little impact on actually changing offenders’ negative behavior and helping them avoid committing new crimes. It is noted that successful programs use risk assessment tools to assess an offender’s risk of recidivating. Use of these tools allows prison administrators to place offenders in programs and custody levels that precisely match the risks and needs, enabling these offenders to successfully complete their treatment programs. The types of programs found to be most effective at changing negative behaviors were cognitive behavioral interventions such as modeling and social learning. The article also discusses what the researcher believes are elements necessary for effective corrections programs. These elements include good leadership, staff training, solid design and assessment procedures, and targeted treatment and delivery. 1 endnote

Date Published: January 1, 2012