U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Rehabilitation Programs for Adult Offenders: A Meta-Analysis in Support of Guidelines for Effective Practice

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018
12 pages
This report summarizes the findings of a meta-analysis of the research through 2014 on the effects of intervention programs for adult offenders, building on an existing database drawn from eligible studies reported through 2005.

The analysis of the research focused on the impact of various interventions on the recidivism of participants and other outcomes, with attention to the program and participant characteristics most strongly associated with positive outcomes. The findings of this meta-analysis are intended to facilitate the construction of effective practice guidelines and obtain feedback on their applicability, utility, and ease of implementation by criminal justice practitioners in the adult correctional system. Overall, the meta-analysis found positive mean effects for recidivism and other positive outcomes achieved by rehabilitation programs for adult offenders. Community-based treatment programs under probation or parole supervision were found to be more effective than treatment programs provided in residential facilities. Also, among the broad intervention approaches used in treatment, cognitive-behavioral, structured group sessions, individual counseling, and drug court programs provided especially beneficial results. The stronger effects found when the evaluator was more involved in service delivery and for more mature programs are also significant. Further analysis of the database is being conducted to identify specific features of the more effective generic intervention approaches that further differentiate effects. This project's ultimate goal is to develop guidelines for effective intervention with adult offenders. 3 tables

Date Published: December 1, 2018