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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The “success” of a prison program can be defined, in part, as the ability to effectively reintegrate released offenders back into the community and secure reductions in criminal recidivism. This essay considers the challenges and issues involved in transferring the “what works” literature on potentially successful prison programs from research into practice. Implementation guidelines for prison programs are considered as well as the importance of evaluating and accrediting prison-based treatment programs. To this end, I review the obstacles to translating theoretically sound programs into practice and whether these obstacles can be surmounted given the design and nature of imprisonment. Assuming effective programs can be established in a prison setting, proper monitoring and evaluation of these programs are discussed as linchpins of sustaining the success of these programs.

Keywords: prison-based treatment programs, reductions in recidivism, “what works” literature, successful prison programs, guidelines for prison programs, evaluating prison programs

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