The Transitional Case Management (TCM) study, one of the projects of the Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS) cooperative, was a multi-site randomized test of whether a strengths-based case management intervention provided during an inmate's transition from incarceration to the community increases participation in community substance abuse treatment, enhances access to needed social services, and improves drug use and crime outcomes. As in many intervention studies, TCM experienced a relatively large percentage of treatment-group participants who attended few or no scheduled sessions. The paper discusses issues with regard to participation in community case management sessions, examines patterns of session attendance among TCM participants, and analyzes client and case manager characteristics that are associated with number of sessions attended and with patterns of attendance. The average number of sessions (out of 12) attended was 5.7. Few client or case manager characteristics were found to be significantly related to session attendance. Clinical and research implications of the findings and of adherence in case management generally are discussed.
The purpose of the present meta-analysis was to answer the question: Can the Andrews principles of risk, needs, and responsivity, originally developed for programs that treat offenders, be extended to programs that treat drug abusers?
Drawing from a dataset that included 243 independent comparisons, we conducted random-effects meta-regression and ANOVA-analog meta-analyses to test the Andrews principles by averaging crime and drug use outcomes over a diverse set of programs for drug abuse problems.
For crime outcomes, in the meta-regressions the point estimates for each of the principles were substantial, consistent with previous studies of the Andrews principles. There was also a substantial point estimate for programs exhibiting a greater number of the principles. However, almost all of the 95% confidence intervals included the zero point. For drug use outcomes, in the meta-regressions the point estimates for each of the principles was approximately zero; however, the point estimate for programs exhibiting a greater number of the principles was somewhat positive. All of the estimates for the drug use principles had confidence intervals that included the zero point.
This study supports previous findings from primary research studies targeting the Andrews principles that those principles are effective in reducing crime outcomes, here in meta-analytic research focused on drug treatment programs. By contrast, programs that follow the principles appear to have very little effect on drug use outcomes. Primary research studies that experimentally test the Andrews principles in drug treatment programs are recommended.
To test whether strengths-based case management provided during an inmate’s transition from incarceration to the community increases participation in community substance abuse treatment, enhances access to needed social services, and improves drug use, crime, and HIV risk outcomes.
In a multi-site trial, inmates (men and women) in four states (n = 812) were randomly assigned (within site) to receive either Transitional Case Management (TCM group), based on strengths-based principles, or standard parole services (SR group). Data were collected at baseline and at 3 and 9 months following release from prison. Analyses compared the two groups with respect to services received and to drug use, crime, and HIV risk behavior outcomes.
There were no significant differences between parolees in the TCM group and the SR group on outcomes related to participation in drug abuse treatment, receipt of social services, or drug use, crime, and HIV risk behaviors. For specific services (e.g., residential treatment, mental health), although significant differences were found for length of participation or for number of visits, the number of participants in these services was small and the direction of effect was not consistent.
In contrast to positive findings in earlier studies of strengths-based case management with mental-health and drug-abuse clients, this study found that case management did not improve treatment participation or behavioral outcomes for parolees with drug problems. The discussion includes possible reasons for the findings and suggestions for modifications to the intervention that could be addressed in future research.
Integration of community parole and addiction treatment holds promise for optimizing the participation of drug-involved parolees in re-entry services, but intensification of services might yield greater rates of technical violations. Collaborative behavioral management (CBM) integrates the roles of parole officers and treatment counselors to provide role induction counseling, contract for pro-social behavior, and to deliver contingent reinforcement of behaviors consistent with contracted objectives. Attendance at both parole and addiction treatment are specifically reinforced. The Step'n Out study of the Criminal Justice-Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS) randomly allocated 486 drug-involved parolees to either collaborative behavioral management or traditional parole with 3-month and 9-month follow-up. Bivariate and multivariate regression models found that, in the first 3 months, the CBM group had more parole sessions, face-to-face parole sessions, days on which parole and treatment occurred on the same day, treatment utilization and individual counseling, without an increase in parole violations. We conclude that CBM integrated parole and treatment as planned, and intensified parolees' utilization of these services, without increasing violations.
To assess the impact of a positive behavioral reinforcement intervention on psychosocial functioning of inmates over the course of treatment and on post-treatment self-reported measures of treatment participation, progress, and satisfaction.
Male (n = 187) and female (n = 143) inmates participating in 12-week prison-based Intensive Outpatient (IOP) drug treatment were randomly assigned to receive standard treatment (ST) or standard treatment plus positive behavioral reinforcement (BR) for engaging in targeted activities and behaviors. Participants were assessed for psychosocial functioning at baseline and at the conclusion of treatment (post-treatment). Self-reported measures of treatment participation, treatment progress, and treatment satisfaction were also captured at post-treatment.
The intervention affected female and male subjects differently and not always in a way that favored BR subjects, as compared to the ST subjects, most notably on measures of depression and criminal thinking.
Possible explanations for the results include differences in the male and female custody environments combined with the procedures that study participants had to follow to earn and/or receive positive reinforcement at the two study sites, as well as baseline differences between the genders and a possible floor effect among females on measures of criminality. Limitations of the study included the inability to make study participants blind to the study conditions and the possible over-branding of the study, which may have influenced the results.
Using data from a randomized experiment, to examine whether moving youth out of areas of concentrated poverty, where a disproportionate amount of crime occurs, prevents involvement in crime.
We draw on new administrative data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment. MTO families were randomized into an experimental group offered a housing voucher that could only be used to move to a low-poverty neighborhood, a Section 8 housing group offered a standard housing voucher, and a control group. This paper focuses on MTO youth ages 15-25 in 2001 (n = 4,643) and analyzes intention to treat effects on neighborhood characteristics and criminal behavior (number of violent- and property-crime arrests) through 10 years after randomization.
We find the offer of a housing voucher generates large improvements in neighborhood conditions that attenuate over time and initially generates substantial reductions in violent-crime arrests and sizable increases in property-crime arrests for experimental group males. The crime effects attenuate over time along with differences in neighborhood conditions.
Our findings suggest that criminal behavior is more strongly related to current neighborhood conditions (situational neighborhood effects) than to past neighborhood conditions (developmental neighborhood effects). The MTO design makes it difficult to determine which specific neighborhood characteristics are most important for criminal behavior. Our administrative data analyses could be affected by differences across areas in the likelihood that a crime results in an arrest.
The purpose of this study was to examine the implementation, adherence and protocol fidelity for the Reducing Risky Relationships for HIV (RRR-HIV) study. The RRR-HIV study is a phase III trial of a randomized intervention to reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk behaviors among incarcerated women in four US states: Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky and Rhode Island. The intervention consists of five interventionist-led prison-based group sessions and a sixth individual community-based session. Data on adherence, implementation, acceptability and fidelity of the intervention were obtained from forms completed after the five prison-based sessions by both the interventionist and participant. Data from the sixth session were collected by the interventionist. Of the 363 women recruited to date, 173 (47.6%) have been randomly allocated to the experimental RRR intervention, of which implementation measures were available for 162 (93.6%). Almost three-quarters of women attended all five sessions, each of which lasted a median of 90 minutes, indicating successful implementation of the protocol across multiple study sites. Interventionists and participants alike reported that all of the topics for each session were discussed, suggesting adherence to the protocol. In addition, protocol interventionists indicated that more than 95% of the women were engaged/involved, interested, and understood the materials presented, indicating high levels of acceptability among the participants and fidelity to the intervention protocols. The majority of participants also answered all of the post-test questions correctly, which is another strong indicator of the fidelity to the intervention. Results suggest that the RRR-HIV study has been successfully implemented across multiple study sites. Adherence to the protocol, as well as protocol fidelity and acceptability, were also strong, which is essential to establish prior to examining outcome data.
Randomized controlled trials have become an important component of evidence-based policy in criminal justice. Because searches
of electronic bibliographic databases often miss relevant trials, handsearch – or the visual inspection of the contents of
an article – is recommended as an additional search strategy. In this paper, we conducted an electronic handsearch of every
available issue of the British Journal of Criminology (1960–2004) to determine how many randomized field experiments were published. We compare these results to earlier manual
handsearch efforts to augment the Campbell Collaboration Social, Psychological, Educational and Criminological Trials Register
(C2-SPECTR). We find only nine trials (although two used quasi-random allocation such as alternation), and just one published
in the past 20 years. We discuss some possible reasons for this, and conclude with a modest agenda for improving the reporting
of evidence in the age of evidence-based policy.
One of the numerous important contributions of Joan McCord to criminology was her long term follow up of an exceptionally
well designed experimental prevention study initiated in the 1930s. Her work influenced a large number of longitudinal and
experimental studies which form the basis of developmental and experimental criminology. The aim of this paper is to highlight
how developmental criminology, experimental criminology, and developmental genetics (epigenetics) are starting to blend together
to explain the causes of antisocial behavior, and more importantly to help prevent chronic antisocial behavior. The paper
uses physical aggression as an example of a developmental outcome of gene–environment interactions.
The traditional six-to-ten person lineup is known to be extremely unreliable. Witnesses who choose someone when the suspect
is innocent are too likely to choose that suspect. One solution is to enlarge the lineup in a manner that reduces mistaken
identification far more than it lowers correct identification of the culprit. This experiment was built on past research,
and it displayed to witnesses lineups consisting of sets of 12 photographs in an album, either two sets (24 photos) or seven
sets (84 photos). No difference was found between witnesses for the 24-person lineup or the 84-person lineup in either their
ability to identify the target whom they had seen previously, or in the number of mistaken choices of someone in lineups where
the target was absent. Since the chance that the witness might mistakenly identify the suspect is far less in the 84-person
lineup, lineups should consist of at least that number.
Support for the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment to reduce substance use and recidivism among populations supervised by the criminal justice system continues to grow in substance abuse and criminal justice literature. Recent studies show that a variety of programs including the Breaking the Cycle program and drug courts appear to result in improved outcomes for offenders. In this paper, we examine the effect of non-residential substance abuse treatment on arrest. Our data are for almost 134,000 ‘drug-involved’ individuals sentenced to probation in Florida between July 1995 and June 2000. Nearly 52,000 of these individuals received non-residential substance abuse treatment, while 81,797 did not. Our approach is a methodologically simple one that entails stratifying our data by treatment status, estimating logit and negative binomial models of arrest for each of the two datasets, and then applying each model to both datasets. This approach, which requires that both groups include subjects for whom treatment is appropriate, is analogous to using regression models to predict outcomes for new values of independent variables. For each observation in the dataset, we use the models to predict the expected outcomes for each individual under two scenarios – receiving non-residential treatment and receiving no treatment. Summing over these individual estimates provides an estimate of the total numbers of arrests that would be expected under different levels of population exposure to treatment. Results suggest that non-residential treatment reduced both the expected numbers of individuals who recidivated (i.e., were arrested) and the expected total numbers of arrests in the 12 and 24 months following placement on supervision.
There has been tremendous growth in the field of prevention science over the past two decades. The defining features of contemporary prevention science are high quality empirical research using rigorous and well-established scientific methods, careful hyphothesis testing, and the systematic accumulation of knowledge. One area where substantial progress has been made is in our understanding of the etiology and prevention of tobacoo, alcohol, and illicit drug abuse. In this paper, we review the growth in prevention as a scientific enterprise, discuss advances in drug abuse prevention research, and review the effectiveness of one approach to the problem of adolescent drug abuse, the Life Skills Traning (LST) program, and the methodological strengths of the LST evaluation research. In addition, we provide a response to criticism regarding two types of data analysis in evaluation research, and show that these analyses can help address a number of important research questions with implications for theory and practice. First, the analysis of high fidelity subsamples can address research questions about the importance of program implementation fidelity; and second, composite measures of concurrent tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use (i.e., polydrug use) are useful in testing research questions about program effects on more serious levels of drug involvement. With an increasing number of ramdomized controlled trials underway, the field of prevention science is contributing to a new generation of evidence-based approaches and policies that, if widely utilized, offer the potential of reducing the mortality and morbidity associated with a number of major health and social problems.
Data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) provide independent oversight to bio-medical clinical trials, ensuring safe and
ethical treatment of research participants, data quality, and credibility of study findings. Recently, the type of research
monitored by DSMBs has been expanded to include randomized clinical trials of behavioral and psychosocial interventions in
community and justice based settings. This paper focuses on the development and role of a DSMB created by the National Institute
on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to monitor six multi-site clinical trials conducted within the Criminal Justice–Drug Abuse Treatment
Studies (CJ-DATS). We believe this is one of the first such applications of formal DSMBs in justice settings. Special attention
is given to developing processes for measuring and monitoring a range of implementation issues for research conducted within
criminal justice settings. Lessons learned and recommendations to enhance future DSMB work within this area are discussed.
Court-mandated batterer intervention programs are being implemented throughout the United States to address the problem of domestic violence. Prior reviews of research on the effectiveness of these programs have arrived at conflicting conclusions. This study is a systematic review of the extant research on this topic. Experimental and quasi-experimental studies that used matching or statistical controls were included. The results were mixed. The mean effect for official reports of domestic violence from experimental studies showed modest benefit, whereas the mean effect for victim reported outcomes was zero. Quasi-experimental studies using a no-treatment comparison had inconsistent findings indicating an overall small harmful effect. In contract, quasi-experimental studies using a treatment dropout design showed a large, positive mean effect on domestic violence outcomes. We discuss the weakness of the latter design and raise concerns regarding official reports. The findings, we believe, raise doubts about the effectiveness of court-mandated batterer intervention programs.
In this essay I examine some of the problems that prompted the National Research Council (NRC) report and consider how academic
researchers might help resolve them. Many of the problems were found to be associated with research designed to assess program
effects on child victimization and violence against women, areas in which research participation by subjects is particularly
burdensome and difficult to obtain. Yet, program evaluations often assume that the process of subject participation is well
understood and that outcome measures are reliable and valid across all subjects. A multidisciplinary, comprehensive and systematic
review of victimization programs and past research is needed to advance the rigor of future evaluations. However, academics
should not insist that all victim service programs warrant program evaluation as a condition of continued public support,
because the decision to retain a program inevitably involves more than a scientific estimate of its effect.
Eisner (Journal of Experimental Criminology, this issue, 2009) suggests that developer-led evaluations often make programs
look better than independent evaluations do because the former suffer systematic biases in favor of prevention success. Yet,
his proposed remedies suffer their own systematic bias, constituting a ‘one-tailed’ test of bias in only one direction. In
this response we suggest that a more objective assessment of ‘analysts’ effects’ requires a ‘two-tailed’ test of bias, in
which reviewers would measure indications of bias both for and against success in evaluations reported by both developers and independent evaluators. After exploring the full complexity of the distinction
between developers and evaluators, we report on one case in which independent evaluations were more favorable than those of
developers. We then suggest possible indicators of analysts’ biases against finding success that may characterize the work
of developers who “bend over backwards” to find harm in their programs, and of independent evaluators who may seek to “get
a scalp” of a developer or a program.
In an attempt to enhance dramatically the access of Illinois’ prison inmates to substance abuse treatment services within
prison and following their release, the Sheridan Correctional Center was opened in 2004 by the Illinois Department of Corrections
as a fully-dedicated substance abuse treatment prison operating under a therapeutic community design. During the first 5years
of implementation and operation, the program has improved the rate of aftercare admission and completion through enhanced
pre-release planning and coordination, the development of community-based partnerships, and a transformation of the parole
model and, in doing so, has overcome many of the barriers to effective offender re-entry. The analyses illustrate how aftercare
admission and completion has improved during the course of implementation, and what factors appear to predict aftercare entry
and completion. The article discusses the implications of how this improved access to aftercare impacts upon post-release
outcomes (i.e., recidivism).
As drug arrests and jail overcrowding added pressure to increase pretrial release in localities during the 1980s and 1990s, the need to manage a larger and higher-risk pretrial population of defendants awaiting adjudication in the community became a high priority for justice agencies. In the late 1990s Philadelphia officials sought to discover the ingredients of a successful supervision strategy through four interlinked field experiments to provide an empirical basis for a major reform of the pretrial release system. The results of the linked randomized experiments question common assumptions about “supervision,” its impact and effectiveness, about the underlying nature of the noncompliant defendant, and deterrence implications. The study emphasizes the importance of interpreting the findings in the context of implementation of the policy reform. Findings suggest that facilitative notification strategies wield little influence on defendant behavior and that deterrent aims are undermined by the system's failure to deliver consequences for defendant noncompliance during pretrial release. The most significant contribution of the article is its illustration of a major evidence-based policy reform undertaken by a major court system.
In recent years a great deal of attention has turned to the need for policy-relevant research in criminology. Methodologically,
attention has been trained on the use of randomized experimental designs and cumulative systematic reviews of evidence to
accomplish this goal. Our work here reviews and demonstrates the utility of the Bayesian analytic framework, in the context
of crime prevention and justice treatment studies, as a means of furthering the goals of research synthesis and creation of
policy-relevant scientific statements. Evidence from various fields is used as a foundation for the discussion, and an empirical
example illustrates how this approach might be useful in practical criminological research. It is concluded that Bayesian
analysis offers a useful complement to existing approaches and warrants further inclusion in the ongoing discussion about
how best to assess program effectiveness, synthesize evidence, and report findings from crime and justice evaluations in a
way that is relevant to policy makers and practitioners.
Designed as a field quasi-experiment, this study analyzes the differences in Jewish adolescent crime rates before and after
the inception of the second Intifada (September, 2000). Data covers the years between 1996 and 2003. The study focused on
the relationship between the number of terrorist acts, the number of deaths in these acts, economic changes, and crime rates
(murder, manslaughter, assault, mugging and robbery and property-related). The findings of the study were analyzed in terms
of current theories on the impact of social and security-related stress on adolescents. The results show that the second Intifada
has had significant effects on male adolescent crime rates. In particular, the number of terrorist acts was significantly
associated with the following offences: assault, robbery, and manslaughter. No significant differences were found for adolescent
female crime rates. Economic changes were significantly negatively related both to male adolescent crime for all the offences
studied, as well as to property-related female offences.
The originators of the Miami drug court incorporated acupuncture into the substance abuse treatment regimen that has been
widely imitated in hundreds of drug courts since 1989. Although there is some evidence to suggest that acupuncture may be
an effective adjunct to treatment more generally, research has not yet examined its role and impact in the drug court setting.
This paper describes an effort to study the impact of acupuncture on offender behavior and progress in treatment in the Clark
County, (Las Vegas) Nevada Drug Court using a prospective modified experiment, where 336 new participants were randomly assigned
to acupuncture and no-acupuncture conditions. However, significant treatment contamination hindered straightforward analysis,
as nearly 40% of the control group received at least some acupuncture. To compensate for the treatment compliance problem,
two-stage least-squares (2SLS) regression is employed with original group assignment as an instrumental variable and acupuncture
exposure as a predictor. Results indicate no significant difference along a range of criminal justice and treatment outcomes,
with the exception of one measure of treatment progress. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the
findings and the need to design studies that are better able to separate the effects of acupuncture from other treatment and
This paper asks whether undertaking a cost-benefit analysis provides additional information to policy makers as compared to
an analysis solely of the effect of an intervention. A literature review identified 106 evaluations of criminal justice interventions
that reported both an effect size and measures of net benefit. Data on net benefit and effect size were extracted from these
studies. We found that effect size is only weakly related to net benefits. The rank order of net benefits and effect size
are minimally correlated. Furthermore, we found that the two analytic methods would yield opposing policy recommendations
for more than one in four interventions. These bi-variate findings are supported by the results of multivariate models. However,
further research is needed to verify the accuracy of the standard errors on net benefit estimates, so these models must be
interpreted with caution.
A partial identification methodology is proposed in which self-selection into treatment is motivated by the expectation that
treatment is beneficial. Identification is partial because it is not possible to establish empirically that treatment is effective.
However, it is possible to establish that treatment is ineffective or even harmful. The evaluation methodology combines control
function estimation with differences-in-differences in which the treatment effect is qualitative. The methodology is illustrated
using administrative data on drug addicts in Israel in which some addicts were treated and others were not. Controlling for
observed heterogeneity, we find that there is no significant difference in the change in drug use frequency between the treated
and the untreated. Therefore, although it was not possible to demonstrate that treatment is beneficial, it is possible to
establish that it is not beneficial. This type of negative evaluation is most probably useful in many other contexts.
KeywordsPartial identification-Program evaluation-Treatment of drug addicts
Experiments test ‘new’ ideas about interventions that might produce better outcomes. Re-entry requires that the intervention
should be offered at the transition point (from prison to community) and in the community. In general, the experiment requires
the researchers to differentiate the ‘new’ approach from usual practice. The answer lies in the design and measures of the
experiment. It is important to make sure that the intervention will be designed and implemented in such a manner that makes
it operationally different from traditional services. Each experiment must include measures to determine the content and dosage
of the new intervention as well as the traditional practice. This special edition is devoted to examining how these issues
are handled in four different experiments, as well as comments from members of a Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) on the
efforts to monitor studies. Together, the articles point to the need to measure the fidelity and adherence of new innovations.