What Doesn’t Work to Reduce Reoffending? A Review of Reviews of Ineffective Interventions for Adults Convicted of Crimes
Punitive or deterrence-based interventions are less likely to reduce reoffending, and if delivered without rehabilitative support can make people more likely to commit crime in future. Interventions based on the notion that people will avoid committing crimes if they understand the negative consequences of offending, or to avoid increasingly onerous punishment, have repeatedly been shown in the studies reviewed not to reduce recidivism. This review found that neither victim impact panels (Miller et al., 2015) nor more general insight-oriented interventions (Schmucker & Lösel, 2015) demonstrated an impact on recidivism, while custodial sanctions tended to be worse than noncustodial sanctions at reducing proven reoffending (Welsh & Rocque, 2014). Recent research appears to suggest that even when punishment is swift, certain and fair (SCF), guiding principles thought to characterize effective punishment approaches (Kleiman & Kilmer, 2009), it is not associated with a positive impact on reoffending. A recent field experiment of project HOPE (Honest Opportunity with Probation Enforcement) in four sites across the US, which uses SCF practices to respond to any violation of parole conditions suggested that this is ineffective in reducing revocations to prison or criminal recidivism. Indeed, at two sites HOPE participants had higher levels of technical revocations than those subject to probation as usual, while at one site, HOPE was associated with higher reconviction rates (Lattimore et al., 2016).