Whenever some academician tells the media that this program or that program has “reduced recidivism,” or that “this group of offenders aren’t likely to commit more crimes” there are three questions you should always ask:
- how long were the offenders tracked after they got out of prison?
- how were offenders selected for (or excluded from) study?
- who paid the academician?
I have an especially hard time trusting studies that are designed to test one specific program or sentencing initiative. Such studies are usually designed by people who have a vested interest in proving the program a success — either the program directors themselves or some professor or consulting firm hired to evaluate their outcomes. ...
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