Evidence-based corrections: Identifying what works

Doris Layton MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Scopus citations


Relatively few policy decisions regarding corrections use scientific evidence to assist in making informed decisions. This article emphasizes the importance of using evidence-based corrections if we are to be successful in reducing crime in the community. As an example of how scientific information can be used to make decisions, an assessment technique designed by University of Maryland researchers is used to assess the effectiveness of correctional strategies, interventions, and programs. This technique uses a two-step procedure for drawing conclusions about what works in crime prevention. Studies within each area (e.g., drug treatment, cognitive skills programs, educational programs) are assessed for scientific rigor. The scientific rigor score and the direction and significance of the results are used to draw conclusions about what works, what doesn't, what is promising, and what we don't know. The assessment technique is described and summaries of the findings from this assessment are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-471
Number of pages15
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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