August 6, 2007

New study on desistance from crime

Every day, about 1,600 people are released from prisons in the United States. Until now, the primary focus has been on the "R word" - recidivism.

In a promising trend that I’ve posted about previously, some academicians and policy makers are turning to the "D" word - desistance.

As part of this welcome trend comes a new study by the National Research Council. The study, Parole, Desistance from Crime, and Community Integration, points to evidence-based interventions that significantly reduce recidivism. As a psychologist, I was happy to see that cognitive behavioral therapy tops the list, followed by intensive drug treatment. Strong marriages and ties to work also help parolees reintegrate into society.

The entire book is available for free online from the National Academies Press.