Paul Heroux: We Have No Idea Which Prison Programs Are Reducing Recidivism in America
Date:  12-18-2015

Massachusetts State Representative claims evidence-based programs are not "one-size-fits-all"
The following article was posted in The Huffington Post on 11-02-15 and was updated on 11-05-15.

We Have No Idea Which Prison Programs Are Reducing Recidivism in America

by Massachusetts State Representative Paul Heroux

Throughout America, we have prison commissioners and state public safety officials all stating that they are reducing recidivism because of the programs they offer in their correctional system. I disagree.

I reviewed the websites of all of the state prison systems throughout the US. I wanted to find a prison system that is correctly measuring the outcomes of their prison programs. But for one state, I was unable to find any published outcome evaluations of programs aimed at reducing recidivism published on 49 state prison systems' websites. Even this one system that did have a properly done outcome evaluation did not do an evaluation for every program it offered. I have to admit that maybe I missed reports on several system's websites; if this is the case 1) it doesn't change my overall critique and 2) reports should be easier to find.

The implication is that in America our prison systems have no idea which programs work and which programs don't. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. We don't know. This should concern you.

Read complete article here.