The Programs We’ve Identified Are Linked Below
Programs identified as having the most credible evidence of effectiveness, based on careful review in consultation with outside experts, are categorized as “Top Tier” or “Near Top Tier” (see sidebar for definitions). The other listed programs have been found promising but not yet Top Tier or Near Top Tier due to study limitations (such as only short-term follow-up) that underscore the need for additional testing prior to larger-scale implementation. As a nonprofit philanthropic foundation, we receive no financial benefit from any program, enabling us to serve as an impartial reviewer of the evidence.
Top Tier Treatment Foster Care Oregon (A foster care intervention for severely delinquent youths): Randomized controlled trials show sizable reductions in youths’ criminal activity and (for girls) teen pregnancy.
Near Top Tier Parent Management Training – the Oregon Model (PMTO; a parent training program for recently-separated, single mothers with boys aged 6-10): Randomized controlled trial shows sizable decrease in criminal behavior of the boys over nine years.
Amity Prison Therapeutic Community (Provides counseling/decision-making skills to inmates with drug problems, to prepare them for re-entry into the community): Randomized controlled trial shows reduction in reincarceration rate, and increase in average time to reincarceration.
Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement – HOPE (High-intensity supervision program for probationers at risk of a probation violation): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable reduction in likelihood of re-arrest.
Montreal Prevention Program (Delinquency prevention program for disruptive elementary school boys): Randomized controlled trial shows a sizable increase in high school graduation rates, and decrease in criminal behavior, in early adulthood.
Multisystemic Therapy for Juvenile Offenders (A treatment targeting multiple factors linked to anti-social juvenile behavior): Randomized controlled trials show sizable decrease in criminal behavior by juvenile offenders, but effectiveness may depend critically (i) on close adherence to the intervention’s key features and (ii) population/setting in which it is implemented.
Philadelphia Low-Intensity Community Supervision Program (For low-risk criminal offenders on probation or parole): Randomized controlled trial shows no increase in crime compared to the usual, more-intensive supervision. This suggests the program may be a viable way to reduce costs in the criminal justice system.