“Well-Meaning Programs Can Have Harmful Effects! Lessons from Experiments of Programs Such as Scared Straight” ranked 19th in a list of most-read Crime & Delinquency journal articles during November 2015. Most-read rankings are recalculated at the beginning of the month and are based on full-text and PDF views.

Using preliminary results from a systematic review of nine randomized experiments of the Scared Straight, or prison visitation program, WestEd’s Anthony Petrosino and his co-authors show that a popular and well-meaning program can have harmful effects. They use these results to argue for more rigorous evaluations to test criminal justice interventions.

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Peerreviewed and published bi-monthly, Crime & Delinquency is a policy-oriented journal offering a wide range of research and analysis for the scholar and professional in criminology and criminal justice. The journal focuses on issues and concerns that impact the criminal justice system, including the social, political and economic contexts of criminal justice, as well as the victims, criminals, courts and sanctions.

Petrosino directs the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center. He has nearly 30 years of experience collaborating on research and evaluation studies, particularly in areas such as violence prevention, school safety, juvenile and criminal justice systems, and public health.