20 Year Prison Study—Treatment Works: Crime Statistics

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Crime in America.Net staff. Updated in 2016

The research provides the results of a correctional program over the course of 20 years. We are unaware of any criminological research beyond twin studies (research on the behavioral aspects of twins) lasting as long.

The research involves “Cognitive Behavioral Treatment” or an attempt to rearrange the thinking patters of criminal offenders in prison or upon release and yes, there really are a lot of people caught up in the criminal justice system who need to be taught basic decision-making stills.


  • Without treatment, 94 percent of offenders were rearrested
  • With treatment, 81 percent of offenders were rearrested.
  • Without treatment, 82 percent returned to prison
  • With treatment, 61 percent returned to prison.

Our View:

If employed nationally, then Cognitive Behavioral Treatment “could” result in a 21 percent difference in the incarceration rate, which (if you could apply the results each year) means that 147,000 released offenders would not go back to prison (based on a national average of 700,000 offenders released from prison every year).

If employed nationally, that means that 2,940,000 offenders would not have returned to prison over the course of 20 years.

Statistically speaking, it’s crude (ok-inaccurate) to look at things this way, but the bottom-line is that it’s a 20-year study based on large samples with a control group (nope, it wasn’t random assignment).

The study tells us three things:

We could save hundreds of thousands of crimes if we employed Cognitive Behavioral Treatment nationwide:

We could save hundreds of millions of dollars in reduced prison costs if we employed Cognitive Behavioral Treatment nationwide:

We continue to be astounded by the high arrest and incarceration rates of those who inhabit prisons.

Crime in America.Net staff.

Note: The original link no longer works. See https://www.ccimrt.com/cci-press-releases/february-23-2010-%E2%80%93-new-20-year-study-%E2%80%93-mrt-cognitive-behavioral-reduces-re-arrests-re-incarceration

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  1. Thanks for that! “20 Year Prison Study—Treatment Works: Crime Statistics — Crime in America.Net” That’s good to know. I didn’t think about it this way… That sounds like a good idea!

  2. It not the fact that you cannot take the hood out of a person , it is the fact that they most often return to the “hood” and then must boster that mentality and posture to survive. Even if a person is taken from the hood an put in a completely differnet environment , the fact that they are use to a certain life style and actions of community almost gives them PTSD and they are then plagued with being overtly aggresive, easily agitatated, suspicious and even rude.

    twitter speak2ive, facebook fan page speak2live(speak2live.blogspot.com)

    • Hi. Thanks for the comments. Yes, it’s difficult for many to leave their upbringing (or lack of an upbringing) behind which explains the very high recidivism rates. But many do leave the ‘lifestyle” and live law-abiding lives, but that process can begin after a considerable amount of self and societal damage. The older one gets, the less crime one commits.
      CIA staff.

      • Tammy Thompson says:

        Thanks for this study my brother wasn’t brought up like that but things that happened in his child him he couldn’t deal with led him to drug use which led him to numerous crimes I’m fighting right now to get him in teen challenge because I know that prison isn’t the answer the answer is getting to what started the drug behavior anyone can change Gods in control of all things that society problem now they are to judgmental I believe there’s good in everybody we don’t know what people went through that drove them to that point

  3. I think that one thing that they dont think about when doing these studies is that the environment into which people return after prison time plays a big role on their success rate of staying out of prison.

    I mean you can’t take the hood out of someone even if you take them out of the hood!

    Living life in area’s like this is to say the least difficult and if that is what you have grown up with and what you know then that is what you will more than likely return to. I know that if they get out and there are people turning them down right and left after doing background checks to get that job, and they are unable to find housing either, then the rate of criminals back in prison for another time is more than likely.

    I have spoke with many of them that say well what am I supposed to do if no one will give me a chance. I cant find work and I cant find housing. No one wants the criminal element back in their communities so the place they return to is the place they got into most of their trouble to begin with.

    This is not just an oppinion it is an observation having come from a place like that.

    • Hi: Thanks for writing.
      Regardless as to how people feel about criminal offenders, it’s in our best interest to provide the services they need to assist them from going back to prison. It’s simply a matter of being practical; services (i.e. drug treatment, mental health treatment, employment assistance) do work and reduce recidivism (arrests, more prison) by approximately 20 percent.
      It’s a terribly complex issue and it often runs against public opinion, but the more assistance we provide, the less crime we have and the fewer prisons we have to build and the less taxpayers have to pay.
      We appreciate your opinions.
      Crime in America.Net staff.


  1. […] Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/03/18/20-year-prison-study%e2%80%94treatment-works-crime-statistics/ […]

  2. […] probably argue its due to a lack of rehabilitation and proper re-introduction into society. I found this website which states that had prisoners undergone behavioral treatment whereupon they were taught simple […]

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