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Search Result: 47 Records found
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The effects of problem-oriented policing on crime and disorder
  • Authors David Weisburd, John E. Eck, Joshua C. Hinkle, Cody Telep
  • Published date 2008-03-10
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review
  • English

    Problem-oriented policing has a modest impact on crime and disorder

    Problem-oriented policing is one of the most widely implemented police strategies. There is some evidence that problem-oriented policing is associated with a reduction in crime and disorder. Findings are hampered by a lack of rigorous studies, so further research is required.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review assesses the effects of problem-oriented policing on crime and disorder based on the existing research. The review summarises findings from 10 studies from eight American cities and six residential areas in the UK. The participants were probationers, parolees and residents of the eight American cities and six residential areas in the UK.

    What did the review study?

    Effective policing is needed to address the issue of crime and disorder.

    Problem-oriented policing (POP) focuses police work on ‘problems’ as opposed to calls or crime incidents and it requires police to proactively develop response to crime and disorder problems based on a careful analysis of contributing factors. The approach has had a tremendous impact on American policing and is now widely implemented in the US and other countries. The classic implementation of POP follows the ‘SARA’ model of problem-solving (Scanning, Analysis, Response, Assessment).

    This review assesses the effects of problem-oriented policing on crime and disorder based on the existing evaluation literature.

    What studies are included?

    Studies were randomized and quasi-randomized experiments that included a comparison group. The included studies reported on at least one crime or disorder outcome. The unit of analysis was people or places.

    The studies were conducted in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Eight of the studies were place-based while the remaining two focused on individual offenders.

    The participants of the two person-based interventions were probationers and parolees in Knoxville and San Diego, while the rest of the participants were residents of six other American cities and residents of six neighborhoods in the United Kingdom. A total of 10 studies were included in the review.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Problem-oriented policing has a statistically significant impact on reducing crime and disorder, but the effect size was small, and there was a lack of diversity and responses in the included studies. The results were similar for both the randomized and quasi-randomized studies.

    The evidence base is small and there are shortcomings in the quality of the evidence.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Generally, problem-oriented policing seems to work. However, many of the studies included in the review had methodological shortcomings. Given the lack of rigorous evidence, this conclusion should be read with caution.

    There was a larger effect size for studies that focused on certain crimes e.g. disorder, as opposed to total crime. Thus further research should ensure that a more focused approach is taken.

    The current evidence does show that problem-oriented policing is promising, as shown from a combination of the findings along with its consistency across studies. However, there is a need to conduct more high quality research, especially with regards to studies focused on total crime.

    The review on which this summary is based was completed in 2008 and it may be that new studies add additional insights. A new review is in process.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published until 2006. This Campbell Systematic Review was published in October 2008.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

  • Records available in English, Spanish
Serious (violent and chronic) juvenile offenders: treatment effectiveness in secure corrections
  • Authors Vicente Garrido, Luz Anyela Morales Quintro
  • Published date 2007-09-20
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
  • English

    It is worth treating serious juvenile offenders

    Treating serious juvenile offenders in secure corrections pays off. A new Campbell systematic review shows that treatment programs with cognitive elements in particular reduce general recidivism (relapse into crime) and especially recidivism into serious crime.

    The hard core

    There are only a small number of serious juvenile offenders, but these people commit a disproportionately large percentage of juvenile crime. Studies from the US and the UK show that about 15 per cent of juvenile offenders are responsible for almost 80 per cent of total juvenile crime. Characteristic of serious juvenile offenders is that they commit violent offenses or that they have received three or more convictions. There will often be an overlap; the majority of violent offenders have previous convictions, while almost half those with several convictions have at some time committed violent offenses. There is a high probability that juvenile men in particular will return to prison if they have multiple convictions. In addition to violent crime, this group is also typically involved in property crimes, public disorder and drug sales.

    The frequency and seriousness of their offending makes these juveniles a significant challenge for criminal justice agencies. Society will reap enormous benefits if just a small proportion of these delinquents can be brought back on the right track. A new systematic review from the international Campbell Collaboration has studied the effect of a number of treatment programs, all of which aim at reducing recidivism after incarceration. The treatment programs aim at serious juvenile offenders between 12 and 21 years old in various forms of secure correction.

    Treatment reduces recidivism

    The conclusion of the systematic review is that, overall, the programs studied work with regard to limiting relapses into crime. Looking at the effect of programs on all types of crime, there is a 6 per cent lower probability that juveniles who have taken part in a program relapse into crime, compared with those who have not taken part in the relevant treatment program. As an illustration, if 60 out of 100 of these juveniles would ordinarily relapse into crime after release from correction, treatment will reduce this to 56 out of 100.

    Looking exclusively at serious offenses, for example violence or other serious crime, which results in the offenders ending behind bars again, juveniles who have received treatment have a 9 per cent lower probability of recidivism. For example, if 40 out of 100 of these juveniles would ordinarily relapse into serious crime, treatment means that only 36 out of 100 will relapse. Although this is only a small effect, it can be very significant as serious crime involves considerable human and societal costs.

    Cognitive therapy works best

    The positive effects are most apparent for cognitive or cognitive-behavioral programs. In cognitive treatments, participants must learn to recognize, control and ”reframe” automatic and distorted thought patterns. Similarly cognitive-behavioral programs involve training in, for example, social skills, anger control, critical reasoning and creative thinking. In contrast, the effect of programs which focus exclusively on education and academic skills is more doubtful. The same applies for behavioral programs in which delinquent behavior is perceived as learned behavior which can be ”reversed” using learning mechanisms and replaced with socially acceptable behavior.

    Programs focusing solely on group therapy or individual therapy, or those which only involve developing positive role models based on contemporaries seem to be less effective than programs with varied focus.

    30 studies with more than 6,600 serious juvenile offenders

    The systematic review includes a total of 30 studies with 6,658 juvenile offenders. 22 studies are from the US, four are from the UK and four more are from Canada. The studies were carried out from 1970 to 2003. Common for all of the studies is that at least half of the juvenile offenders are characterized as serious offenders, as they have committed offenses of a particularly violent nature, and/or they have three or more convictions. Participants were between 12 and 21, with an average age of 16.

    The treatment programs studied include psychological approaches, social and educational methods and environmental conditions all aimed at supporting prosocial behaviors. They all took place while the participants were incarcerated in different types of secure correction. Common for all the correctional facilities was that they held the juveniles accountable for their delinquent acts. Moreover they were characterized by physical restraint measures such as locked doors, fences and similar. Community programs, where offenders were in daily contact with the surrounding community, such as group homes, foster care or periodical detention were not included. Programs with several phases in which part of the treatment took place outside the institution were only included if more than half of the treatment took place in the institution.

    As there are only few studies with female participants, the results of the systematic review primarily apply for young men. Recidivism to delinquency was calculated using reports from the police and probation services. Follow-up periods varied from 6 months to 10 years with an average of slightly more than 31 months.

    Studies focusing on minor offenses such as shoplifting, traffic offenses and first-time offenses were excluded. Studies focusing primarily on sexual offenders were also excluded from the systematic review.

Effects of cognitive-behavioral programs for criminal offenders
  • Authors Mark Lipsey, Nana A. Landenberger, Sandra Jo Wilson
  • Published date 2007-08-13
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
  • English

    Well-implemented cognitive-behavioural therapy halves the recidivism of criminal offenders

    Cognitive-behavioural therapy can prevent criminal offenders from continuing their criminal careers. However, some treatment programmes work better than others. A new Campbell review shows that a small number of factors make the difference. It is particularly important for the programmes to be stringently implemented, by well-trained providers. No significant differences were found in the effectiveness of the different types of programmes or “brand names”. Whether the treatment is implemented in prison or in the community has no influence on the outcome.

    Effective treatment – but why?

    Much research on the subject shows that cognitive-behavioural therapy effectively reduces the recidivism of offenders after serving their sentences. There is, however, a significant difference in how effective the different treatment programmes that use this form of therapy are, but further research is required to identify what sets them apart from each other. This is the question to which this Campbell review seeks an answer in its comparison of the studies of 58 different cognitive-behavioural therapy treatment programmes. The aim is to identify the factors that make some programmes more effective than others. The finding is that well-trained providers, a well-implemented course of treatment and focus on training in anger and conflict management increase the effect of the therapy.

    Cognitive-behavioural therapy is directly aimed at the thinking patterns of the individual that support criminal behaviour, e.g. the tendency towards self-justification, inability to interpret social situations and problems accepting accountability for one’s own actions. The basic idea is that thinking patterns can be changed using various techniques that, through training and increased self-awareness, build the cognitive skills of the offender. There are, however, several versions of cognitive-behavioural therapy that attach varying importance to techniques and constituent elements, and there are different “brand names” that provide programmes.

    Practice is decisive – the ”brand name” is not

    The review confirms above all that cognitive-behavioural therapy is particularly effective. Of the offenders in the studies not receiving therapy, four out of ten return to criminal activity. Therapy treatment reduces the mean recidivism rate to three out of ten. But the most effective treatment reduces recidivism to two out of ten.

    It would appear that the differences in the courses of treatment that are of significance to effectiveness are few.

    According to the authors of the review, the most decisive factor is the quality, i.e. how well-implemented the programmes are, and how well-trained the providers are. This means that the most effective treatment programmes are those with a low dropout rate, where the programme is implemented according to guidelines, and where the providers have received appropriate training in cognitive-behavioural therapy.

    On the other hand, there is nothing to suggest that a particular type or “brand” of cognitive behavioural therapy used is decisive, as long as the quality is there. Apparently, it is the general therapeutic approach that has a positive effect on recidivism, and not special versions of it.

    Treatment settings have no bearing on the effects

    The place where the treatment takes place has no measurable influence on the outcome of the treatment. It would seem that it is immaterial whether the offender is treated in prison or in the community (e.g. while on parole, on probation or in transitional aftercare). It is thus worth noting that the possibility of trying out skills learnt by the individual during therapy in domestic as opposed to institutional settings does not appear to increase the effect.

    The researchers also point out that there is no difference in treatment effect for juvenile offenders in institutions and adult offenders in the prison system.

    Important elements in the treatment

    When a comparison is made of the different courses of treatment, the presence of two treatment elements is shown to increase the effect: training in anger management and training in interpersonal problem solving. There are, however, two treatment elements that have the opposite intention and reduce the effect, i.e. behaviour modification and the inclusion of victim impact.

    The results also show that cognitive-behavioural therapy has a greater effect on offenders with a high risk of recidivism, than those with lower risk.

    The review concludes overall that there are three decisive factors that influence the effect of cognitive therapeutic treatment programmes for offenders. Namely: How well the treatment is implemented, the absence or presence of certain treatment elements, and the risk of recidivism of the offenders participating.

    Facts about the review

    This review includes 58 studies of treatment programmes. All are based on randomised controlled trials or other trials that compare groups which have participated in the treatment with a control group. The majority of the studies measure the effect of cognitive-behavioural therapy on recidivism a year after the treatment. The studies are from the US, Canada, UK and New Zealand and were published between 1980 and 2004.

    The treatment programmes studied all consisted of structured therapy sessions, most lasting less than 20 weeks. Approximately half of the programmes were implemented at the institution where the offender was serving his/her sentence, the other half in the community in connection with probation, parole or transitional aftercare. The providers in charge of the treatment had mixed backgrounds, but some had little or no professional experience within psychology and had received relatively little training in cognitive-behavioural therapy.

    Recommendations for future research

    The authors of this review emphasise that almost half of the studies included are based on treatment on a trial basis. Further studies are therefore required before it can be confirmed whether the effect remains as positive once the treatment has become routine practice. The authors do not, however, believe there to be any reason to doubt the results of the review.

Street-level drug law enforcement
  • Authors Lorraine Mazerolle, Sacha Rombouts, David W. Soole
  • Published date 2007-05-26
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review User abstract
  • See the full review
  • English

    The fight against drug-related crime requires more than ordinary police work

    The fight against street-level drug crime cannot be won by spending more resources on traditional, reactive style police work. Rather, partnerships between the police and other “third parties” should be applied, such that police work cooperatively with third parties to analyse underlying problems, target hotspots and establish cooperative partnerships with e.g. housing associations, local businesses, and government regulators. This is the conclusion of a Campbell systematic review based on a comprehensive search of the evaluation literature in the field.

    Drugs mean more crime

    Street-level drug trading creates neighbourhoods plagued with drug addicts and drug dealers. Furthermore, other crime problems, such as fights, theft, burglary and vandalism, often coincide with cocaine, speed and heroin street-level drug markets. These crime problems exacerbate the feeling of insecurity among the residents in areas where drugs are traded.

    Curbing drug-related crime has traditionally been a police responsibility. Until the late 1980s, in countries like the USA, Australia and England, policing efforts consisted mostly of traditional, reactive policing, largely characterized by police responding to calls for service; an approach which does not reduce crime problems. Policing strategies in the fight against drug-related crime have since undergone dramatic change, amongst other things resulting in more targeted efforts and cooperation with different groups.

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of the range of different drug law enforcement strategies.

    Community-wide partnerships yield the best results

    The researchers conclude that the most effective strategy to reducing drug-related crime involves community-wide partnerships between police and third parties, combining three critical elements: 1) a local analysis of what is needed to change underlying causes, 2) efforts that target the underlying conditions of drug dealing places, and 3) cooperation with local third parties such as local businesses, government authorities and housing associations.

    Police-third party partnerships that combine these three elements are more effective than traditional police work.

    The benefits of police partnerships

    The most promising approach to combat drug-related crime involves the police establishing cooperative partnerships with different actors who otherwise might have very little association with the police. These could be local residents, local authorities, local businesses, enterprises or housing associations.

    The partnerships might be used to target the general conditions across neighbourhoods with drug crime problems. Alternatively, the partnerships might be more geographically-focused in micro places with a lot of crime, the so-called hotspots, or at specific individuals who, for example, have repeatedly been on the periphery of criminal activity or who have repeatedly been the victims of crime.

    About the systematic review

    The systematic review compares the results of 14 studies of police intervention aimed at drug-related crime. All of the studies were carried out in the USA, the majority in the early or mid-1990s. All the studies measure the effect by comparing an intervention group with a control group.

    The researchers emphasise that measurements of the effect of policing efforts may be ambiguous. Do more or fewer arrests indicate a positive effect? For example, more offences reported might be a sign of greater public trust in the police and at the same time have nothing to do with the trend in actual number of offences. However, the researchers have endeavoured to take account of such issues in their analyses.

    The researchers have not made an assessment of the costs associated with different efforts. However, they emphasise that decision makers should consider carefully which efforts are most cost-effective, as the sums spent on combating drugs and drug-related crime are enormous.

Non-custodial employment programs: impact on recidivism rates of ex-offenders
  • Authors Christy Visher, Laura Winterfield, Mark B. Coggeshall
  • Published date 2006-07-03
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review
The effectiveness of counter-terrorism strategies
  • Authors Cynthia Lum, Leslie W. Kennedy, Alison J. Sherley
  • Published date 2006-01-16
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review
Effects of correctional boot camps on offending
  • Authors David Wilson, Doris MacKenzie, Fawn Ngo Mitchell
  • Published date 2005-07-10
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review
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