Experimental Assessment of the Effect of Vocational Training on Youthful Property Offenders

Pamela K. Lattimore, Ann Dryden Witte, Joanna R. Baker

NBER Working Paper No. 2952 (Also Reprint No. r1461)
Issued in May 1989
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

In this paper we report results that suggest that carefully integrated and implemented vocational training and re-entry programs for youthful property offenders can reduce the rate at which such individuals are arrested after release. This result is important since most evaluations of programs for such offenders show no significant effects. The question has been "Why have programs rarely been shown to have significant effects on the behavior of offenders?". Our results suggest that the major reasons may be that programs evaluated to date have been weak and implementation poor. Even with substantial backing from correctional management only 16 percent of the experimental group participated in all aspects of the vocational Delivery System (VDS). Members of the experimental group were most likely to participate in early aspects of the VDS (e.g., a three-week evaluation of vocational interests and aptitudes) than in later elements (e.g., work with the Employment Security Commission to find a job). Even with relatively weak implementation, the experimental group subjects were significantly less likely to be arrested that control group subjects.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2952

Published: Evaluation Review, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 115-133, (April 1990).

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