Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Penn State University
- Drug and alcohol treatment programs reduce the likelihood of recidivism for offenders addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- Treatment completion is a key component to reducing recidivism rates, with treatment lasting up to 16 months being the most effective.
- Social and economic characteristics such as full-time employment and being married are important variables in offender rehabilitation success rates.
In the final report for the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, “Evaluation of RIP D&A Treatment,” Kramer and his co-authors study the effectiveness of sentencing offenders to drug and alcohol treatment rather than sentencing the offender to a traditional sentence (probation, county jail, or state prison). First, they find that the longer the treatment up to 16 months, the more effective the treatment. Second, getting offenders to successfully complete treatment is a key ingredient to treatment success and reduction in recidivism rates. Kramer and co-authors conclude that better assessment, better treatment, and keeping offenders in treatment will improve substantially on the reduction in recidivism rates.