Early Intervention Programs: Too Little Too Late

Martha L. Henderson, Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale

Early intervention as a crime prevention mechanism has received widespread support from the public. Americans seem more than willing to provide money for programs designed to keep youth off of the street and away from a life of crime. The assumption has been that if we can target problems early on, then children will not grow up to be offenders. We have not, however, asked adult offenders if they support early intervention as a significant weapon in the fight against crime. This research project explores the perceptions of over 430 inmates in a Midwestern prison on whether early intervention programs decrease criminal involvement. The study also examines the characteristics of inmates who do not believe that early intervention programs reduce future offending.

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Updated 05/20/2006