Size Matters--The Impact of Correctional Services on a Statewide Scale: An Evaluation of the California Preventing Parolee Crime Program

Sheldon Zhang, San Diego State University
Robert Roberts, California State University - San Marcos
Valerie J. Callanan, California State University - San Marcos

The California Department of Corrections received funding from the Legislature to expand its previous selected correctional service programs to encompass the vast geographical areas of the state. Tens of millions of dollars poured into various statewide programs and tens of thousands of parolees were enrolled. Statistical analyses at both the aggregate and individual level strongly indicate that these services reduced re-incarcerations among its participants, mostly among those who completed the treatment services, which resulted in major cost savings. Incremental success was also evident with different levels of participation in the treatment programs. Although the statistical analyses achieved significant control over differences between the program participants and the comparison group, the apparent effectiveness of the program may be due to selection effects and other sources of bias. This evaluation supports the argument for providing services to parolees to reduce their likelihood of recidivating. It also points to the need to design and implement correctional programs that will allow rigorous evaluations to increase confidence in the findings.

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Updated 05/20/2006