Thanks Veb - it’s my field ( ), plus, I’d specifically looked up that info a while ago when Wildest Bill was on the subject of sex ed in school and was speculating that a ‘scared straight’ approach on sex ed would be effective.
Little Nemo has the scenario pretty well down.
From my perspective (working in the field of criminal rehabilitation), theres a lot of cyclical issues - not the least of which are political elections. In my state, for example, the Governor appoints the head of the Department of Corrections, and that appointment alone can set the tone of the department. Add to the mix, the general legislators who have long realized that the best way to get voted out of office is to appear to be “soft on crime”.
Then, of course, the winds of time shifts, new administrations get voted in, new directors are in place and the tone again changes.
The net result is that many programs aren’t in place long enough to do studies on how well they work. It’s difficult enough to study human behavior outside of laboratory conditions, so when you have massive policy shifts every few years, it makes any realistic assesment of how well things are going pretty difficult.
For example - I’ve watched my state’s policies shift over the past 23 years. In the mid 70’s, nearly all prison releases were done with an intermediate step of a correction center. Those with a drug history had to go to a treatment center. “walk aways” were rounded up only when convenient. By the early 80’s, the treatment centers weren’t used nearly as much, and there was a ‘quota’ on that folks at the correction center would not be sent back until and unless they committed a new felony.
By the 90’s, they were back to the idea of treating substance abuse, but specifically, if some one had ‘dirty drops’ they were returned to prison, walk aways were prosecuted if they were gone for 48 hours, then 24 hours, then 4 hours, then 2 hours.
Presently, any amount late returning to the home (and most are NOT in correction centers, but on electronic monitoring) will result in a new prosecution, and dirty drops are referred for in patient treatment.
So, just in these few examples, we’ve seen dramatic shifts back and forth over a fairly short period of time, without sufficient time to ascertain if any of these approaches actually works.
Don’t even get me started on the boot camps…