Reinforcing the impacts of work release on prisoner recidivism: the importance of integrative interventions

David Weisburd, Badi Hasisi*, Efrat Shoham, Gali Aviv, Noam Haviv

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: We present findings from an evaluation of a large work release program in the Israeli Prison Service. The Israeli program uses an integrative therapeutic approach which combines work release with a series of other program elements. Our main question is whether this integration of multiple program elements leads to strong benefits in terms of reincarceration and re-arrests. Methods: The study uses a rich administrative database to develop a propensity score matching approach for creating matched treatment (n = 547) and control (n = 547) subjects. The prisoners in the groups are found to be similar on known characteristics after matching. MHbounds methods are used to assess the sensitivity of the results to bias. Results: Average standardized effect sizes in our study vary between.17 and.31. In general, rehabilitation outcomes observed are much larger than those reported for US evaluations of work release programs. Conclusions: Work release in Israel is not simply work release, but involves a positive social environment, a high dosage of counseling and therapy, and more general privileges for inmates including furloughs and cultural activities. We argue that our findings suggest the importance of a broader more integrative approach to work release programs to achieve enhanced success in reducing recidivism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)241-264
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Integrative treatment
  • Recidivism
  • Work release


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