The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment’s Manuscript History

face of a prisoner

The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment: a Survey of Treatment Evaluation Studies, under the authorship of Douglas S. Lipton, Robert Martinson, and Judith Wilks, was published in 1975. Lipton, the leader of the work, was the Director of Research for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice. The New York State Governor’s Committee on Criminal Offenders had asked Liption in 1967 to determine the most effective means of rehabilitating criminal offenders. Lipton hired Martinson, who was finishing a Ph.D. in Sociology, and Wilks, a young researcher from Indiana.^ Martinson and Wilks subsequently continued to work together as Director and Associate Director of the Center for Knowledge in Criminal Justice Planning, New York City.

The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment contains 736 pages. It includes no substantive general conclusions or over-all policy recommendations. The main text of the volume concludes with a two-page section entitled “Inadequacies of Correctional Treatment and Research.” That section is included in Chapter 16, “Community Adjustment.”

That volume is an edited version of a manuscript completed five years earlier. Hallinan (2001) reported:

By 1970, they had finished their work: a mammoth, 1,484-page tome that would eventually be titled The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment. But the state, for a variety of reasons, refused to publish their work.

In a 1974 article in a public affairs journal, Martinson provided some manuscript history:

By the spring of 1972 – fully a year after I had re-edited the study for final publication – the state had not only failed to publish it, but had also refused to give me permission to publish it on my own. The document would still not be available to me or to the public today had not Joseph Alan Kaplon, an attorney, subpoenaed it from the state for use as evidence in a case before the Bronx Supreme Court.

During the time of my efforts to get the study released, reports of it began to be widely circulated, and it acquired something of an underground reputation. But this article is the first published account, albeit a brief one, of the findings contained in that 1,400 page manuscript.^

Martinson (1972) indicated that the volume had 800 pages. The differences in the reported page counts — about 1,400 and about 800 — and the existing form of The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment suggest that a much longer manuscript was abbreviated and edited to form the publication.

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