Prisoner Rehabilitation Programs

Methods Review – Concept Critique Writing Assignment

Robert Magnus Martinson was an American sociologist whose 1974 study “What Works?” concerning the shortcomings of existing prisoner rehabilitation programs, was highly influential. It later became known as creating what became known as the “nothing works” doctrine.

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While Martinson was a sociologist, his “What Works?” publication gained national attention and arguably impacted the perspective of many key legislators, important legal minds, and millions of Americans.


For this assignment you must revisit the infamous “What Works?” publication and provide your critique of the famous study.


First, please read the infamous article linked in the assignment folder. The article is long – slightly under 30 pages (when you exclude the reference pages), so please set aside some time when completing this task. Then, come back and answer the following questions:


Describe Martinson’s sample. Where did he get the data used in his study from?
Summarize what Martinson believed about prison rehabilitation as indicated by the conclusion he reached in “What Works?”
Is Martinson’s study methodically sound? Why or why not? In answering this question apply the concepts that you have learned in this class. Consider concepts like sampling, secondary data, and how Martinson categorized certain types of “rehabilitation.”
Why do you think Martinson’s article gained so much support? Consider the historical context at the time of the article’s publication as well as the views of many leading politicians.


Students must answer all portions of each question in order to earn full credit. The above questions must be answered using full and complete sentences.


This assignment must be type written, in 12-point, Times New Roman font, and uploaded as Word document (.doc or .docx). All citations should be in APA format. It is highly recommended that students proofread their reflective journal prior to submission, as 5 points (20%) of each submission will be graded on correct usage of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.


This assignment is worth 25 points and is due on 01/11/21 11:59pm.



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