There is more to the international transfer of prevention programs than just hitting the “copy and paste” buttons. The introduction of the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program to Ireland offers insights into how to succeed.
Scared Straight takes children thought to be at risk of delinquency to prisons to observe life there first-hand and to meet adult inmates. This is meant to deter young people from following a similar path. However, a systematic review by the Campbell and Cochrane Collaborations showed that not only does it fail to deter crime, but actually leads to more offending.
The concept was based on a Academy Award-winning documentary released in 1978 which took young people around Rahway State Prison, New Jersey.
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Few people working with children will have heard the term “prevention scientist,” let alone know what one is or does. Yet this relatively new breed of researcher is behind the growing list of evidence-based programs being promoted in western developed countries. A new publication puts them under the microscope.
Crime and antisocial behavior prevention efforts have flourished over the last 10 years in the US. This progress can and should be used to help communities improve the life chances of their young people, a recent update urges.
Given the well-known barriers to implementing evidence-based programs, is it better to identify their discrete elements and trust practitioners to combine them in tailored packages depending on the needs of the child and family in question?