Document Type

Working Paper

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Objective: Legitimacy-based approaches to crime prevention operate under the assumption that individuals — including violent offenders — are more likely to comply with the law when they believe that the law and its agents are legitimate and act in ways that seem inherently “fair” and “just.” While mounting evidence finds an association between such legitimacy-based programs and reductions in aggregate levels of crime and violence, no study has investigated whether such programs influence individual offending. This study evaluates the effectiveness of one such program — Project Safe Neighborhoods’ (PSN) Offender Notification Meetings — at reducing individual recidivism among a population of returning prisoners in Chicago. Methods: This study uses a quasi-experimental design and two types of survival analyses (Cox hazard models and competing risk models) to evaluate the effects of PSN on the subsequent recidivism of program participants relative to the control group. Results: Cox hazard models and competing risk models suggest that involvement in PSN significantly reduces the risk of subsequent incarceration. In fact, participation in PSN Offender Notification Forums is associated with a significant lengthening of the time that offenders remain on the street and out of prison. Conclusion: This study provides some of the first individual-level evidence of the efficacy of such programs on patterns of individual offending. Results suggest that interventions such as these do indeed reduce rates of recidivism in the treatment group.


Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Law | Law and Society