Exam 2 – Principles of Effective Intervention/ pre-pregnancy and prenatal intervention. (CCJ 5546 – Prevention and Treatment of Crime and Delinquency).


Exam 2 – Principles of Effective Intervention/ pre-pregnancy and prenatal intervention. (CCJ 5546 – Prevention and Treatment of Crime and Delinquency).

1. Describe the principles of effective intervention. Discuss the empirical evidence bearing on
each of the principles. (Hint: the meta-analyses will be particularly helpful.)

2. Discuss the effectiveness of pre-pregnancy and prenatal intervention programs. Are all
programs equally effective? Discuss in detail the pre-pregnancy and prenatal intervention
programs that are the most effective?

Principles of Effective Intervention

            Throughout the history of Americans, there have been efforts made in correctional facilities to reform offenders. Liberals have often found the rehabilitative efforts to be coercive to the offenders while the conservatives found the rehabilitation efforts to be lenient towards the offenders (Cullen, and Gendreau, 2000).  Few of the rehabilitative efforts have proven to reduce recidivism amongst the offenders.  The need for effective intervention has emerged in a bid to ensure that the rehabilitation program works. Cullen, and Gendreau (2000) describes the effective intervention to be evidence based through an application of principles that work in reduction of recidivism while improving on the overall safety of the public.

             In finding out what kind of research work’s the best for specific offenders, Meta-analysis method is applied (Cullen and Gendreau,2000). Meta-analysis deals with the effect size outlining the treatment method and the outcome (reduction of recidivism) (Cullen and Gendreau, 2000). The three main principles in intervention are; the need principle, the risk principle and responsivity principle (Andrews et al, 1990). Andrews et al (1990), states that the higher risk cases are allocated the highest levels of services. IN a contrast, the lower risk cases are allocated the lower levels of services. Ideally, without the violation of the need and the responsivity principles, the risk principle is effective in intervention where the cases involved are the high risk cases.  Thus, in the meta-analysis technique, the risk principle is only effective to a segment of the population. The attachment to the need and responsivity principles for effectiveness lowers the impact it has in reduction of recidivism.

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              The need principle emanates from the variance in the risk factors that contributes to the overall change in the criminal work (Andrews et al, 1990).  The application of the need principle in effective intervention work emanates from the selection of the appropriate target. Andrew et al, (1990) outlines some of the selection target as varying feelings, antisocial attitudes, and peer associations. The targets also aim at promoting the identification with anti-criminal role models, reduction of the chemical dependencies and shifting the density of the rewards and costs of non-criminal behavior in various setting such as vocational setting, familial, academic and behavioral setting. Andrew et al (1990) finds the reward of non-criminal activities as effective in reduction of crime while ineffective in the manner that it increases the overall spending on the intervention practices. Selection targets on the need principle for effective rehabilitation may be on less promising targets such as the increase in social esteem without touching on the social propensity.  The focus on vague emotional targets does in no way reduce recidivism.

             Responsivity principle is based on the type of service that the offenders undertake in the determination of the effectiveness in the rehabilitation of the offenders.  Andrews et al,(1990), states that the type of service should aim at specific targets within the offenders as well as matching to the learning style of the offenders.  In order for the responsivity principle in intervention affairs to be effective the service should draw from the behavioral, interpersonal, cognitive, social learning principles, and skill enhancement (Andrews et al, 1990).  Ineffective service is evidenced in the use of some type of services such as the programming of offenders as it may result in criminogenic amongst the group members. 

Effectiveness of pre-pregnancy and pre-natal intervention programs

            Childhood experiences are predictors of one’s behavior in later life (Tremblay and Japel, 2003) The prevention programs in pre-pregnancy and pre-natal are effective in the management of the overall childhood behavior.  Olds (2007) states that in accordance to the human ecological theory, the children development is influenced in the manner that their parents care for them. Additionally, they are influenced by the social –economic factors such as the neighborhood setting, social networks and the interactions amongst them (Olds, 2007).  The nurse-family intervention program helps in shaping the children behavior in crime reduction.  The program helps women in knowledge of how their behaviors on matters of health influence both the health and the development of their babies (Olds, 2007). On prenatal health, the women are informed of the outcome of continual reliance on the substances such as tobacco and alcohol as they pose the risk of bearing children who shall be irritable and inconsolable(Olds, 2007).  Adequately spaced children are at a lower risk of a host of social problems. Thus women are advised on the selectivity in the choice of the kind of women they allow in their lives. The two aforementioned factors are predictors of future irritability in children leading to risky social behaviors such as risky social behavior. The program is effective in shaping the character traits of children from the onset.

             The dietary intake of the mothers during pregnancy has an impact in the neurodevelopmental component in children. Hibbeln et al (2007) in a research study found out that the seafood is an optimum source of Omega3 Fatty acids that are essential for optimum neural development. However, lifestyles determine the availability of the seafood as the low income households have got lower amounts of seafood as compared to middle income and higher income earners with access to seafood (Hibbeln et al, 2007).  The research study indicated that an increase in the intake of seafood  in the mother lead to the increased intake of the consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids leading to the lower risk of the suboptimum  verbal IQ. Mothers who failed in having the optimal amount of Omega 3 Fatty acids usually risk having retardation of intrauterine growth, delayed depth perception, residual delays in fine motor skills, lack of adequate speed in processing information in infants as well as the irreversible impacts in the releasing of dopamine and serotonin(Hibbeln et al, 2007). The intervention program is not fully effective as there are some components of sea food , methyl mercury that is harmful to the body.

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             Evidence-based research indicates that the most disruptive toddlers are at risk of becoming deviant adolescents and ultimately deviant adults (Tremblay and Japel, 2003). The peak frequency of violent behavior in adulthood is normally observed from the 24th month of a child’s life. As such the prevention methods during pregnancy, infancy, and preschool years are essential in shaping the child’s later outcomes in life.  Tremblay and Japel, (2003) indicate that human beings learn to control their aggression at the peak of the behavior. Individuals who fail to adequately control their aggression aspects enter into a vicious cycle of negative emotions.  Developmental prevention is effective in the reduction of the risk factors that can propel an increase of deviant behavior while looking into increasing the preventive factors (Tremblay and Japel, 2003.)

             The prevention strategy that is enacted during the pregnancy helps the child in the prevention of deviant behavior (Tremblay and Japel, 2003). However, from the perspective of the parents, the interventions are late to have any fruitful impact. The intervention is not fully effective as it may not have a long-lasting impact. There as specific interventions for the child’s cognitive development. The first intervention is twofold as it outlines the training of the parents on child care as well as the provision of daycare environments to offer a substitute to a child’s home environment for proper cognitive development (Tremblay and Japel, 2003).  The interventions, through empirical research, prove helpful to families when they are applied to high-risk families from the period of the birth of the child. The continuous support for families at risk helps in the prevention of disruptive behavior mostly seen in toddlers and preschoolers (Tremblay and Japel, 2003).   

The main focus on the intervention programs is helping reduce the delinquent behaviors in later adulthood. As such, Tremblay and Japel(2003) found out that the most effective programs in crime prevention in the early school years includes the parents training. Previous programs that ran for about five years proved ineffective as there was little parental support. Tremblay and Japel (2003) indicates that the executive functions lead to an increase in the number of pupils having a decrease in the anti-social behavior as well as IQ development that is important in the success in school.  The executive functions are a repetitive set of daily routine for the child to plan, and do their work as well as reviewing it.


Andrews, D. A., Zinger, I., Hoge, R. D., Bonta, J., Gendreau, P., and Cullen, F. T.(1990). “Does

correctional treatment work?A clinically relevant and psychologically informed meta-analysis”.

Criminology, 28, 369-404.

Cullen, F. T. and Gendreau, P.(2000). “Assessing correctional rehabilitation: Policy, practice, and

prospects.” In J. Horney (ed.), Criminal Justice 2000: Volume 3—Policies, Processes, and

Decisions of the Criminal Justice System, pp. 109-175. Washington, DC: U.S. Department ofJustice, National Institute of Justice.

Hibbeln, J. R., Davis, J. M., Steer, C., Emmett, P., Rogers, I., Williams, C., and Golding, J.

(2007). “Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in

childhood (ALSPAC study): An observational cohort study”. The Lancet, 369, 578-585.

Olds, D. L (2007). “Preventing crime with prenatal and infancy support of parents: The nurse-

family partnership.”  Victims and Offenders, 2, 205-225.

Tremblay, R. E. and Japel, C.(2003).” Prevention during pregnancy, infancy, and the preschool

years.” In D. P. Farrington and J. W. Coid (eds.), Early Prevention of Adult Antisocial Behavior,

pp. 205-242. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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