The accreditation process and the practice of behavioural programs for adult offenders in the Netherlands
About ten years ago an evidence based practice of behavioural programs for adult offenders started to develop in the Netherlands. Main motivations for this policy shift were the high detention rates and high levels of re-offending among previously detained and otherwise supervised offenders. This article describes the development, implementation, and practice of evidence based behavioural programs in the Netherlands including the role of the Dutch accreditation panel. We focus on three questions: 1) whether there is adequate treatment available for different types of criminogenic needs, 2) whether target populations are reached with the available treatment programs, and 3) whether the accreditation process is implemented as was intended. Whilst answering these questions, the article reflects on the challenges the evidence based behavioural programs encounter. In this way it hopes to contribute to the discussion about the ‘evidence based’ correctional policies in Belgium.
Main conclusions are that in general formal recidivism rates decreased since the policy changes became effective. However, the evidence based behavioural programs are a small part of a greater policy and there are no effect evaluations of the separate programs available yet. Therefore, we cannot yet be conclusive about the effects of these programs. However, we conclude in this article that the knowledge and experience assembled in the accreditation panel have a great value in the broader discussion about the reduction of re-offending.