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This profile was last updated on 5/6/14  and contains information from public web pages.

Robert Martinson

Wrong Robert Martinson?

Employment History

  • Sociologist


  • Ph.D.
41 Total References
Web References
American sociologist Robert ..., 6 May 2014 [cached]
American sociologist Robert Martinson made waves 40 years ago with an influential essay that concluded: "With few and isolated exceptions, the rehabilitative efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism.
San Francisco State University, The Architecture of Incarceration, Class 1 - Michael Santos, 29 Aug 2013 [cached]
Robert Martinson, a sociologist, published an article called "Nothing Works" in the spring of 1974 that had an enormous influence on the growth of the prison industrial complex. Basically, the general takeaway from his article was that regardless of what resources governments poured into reforming prisoners, nothing was going to turn them into law-abiding citizens. (For more information on Martinson, see
San Francisco State University, The Architecture of Imprisonment, Class 3 - Michael Santos, 12 Sept 2013 [cached]
I spoke a bit more about Robert Martinson, whose work in the early 1970s had an enormous influence in shifting policy for our nation's criminal justice system. Martinson was a social scientist who participated in a study called "The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment: A Survey of Treatment Evaluation Studies. After reviewing the findings from 231 different rehabilitation programs, Martinson published some startling conclusions.
Social scientist Robert ..., 25 Oct 2011 [cached]
Social scientist Robert Martinson famously concluded in 1974 that "nothing works" to change the behavior of people encountering the justice system.
Back in 1974, sociologist Robert ..., 14 Sept 2011 [cached]
Back in 1974, sociologist Robert Martinson reviewed the research and concluded that "nothing worked" when it came to rehabilitating offenders.
Martinson and DiIulio were wrong.
Most importantly, Martinson's research was flawed, and he admitted his errors in print. [For this history and much more, see "Juvenile Justice: Lessons for a New Era."]
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