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Based on a systematic review of some 23 (out of 300 originally located) studies, it is concluded that most studies show lower rates of re-offending following a non-custodial compared to a custodial sanction. However, this outcome may be biased because, in most quasi-experiments of this kind, subjects with the worst prospects of rehabilitation are likely to be sent to prison. In a meta-analysis limited to five randomised controlled trials and one natural experiment, it is concluded thatpmid:18206062 fatcat:zqontgdid5ehjmf5c2thmqxvsu