At age 19, boys whose mothers received nurse home visits as part of a randomized controlled trial of the Nurse-Family Partnership program were no less criminally active than boys in the control group. Since crime is overwhelmingly a male phenomenon, the finding in the same study that NFP greatly reduced criminality among girls (4% arrested by age 19 v. 20%) isn’t much consolation.
The lack of impact on crime among males is even more striking given the dramatic improvements on other outcome measures. Those non-crime benefits more than cover the costs of the program. But those of us who thought that nurse home visits were going to turn out to be a hugely effective crime-control measure will have to go back to the drawing board.