Cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) are considered by psychologists to be one of the most efficient ways to change people's behaviors by making them understand how their feelings and behaviors are caused by what they think. The objective of this review is to see whether or not cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in reducing recidivism for convicted offenders, by examining the available evidence in primary research studies. Cognitive behavioral therapies for offenders include programs such as Think for a Change, Reasoning and Rehabilitation or Moral Reconation Therapy, as well as all those programs that focus on the cognitive and emotional processes that lead a certain stimuli to elicit a particular behavioral response. As those programs can all be implemented at a relatively low cost, and intend to produce long-term beneficial changes in offenders' behaviors, it seems extremely important to examine their effectiveness.
[...] Although participants in the treatment group were less likely to have had an adult conviction for property offense and more likely to have had a conviction for a violent or person offense, the two groups were not significantly different in other characteristics. Outcome Measure - In this study, recidivism was operationalized as a new criminal charge during the two years following release from prison. The difference-of-proportion test and survival analysis procedures were employed to measure it, using three sources of data: the NWSCF CSC program, the VDOC and the Vermont State Police. [...]
[...] Intervention - In this study, the cognitive behavioral therapy using Moral Reconation therapy part of the ‘Better people' program is being evaluated. This component of the program aims at teaching higher moral reasoning to offenders. Participants in the program met twice a week during the duration of the program under the direction of ‘Better people' facilitators and used a textbook with exercises. Comparison - Participants in the control group were those who chose not to participate in the ‘Better people' program after an orientation. [...]
[...] Key words: The key words that we used in order to find relevant studies were the following, associated with one another : CBT, “Cognitive behavioral therapy”, “Cognitive behavioral treatment” “Think for a change”, “Reasoning and Rehabilitation”, “Moral reconation therapy” offenders, criminals, inmates “what works' Documents that used keywords either in their title or abstract of the citation were selected. Search engines: The following databases were searched : The Campbell Collaboration social The national criminal justice reference service (NCJRS) Sociological abstracts Criminal justice abstracts The following journals were searched: Criminal Justice and Behavior Criminology Journal of Criminal Justice Journal of Experimental criminology Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Journal of Quantitative Criminology The Howard Journal The Prison Journal Also, the following websites were used : Google Scholar - http://scholar.google.com/ Campbell collaboration - http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/CCJG/ Research Development and Statistics - http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/ Finally, were used in this review several of the studies that were posted on the course (CRIM 200) website - https://courseweb.library.upenn.edu/ Eligible Research findings . [...]
[...] From this analysis, we can deduce that other variables than the cognitive behavioral treatment may have influenced the results of the studies. -Methodological differences In addition to those variables, different research methods were involved in different studies, whose results were certainly influenced by those methodological differences. The limitation of most research is on methodological grounds and in particular on shortcomings for the definition of the outcome measure, the absence of random assignment and the sample sizes. First, the outcome measure: how is it possible to operationalize “recidivism” which was the dependent variable in all the studies? [...]
[...] Comparison - The sentencing court allocated offenders either to the treatment group or to the control group (that received no treatment) of the offenders (98 of them) that had been recommended for the program were given alternative sentence, and hence used as a comparison group. Offenders in the control group had a very similar offending profile to program participants. Outcome Measure - Reconviction was measured at two years after intervention. The data came from the offenders' criminial records, from the Home Office National Identification Bureau. [...]
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