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Cognitive behavioral therapy : an effective treatment for convicted offenders ?

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  1. Research question
  2. Eligibility criteria
    1. Participants
    2. Intervention
    3. Control group
    4. Outcome measure
  3. Research designs
  4. Search strategy
    1. Key words
    2. Search engines
  5. Eligible research findings
    1. Armstrong T. A. (2003): The Effect of Moral Reconation Therapy on the recidivism of youthful offenders
    2. Berman, A. (2004): The reasoning and rehabilitation program
    3. Boston, C. (2001): Changing offenders' behavior
    4. Friendship, C., Mann, R., and Beech, A. (2003): The prison based Sex Offender Treatment Programme
    5. Greenwood, P. W., and Turner, S. (1993). Evaluation of the Paint Creek Youth Center
    6. Hall, E., Prendergast, M. L., Wellish J., Patten L., and Cao, Y. (2004): Treating drug-abusing women prisoners
    7. Henning, K. R., and Frueh, B.C. (1996): Cognitive behavioral treatment of incarcerated offenders
    8. Mitchell, J., and Palmer, E. J. (2004). Evaluating the 'Reasoning and Rehabilitation' Program for Young Offenders
    9. Van Voorhis, P., Spruance, L. M., Ritchey, P. N., Johson-Listwan, S. and Seabrook, R. (2004). The Georgia cognitive skills experiment
    10. Walters, G.D. (1999): Short-term outcome of inmates participating in the Lifestyle Change program
    11. Wilkinson, J. (2005): Evaluating evidence for the effectiveness of the reasoning and rehabilitation program
  6. Conclusions: A research synthesis
    1. Results
    2. Association with other factors
    3. Methodological differences
    4. Implications for research and policy
  7. References

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. [...]

[...] They stayed on average 295 days in their training schools (compared to an average of 376 days for treatment group participants). Outcome Measure - Data was obtained both from personal interviews with each youth one year after he was released from the program, and by reviewing juvenile and adult court records. The records were collected for 148 of the 150 youths, and follow-up interviews were conducted with 124 of them. Post- release failures (based on official court records) were analyzed in two ways. [...]

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