Forensic Psychology: the effectiveness of Offending Behavior Programmes
Rehabilitation among offenders is achievable through deployment of various programs considered suitable in the context of the offender. One of such rehabilitative approaches is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is more of a psychotherapeutic strategy with a principal objective of solving problems associated with dysfunctional emotions and behaviors in an orderly methodology that is goal oriented (Dattilio & Freeman, 2007). In the context of rehabilitation, CBT focuses on behavior therapy. Research studies have reported that CBT is one of the most effective rehabilitation strategies among offenders with minimal cases of recidivism. A key objective behind rehabilitation is to ensure that the offenders do not get to back to their previous behaviors, and that they have to appreciate the bad nature of their previous offenses. This is core in order for any rehabilitation program to be effective (Ellis, 2001). This essay analyses the rationale behind the usage of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in rehabilitation. In addition, the paper assesses the effectiveness of the reasoning and rehabilitation program, the Enhanced Skills Training Program, the Violent Offender Treatment Program, and the Sexual Offender Treatment Program in a forensic setting.
Currently, Cognitive behaviorism is an effective model that serves as an intervention program. The use of cognitive behaviorism can be perceived as an integration of behaviorism, the social learning theory and the cognitive theory; which are core principles in fostering rehabilitation among offenders (McCullough, 2003). The CBT approach can be used to offer an understanding of why individuals engage themselves in criminal activities, with a particular interest on the role that the environmental context plays in compelling an individual to engage in criminal activities. The underlying argument of using CBT in the context of rehabilitation is that the behavior of an individual is determined by intrinsic thoughts and external stimuli. In addition, it is the human thought that blocks people from perceiving things from a realistic approach. Simply put, it is not the events that serve to upset individuals, rather, it is the meanings that we attach to such events that plays an integral role in determining the way people respond to them, and ultimately indulging in deviant and criminal activities (Ellis, 2001). The thoughts that individuals attach to this events are normally destructive and unrealistic, and this is one of the possible cognitive explanations for constant involvement in crime. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy plays a significant role in helping the individual to identify such thoughts, reflect on them appropriately. In such a manner, a person can effectively confront the external stimuli and intrinsic thoughts that led to a person’s involvement in crime. In summary, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy offers the connection between the problems of a person, and the behavior that inflicts these problems on the individual, and the thoughts that make the individual to behave in a deviant manner. In the context of rehabilitation (Gilin, 2001), CBT can entail functional analysis and skills training. Functional analysis aims at analyzing the thoughts and feelings of a person in relation to the environment of the person, with a prime objective of determining the reasons why a person behaves in particular manner (McCullough, 2003). Skills training involve doing away with the old habits, adopting, and adapting new skills. The basic objective of skills training is to make the person to discover new approaches of reflection and to help combat the situations that influenced his prior behavior (Lipsey et al, 2007).
The reasoning and rehabilitation program is one of the most effective intervention programs in forensic settings. In addition, meta-analysis reports that the reasoning and rehabilitation program is more effective in specific settings such as community and institutional settings (Alexis et al, 2011). The Reasoning and rehabilitation program is equally effective for low and high-risk criminal offenders, owing to the fact research studies on the program reported a significant decline in reconvictions. The principal inference is that the reasoning and rehabilitation program is an effective approach in changing the behavior of a criminal and reduces recidivism (Gilin, 2001).
The Enhanced Thinking Skills program reports a significant benefit among offenders who have mental disorders. The working framework is that Enhanced Thinking Skills training provides a framework for re-evaluating the thinking styles of the criminal offenders, which is an important strategy in behavior rectification. The Enhanced Thinking Skills training helps in increasing social conformity, and an enhancing the critical reasoning skills. In addition, this program is an effective strategy in enhancing acceptance of frustration among offenders. In summary, the ETS is an effective rehabilitation strategy for offenders who have mental disorders, in the sense that it helps in changing significant aspects of their styles of thinking and improving their problem solving skills in the social context (Alexis et al, 2011).
The Violent Offender Treatment program is primarily used in treating offenders who have committed crimes that are considered violent. Research studies on its effectiveness have reported mixed results. However, a dominant trend in the outcomes is that the program significantly reduced recidivism rates for the completers (Jayson & Cherice, 2002). In addition, it increased the time for reconviction in cases that have no follow up. The program is however not an effective rehabilitation approach for non-violent offenders. It can be inferred that the Violent Offender treatment Program is an effective intervention program for violent offenders (Ministry of Justice, 2010).
The Sexual Offender Treatment Programmes is directed at offenders who have committed sexual offenses. A meta-analysis of the outcomes of research studies reveal that its effectiveness depends on the deployment of CBT (Derek & Sean, 1998). The program is only effective for low risk offenders. High-risk offenders did offenders not benefit much from the program. The principal fact is the effectiveness of these programs depends on the deployment of CBT and whether the offenders completed the treatment programs (Danielle & MacKenzie, 1999).
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