Changing Criminal Attitudes Among Incarcerated Offenders: Initial Examination of a Structured Treatment Program [2015]

The present study investigated the effect of a criminal attitude treatment program to changes on measured criminal attitudes and postprogram recidivism. The criminal attitude program (CAP) is a standardized therapeutic curriculum consisting of 15 modules offering 44 hr of therapeutic time. It was delivered by trained facilitators to a total of 113 male offenders incarcerated in one of five state correctional institutions. Pretreatment and posttreatment comparisons were made on standardized measures of criminal attitudes, response bias, and motivation for lifestyle changes. Results found statistically significant lower criminal attitudes at posttreatment that were unaffected by response bias. There were also increases in motivation for lifestyle changes, but these did not reach statistical significance. Fifty-seven participants were released into the community following the program and were eligible for recidivism analyses. Comparisons between participants who completed the CAP and those who did not complete the CAP revealed 7% lower rearrest among CAP completers. Although preliminary, these results indicate that the CAP had a positive effect on changes to criminal attitudes and recidivism. The findings are discussed in terms of conceptual and practical considerations in the assessment and treatment of criminal attitudes among offenders.

David J. Simourd, Mark E. Olver, Bryan Brandenburg
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol 60, Issue 12, 2016