The Effectiveness of a Cognitive Skills Training Program for Adult Offenders [2017]

This article provides an evaluation of the effectiveness of the “CoVa” cognitive skills training program. A quasi-experimental design was used to compare the known reoffending behavior of 2,229 CoVa participants with that of two control groups of offenders: (1) one formed using the inclusion criteria of the program, and (2) one formed using propensity score matching (PSM). Outcome measures included the prevalence, frequency, and impact of new, adjudicated crimes, with the impact defined as the combined severity of the offenses. Results indicated that the participants in the CoVa group were reconvicted less frequently than those in Control Group 1. Moreover, the impact of their recidivism was lower than the impact of those of Control Group 2. However, the effect sizes were very small, and no significant differences were found regarding reconviction prevalence. Explanations for the absence of (large) effects are discussed.

Suzan Verweij, Bouke S. J. Wartna, Nikolaj Tollenaar, Marinus G. C. J. Beerthuizen

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 44, Issue 12, 2017