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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: An Evidence-Based Intervention for Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2011
3 pages
Publication Series
This article from the February/March 2011 issue of Corrections Today examines the use of cognitive behavioral therapy for work with offenders.
This article discusses the results of a study that examined the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in changing the offender behavior. The study consisted of a meta-analysis of 548 research studies conducted between 1958 and 2002 that evaluated offender intervention policies, practices, and programs. The analysis grouped the studies into seven categories – surveillance, deterrence, discipline, restorative programs, counseling, skill building, and multiple coordinated services – to determine the effectiveness of the various interventions. The analysis found that interventions based on punishment and deterrence appeared to increase criminal recidivism as compared to therapy-based interventions such as counseling and skill building which appeared to reduce criminal recidivism. A review of therapeutic interventions also found that cognitive-behavioral approaches were more effective at reducing recidivism than other types of therapeutic interventions. In addition to the results of the study, the article also discusses the use of CBT for working with both juvenile and adult offenders and how CBT works in a correctional setting. The findings reported in this paper indicate that CBT is not only effective at reducing criminal recidivism among offenders but that it can also positively affect a multitude of mood, personality, and behavioral problems. 4 endnotes

Date Published: February 1, 2011