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The Development and Implementation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Forensic Settings

NCJ Number
International Journal of Forensic Mental Health Volume: 3 Issue: 12 Dated: 2004 Pages: 93-102
Date Published
11 pages

This article presents a rationale for use of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) in a correctional environment and reviews DBT implementations in correctional settings in North America. Because all the initiatives thus far have been driven by clinical need, there are no published adaptations of DBT modified for and generalizable to correctional settings.


As a result of deinstitutionalization, currently there are three times as many men and women with mental illness in U.S. jails and prisons than in mental hospitals. Appropriate treatment of this population is critical to safety within correctional institutions, successful integration of offenders into the community upon release and a reduction in recidivism. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), originally developed by Linehan for chronically parasuicidal women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, has been adapted for many other populations over the past decade, including male offenders in correctional institutions. (Published abstract provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2004