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NCJ Number: 203252 Find in a Library
Title: Faith-Based Cognitive Programs in Corrections
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:65  Issue:7  Dated:December 2003  Pages:108-113,120,137
Author(s): Stephen T. Hall
Date Published: December 2003
Page Count: 8
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the efficacy of faith-based cognitive programs in the correctional environment.
Abstract: In cognitive therapy, the client and counselor collaborate to understand the client’s dysfunctional thinking patterns and develop treatment strategies. This approach seems compatible with pastoral counseling and education aimed at treating criminal thinking patterns. It uncovers dysfunctional thinking patterns that lead to bad feelings and antisocial behaviors. This is compatible with religious training because the same principles can be supported from a biblical perspective. Cognitive therapy techniques and Christian ideas can be blended to provide an effective healing environment. There are 10 errors that are exhibited to a higher degree by inmates than nonoffenders: closed thinking, victim stance, viewing self as a good person, lack of effort, lack of interest in responsible performance, lack of time perspective, the fear of fear, the power thrust, uniqueness, and ownership. The most effective correctional programs begin by assessing the factors that contribute to each offender’s probability of continued criminal activity, and then targeting these needs with appropriate programming. Effective programs pay attention to responsivity, which involves trying a variety of approaches to meet individuals’ needs in order to increase the probability of cooperation in the treatment program. At Putnamville Correctional Facility in Greencastle (Indiana), the chaplain conducted a formal study of the effectiveness of a faith-based program that focused on changing criminal thinking and behavior. The experimental group comprised 10 people that received instruction on corrected thinking errors. The control group consisted of 28 people. Facility infractions were selected as the measurement criteria. Thinking errors were discussed in a class for the experimental group on Biblical Correctives to Thinking Errors. Of those in the study, the results showed there were no infractions reported. The control group had a total of 17 infractions. The results support a claim that members taking the class did a better job of monitoring their thoughts and behaviors during the period of the study. A follow-up study should be conducted that traces these inmates for a year after their releases to see if the impact has more lasting results. 9 endnotes
Main Term(s): Counseling techniques; Economic models
Index Term(s): Cognitive therapy; Counseling; Criminal justice facilities; Inmate treatment; Religion; Teaching/training techniques
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