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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 63387 Find in a Library
Title: ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION
Journal: BRITISH JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:SPECIAL ISSUE (OCTOBER 1979)  Pages:420-448
Author(s): D E BLACKMAN
Corporate Author: Stevens and Sons
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: Stevens and Sons
London, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THIS PAPER REVIEWS THE EMERGENCE OF BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION IN CRIMINOLOGY AND SUGGESTS METHODS OF CURBING POTENTIAL ABUSES OF ITS TECHNIQUES.
Abstract: CONTEMPORARY USAGE OF THE TERM 'BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION' INCLUDES A WIDE RANGE OF ETHICALLY-DUBIOUS PRACTICES. IN ITS ORIGINAL SENSE, BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION WAS SIMPLY A SYSTEMATIC ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE THE BEHAVIOR OF PEOPLE BY MEANS OF FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS, WHICH RECOGNIZES REINFORCEMENT AS AN ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE OF BEHAVIOR. BEHAVIOR MODIFIERS WORK WITH OBJECTIVE DESCRIPTIONS OF BEHAVIOR, PASS SOCIETAL JUDGMENTS, AND SPECIFY APPROPRIATE PATTERNS OF MORE DESIRABLE BEHAVIOR AS THE GOALS OF THEIR INTERVENTION. IN THE CRIMINOLOGICAL CONTEXT, THE BEHAVIOR MODIFIER MAY BE CALLED UPON TO HELP REHABILITATE AN OFFENDER OR TO CONTRIBUTE TO EFFECTIVE DETENTION METHODS. IN THE LATTER CASE, THE BEHAVIOR MODIFIER BECOMES AN AGENT OF THE INSTITUTION, IN CONTRAST TO THE TRADITIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS' ROLE OF ASSISTING THE PATIENT. FOR ETHICAL REASONS, TECHNIQUES OF BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION MUST BE CONTROLLED. PROFESSIONAL SELF-CONTROL THROUGH AN ORGANIZATION DEFINING STANDARDS AND MONITORING CONDUCT OF ITS MEMBERS IS ONE SUGGESTION. A BRITISH AND AN AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION AND THEIR GUIDELINES ARE EVALUATED. BOTH ARE FOUND TOO GENERAL AND PROTECTIVE OF THE PROFESSION RATHER THAN THE CLIENTS. A SYSTEM OF PRACTICAL CHECKLISTS IS SUGGESTED, WHICH COULD RAISE LEVELS OF AWARENESS ABOUT DECISIONS AND REDUCE RECKLESS, INSENSITIVE PROGRAMS. PROSCRIPTIONS LIMITING THE PROCEDURES WHICH BEHAVIOR MODIFIERS MAY USE ARE EXAMINED, FOCUSING ON MINNESOTA WHERE SUCH REGULATIONS WERE INSTITUTED. WHILE EFFECTIVELY PREVENTING ABUSE, THESE PROSCRIPTIONS ALSO LIMITED EFFECTIVE PROFESSIONAL TECHNIQUES BY BEING TOO BROAD. LEGAL CASES IN THE U.S. HAVE FOUND BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION TO INFRINGE ON THE CLIENTS' BASIC RIGHTS, AND HAVE RULED THAT TRULY VOLUNTARY AND INFORMED CONSENT CANNOT BE OBTAINED FROM THOSE INVOLUNTARILY CONFINED. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Code of ethics; Criminology; Minnesota; Professional conduct and ethics; Professional organizations; Standards
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63387

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