Cognitive behavioral therapy for offenders
Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy can help prevent violence. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is a technique that helps clients understand and change the thought patterns that lead to negative behavior
- Seeks to advance behavior change and understanding of criminal activity among incarcerated individuals and those on probation through development of healthier thought processes
- May include programming focused on interpersonal skills, anger management, and related topics
- Can be offered to juveniles and adults in institutional or community settings
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)
Strong (second-highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps; the second-highest level of evidence by the National Institute of Justice
Formerly incarcerated individuals
$419 per participant in Washington State
Outcomes and impact
- Reduces recidivism in adults and juveniles
- Has particularly strong impact on high-risk offenders and violent or chronically offending juvenile men
- Participants increase their social skills, problem solving abilities, critical and moral reasoning, self-control, and impulse management and self-efficacy
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This section is under review
- Successful programs often focus treatment on personal accountability, anger management, and interpersonal skills
- Program should be delivered by well-trained providers and staff, and monitored closely
- When planning the programming, intensive thought into logistics of service provision, quality assurance, and evaluation of effectiveness is imperative
- For juvenile offenders, effective programs often include a parent education and treatment component