Why focus on attitudes, thinking and behaviour…?
Many offenders, although not all, come from the most socially excluded groups in society - yet committing a crime is an active choice. Offending behaviour programmes within prison and probation aim to change the way that offenders think about their actions and their effects on others, and to improve their self-control.
Prisoners are more likely to have negative social attitudes and poor self-control. Successfully addressing their attitudes, thinking and behaviour during custody may reduce re-offending by up to 14%.
Models adopting a cognitive-behavioural approach explore the role of thoughts and attitudes in influencing behaviour. There has been extensive research conducted on the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural programmes in prisons and there has been positive evidence regarding their ability to impact on re-offending. These programmes focus specifically on the thinking skills that guide behaviour.
In terms of offenders, cognitive skills programmes aim to replace negative and engrained thinking patterns with thoughts that promote pro-social behaviour choices. These programmes aim to assist offenders in becoming more reflective, planful and considerate of others in their response to potential problems and more open-minded, reasoned and deliberate in their thinking.
Having a wide range of programs to access, delivered by both statutory and third sector organisations, enables all areas of negative or entrenched thinking to be looked at and through the use of varied approaches and techniques, although all with a cognitive behaviour (CBT base).