Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
The Office of Planning, Research, Statistics and Grants of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in 2008 completed an evaluation of the pilot program Changing Offender Behavior (COB), launched in 2006 at five correctional facilities (institutions and community centers). Effectiveness of the COB program was evaluated using multiple sources of information: 1) inmate (n = 102) changes in criminal attitude and thinking measured by differences in pre and post CSS-M assessment scores; 2) program facilitator and inmate participant responses on a self-administered survey about the program; and, 3) program facilitator and inmate participant interviews about the program. Preliminary evidence suggests that changes in CSS-M scores (reduction of criminal thinking and attitudes) are correlated with a decrease in institutional misconduct and recidivism*.
A summary of findings indicated:
COB had a favorable impact on inmates' thinking and attitudes about crime as measured in pre and post assessment scores. These changes indicate that criminal attitudes and thinking improved, or became more pro-social, after participating in the COB program.
- Overall, of the inmates who reported changes in their level of criminal thinking, approximately 42% (n = 41) showed decreases that were large enough to place them into a lower range for criminal thinking.
Staff and inmates indicated a general satisfaction with the COB program including the topics covered, the exercises and examples used and the organization of the workbook.
Facilitator: "change thoughts, this is critical, they seemed to get it, COB is perfect for restructuring thinking."
Facilitator: "the curriculum was excellent; user friendly; written at the appropriate education level; graphics were engaging (eye catching, colorful)."
Facilitator: "COB is excellent, best program delivered so far (including character development, Thinking For Change, decision-making, violence prevention); COB is all inclusive, it is independent, it does not need supplemental programs."
Inmate: "the workbook has opened up a lot of things for me. I used to be uncomfortable with people telling me this, telling me that, asking where you were. Now I take a few seconds to think about it before I act."
Inmate: "it showed me ways to think differently and to use things in my life to help influence choices I make before making them."
*Sigmourd, D. (2006). Validation of risk/needs assessments in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. National Institute of Justice Report, NCJ - 221255. Washington: U.S. Department of Justice.
Antonio, M.E. (2007). Evaluation of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections pilot program Changing Offender Behavior (COB). Camp Hill, PA: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
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