Community corrections are “non-prison sanctions that are imposed on convicted adults or adjudicated juveniles either by a court instead of a prison sentence or by a parole board following release from prison.” (Joan Petersilia Para. 1) There are four general principles of effective intervention that have become organizing concepts of community corrections in what has become known as the “what works” movement. In this paragraph I will describe all four of the general principles of effective intervention, risk principle, criminogenic need principle, treatment principle, and fidelity principle, and the way they work.
The first of the four principles of effective intervention is risk principle. Risk principle tells us that intervention programs should use a mix of cognitive and behavioral strategies (Wright, 2012.) This is saying that the intervention should target high risk offenders, to prevent them from reoffending. Research has proved that targeting high risk offenders works more often then targeting low risk offenders. Certain offenses are considered low risk and others high. That is what qualifies you as a low and high risk offender by what offense you committed the first time. Moreover, research also shows that targeting low-risk offenders with intensive treatment can actually increase their reoffending (Latessa, 2010). That is why within the four principles it does not target low right offenders. I agree with this system completely, we should pay more attention to the more serious offenders, because if they did a serious offense in the first place, they will do it again, and we must target these people to try and stop them.
According to Gendra and Paparozzi with Corrections Today, “When Robert Martinson predicted some 20 years ago that the new epoch in corrections would focus on punishment, many of us who were working in the system at that time did not realize how prescient he was. Today, the U.S. corrections system relies on the threat of punishment to bring about law-abiding behavior. Evidence of this can be seen in the proliferation of intensive supervision programs (ISPs), boot camps, shock incarceration and people’s prisons.” (Gendreau, P., & Paparozzi, M. A., 1995) I know that this intervention works because I have been to boot camp myself, and as they call it the “scare tactic” it really does work. When you do something incorrect or not to standards in the military they will scare soldiers with punishment, the reason it scares the soldiers is because they know that they will go through with the punishment because they have been punished before.
The second of the four principles of effective intervention is ciminogenic need principle. Criminogenic need principle posits that intervention programs must focus on change factors related to the offender’s antisocial conduct. Some of the important factors to target include antisocial values and attitudes, substance abuse, antisocial peers, dysfunctional families, and poor decision-making and problem-solving skills. “Unfortunately many intervention programs target factors that have little or nothing to do with an individual’s current criminal behavior.” (Wright, F 2012) When going up in a dysfunctional family, you learn that it is acceptable to be that way. When gang member have children , their children grow up thinking that what their parent is doing is acceptable, so when they get to the age that they can make their own decisions, they do what they grew up knowing, gang banging.
On the contrary an example I am going to bring up the incident that happened in Connecticut a couple days ago. The killer did not have a dysfunctional family, but the old babysitter had reported that when she would watch him his mother would say to never take her eye off of him, even when going to the bathroom which can form a theory that he had always acted up in odd ways. The third of the four principles of effective intervention is the treatment principle. The treatment principle tells us that intervention programs should use a mix of cognitive and behavioral strategies. As John Wright states, “Cognitive approaches confront the way offenders think, their criminal values and attitudes, and their decision making.
Behavioral approaches, by contrast, seek to model, reward, and reinforce prosocial behavior. Numerous studies show that cognitive-behavioral strategies work better than other intervention strategies for offenders, including nondirective talk therapy and psychoanalytic approaches. Nondirective approaches do not tend to work with most offenders because they are usually concrete in their thinking and not always able to think rationally.” (J. Wright, 2012)
When you are in prison, if you do not get into trouble they will send you to a work camp, which gives you more privileges than the average prisoner. When you get in trouble in prison, they will take away any little privileges that you do have, that would be an example of behavioral approaches. An example of a cognitive approach would be to have a criminal in therapy, with a physiological expert who would know how to pick the offenders brain to figure out the way they think then question them on the reason they think like that.
The fourth and last principle of effective intervention is the fidelity principle. The fidelity principle is in affect to make it so that the other three principles are being held to the standard. “Some individuals should never work with offenders. When they do they often reinforce criminal thinking patterns and antisocial behavior” (J. Wright 2012). The people that work with these offenders must be one hundred percent qualified, and well as have proven positive results of their work or else their job in this intervention is useless. The working will just cause the offenders to get worst. All the jobs within the intervention are important because if everyone is not doing their part within the program then the results from the program will not look effective.
These four principles have been proven to be effective and I believe that if we continue to use it, that we will avoid many offenders from have a second offense and keep the crime rate down within our country. In this essay you have learned all four of the principles effective in the community corrections, risk principle, crimongenic need principle, treatment principle, and fidelity principle, and the roles that they play within the intervention.
Beeler, A. (2007). What works in corrections: Reducing the criminal activities of offenders and delinquents. Corrections Compendium, 32(2), 36-36. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/211806856?accountid=32521 Gendreau, P., & Paparozzi, M. A. (1995). Examining what works in community corrections. Corrections Today, 57(1), 28-28. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/215705816?accountid=32521 Petersilia, J (November 2007) What Works In Community Corrections, The PEW
Center of the States. Retrieved by http://www.pewtrusts.org
Wright, J (2012) What Works In Changing Offenders? Retrieved from
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