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Token economy programmes are a kind of behaviour modification based on the concepts of operant conditioning. They are used in prisons to motivate the decrease of anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour; they include granting tokens to culprits if a wanted behaviour is carried out. The tokens might then be exchanged for various benefits. The aim is for the wanted behaviour to be duplicated. As a treatment it involves setting out a variety of desirable behaviours and reinforcing the offender whenever the behaviour is shown.
This behaviour would focus upon non-aggressive, these behaviours are anticipated that the behaviour will become found out and automatic. Positive strengthens been available in the shape of tokens– a secondary support, which can be exchanged for primary support. Negative reinforcement includes the hazard of removal of tokens and detainees alter their behaviour to avoid this repercussion. A token economy system utilizes operant conditioning to slowly altering behaviour through main and secondary renforcements. Anger management is another treatment intended to avoid crime.
It is utilized in prisons, and participants may participate willingly or as part of their sentence.
This is used recognize triggers which may trigger there hostility. By avoiding hostility, the probability of criminal activities being dedicated is decreased. The treatment typically occurs in group settings and occurs about twice a week. A skilled individual runs the group. They are usually asked what elements make them feel upset and hence activate hostility. Once this trigger has actually been recognized, techniques can be taught which to condole and reduce the anger they experiences.
An anger management program will be based around 3 essential stages; cognitive preparation (evaluating previous aggression and finding patterns, and the wrongdoer likewise takes a look at the repercussions of hostility), skills acquisition (where they are taught strategies that help them to handle their response to triggers in a more productive way.) and application practice (the offender to evaluate their abilities in a variety of circumstances).
Token economy works because the behaviour of the offender is being constantly monitored and recorded in order to award the tokens, and then becomes habit. However it is limited to institutions like a prison for this token economy to work because they will not get such awards in the ‘real world’ but it is the plan that due to what is shown by operant conditioning these desired behaviours may/can become a habit and thus behaviour is repeated. Anger management can also have a similar problem, it may be easier to control your anger and follow the program while in the group but in the ‘real world’ it may be harder to follow or perform the behaviours that are learnt from the program.
Even though this may happen for anger management there is still very effective, the offenders take part voluntarily. This increases the programme’s effectiveness, as offenders who take part voluntarily are usually more committed to the programme’s success. This is in contrast to other treatments, such as token economy, which are often enforced over an entire prison system meaning that it may not be successful in all cases.
But not all anger management is voluntary some people have to take part as part of their sentence. This provides an ulterior motive and although the offender may appear to have made progress, this could be false and the issue of anger is not actually being addressed (demand characteristics). This means that anger management like token economy may not be effective for everyone.
Another problem you may find in anger management is by doing the course they may be singled out (especially in prisons) and by singling out prisoners to show they are doing this program may cause prisoners not to take it seriously or may not consider taking it voluntary, or may take it for other motives e.g. some times taking the course can help your bid to get erlyer or longer parole periods. Token economy on the other hand dose not single out specific prisoners as all prisoners have to take part in the programme, no single prisoner can have an ulterior motive for participating.
However anger management is supported by Ireland (2000). They compared 50 young offenders on an anger management programme with 37 on the waiting list for anger management. Before and after treatment scores were taken on level of aggression shown (as reported by prison officers and by the prisoners themselves through self-report). 92% of the treatment group showed some drop in aggression with 48% showing major decreases. 8% showed deterioration.
This evidence shows strong support of anger management programmes as a way to control aggression in prison. Hobbs and Holt (1976) measured the effect of token economy on a sample of young delinquents across 3 institutions (with one other institution being used as a comparison[control group]). Tokens were awarded to those in the experimental groups whenever target behaviour was displayed. These were swapped for primary reinforces.
There was a significant (28%) increase in the target behaviours in the experimental groups compared to the controls. This shows that the token economy was an effective and cost effective (less than $8 per month per boy) way to control the behaviour of criminals whilst in prison. By comparing the results it would seem that anger management may be more effective as a way to treat crime but the numbers of people who participated was far less so Hobbs and Holt may have less success rate due to the larger groups meaning that the result may be more valid due to it being easer to apply to the prison population.
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