Reasoning and Rehabilitation

Empty prison cellReasoning and Rehabilitation is a criminal rehabilitation program used with offenders in Canada, the United Kingdom, and some parts of the United States. It aims to reduce recidivism by addressing and attempting to treat the issues that led to an individual committing a criminal act.

What Is the Reasoning and Rehabilitation Program?

Incarcerated persons may be challenged by a number of issues, such as trauma and chemical dependency, but they have historically had little access to rehabilitation programs. Reasoning and Rehabilitation aims to help them address their concerns directly rather than coping with their anger and other emotions by engaging in risky or violent behavior.

This program is taught by certified trainers who have undergone education in the Reasoning and Rehabilitation program, and it focuses on medium- to high-risk offenders, especially those who exhibit antisocial behaviors or have committed violent crimes. It is not considered to be effective for cognitively skilled offenders.

Reasoning and Rehabilitation is a modified form of cognitive behavioral therapy that directly addresses the thoughts leading to criminal behavior. The program aims to help both adult and youth participants reframe these thoughts and alter their behaviors accordingly by teaching them the following skills:

  • Lateral thinking, or the ability to address a problem from several angles, one such angle being an attempt to understand another person’s perspective.
  • Social skills, such as basic interaction and conflict resolution skills as well as negotiation skills, assertiveness training, social perspective training, and education on interpersonal interactions.
  • Values education, which attempts to help offenders develop socially adaptive values.
  • Cognitive and behavioral skills, which consist of the recognition and reframing of potentially criminal thoughts, the effective processing of information, and the alteration of maladaptive and problematic behaviors.
  • Critical thinking skills.

Is the Program Effective?

A number of factors can contribute to recidivism. These factors include poor life skills, a desire to reoffend, mental health conditions, and poor living conditions, among others. Studies have shown that life skills training helps reduce reincarceration, as individuals who participate in life skills training while incarcerated are often able to change their environment for the better upon release.

Reasoning and Rehabilitation may help reduce recidivism even when the offender’s environment does not change. A 2006 study, for example, found a 14% reduction in recidivism in offenders who had participated in the program.

References:

  1. Joy Tong, L., & Farrington, D. (2006). How Effective Is the “Reasoning and Rehabilitation” Programme in Reducing Reoffending? A Meta-analysis of Evaluations in Four Countries. Psychology, Crime and Law12(1), 3-24. doi: 10.1080/10683160512331316253.
  2. Reasoning and Rehabilitation Program. (n.d.). Retrieved March 5, 2015, from http://www.cognitivecentre.ca/RRProgram.
  3. Wilkinson, J. (2005). Evaluating Evidence for the Effectiveness of the Reasoning and Rehabilitation Programme. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice44(1), 70-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2311.2005.00356.x.

Last Updated: 01-29-2016

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