The Use of the Thinking for a Change Program in Reducing Recidivism

TheUse of the Thinking for a Change Program in Reducing Recidivism

TheUse of the Thinking for a Change Program in Reducing Recidivism

TheThinking for a Change Program is a cognitive behavioral changeapproach that was designed to reduce recidivism among offenders. Theprogram is implemented through cognitive restructuring, developmentof challenge solving skills, and development of social skills(National Institute of Corrections, 2011). The program was designedto overcome to introduce the use of scientifically proven methods inreducing recidivism (Abadinsky,2012). TheThinking for a Change Program is delivered to small groups ofoffenders in about 25 lessons with an option for expansion to addressspecific needs of participants. The program is based on the notionthat helping offenders take control over their thinking can reducetheir chances of committing the crimes once again NationalInstitute of Justice (2014).

TheThinking for a Change is an effective approach that can help inreducing recidivism to a greater extent. Research has shown thattraining offenders on decision making and general thinking helps themto generate various alternative solutions, thinking before acting,and evaluating the consequences (Landenberger &amp Lipsey, 2005).This helps offenders in analyzing the outcomes of their actions, thusenhancing their capacity to avoid actions that are likely to givenegative outcomes. In addition, the training packages designed forthe Thinking for a Change enhances the capacity of offenders to copewith situations that are high-risk and halt the relapse cycles.Despite the effectiveness of this program, financial challenges, lackof commitment among the judicial system stakeholders, and lack ofsufficient professionals to offer the programs might hinder theimplementation of the program.

Althoughthe program has been shown to be effective in reducing recidivism, itis not a one size fit all program, which implies that it cannotchange the thinking patterns of all offenders. This is based on thefact that the Thinking for a Change Program assumes that lack ofcognitive skills is the only reason for people to commit crime. Thismeans that the program fails to consider that people can be pressuredto commit crime by other factors, including the conspicuousassumption and the environment.


Abadinsky,H. (2012). Probationand parole: Theory and practice (11th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Landenberger,A. &amp Lipsey, W. (2005). The positive effects ofcognitive-behavioral programs for offenders: A meta-analysis offactors associated with effective treatment. Journalof Experimental Criminology,1, 1-26.

NationalInstitute of Corrections (2011). Thinking for a change: Integratedcognitive behavior change program. NIC.Retrieved August 10, 2014, from

NationalInstitute of Justice (2014). Program profile: Thinking for a change.NIJ.Retrieved August 10, 2014, from