This appraising study critically reviews research based grounds on the effectivity of cognitive behavioral therapy ( CBT ) intercessions in the context of Criminal Justice. The rule of CBT as an intercession is to alter the wrongdoer ‘s attitudes and behavior by utilizing cognitive behavioral techniques. These methods focus on sing and altering thought in order to avoid forms of behavior that can take to re-offending ( Andrews, 1995 ) . I am presently a Criminal Justice worker and have chosen the function of CBT as a pattern intercession in probation for several grounds.

The longstanding attack to criminal behavior across condemnable justness systems has been imposition via the tribunals of penalty such as fiscal punishment or loss of autonomy. Whilst this delivers requital, penalty does non needfully cut down degrees of offense ( Hollin, 2002 ) and an option is offender rehabilitation for which there is room for development. This attack seeks to convey about single alteration in the wrongdoer and to cut down the likliehood of perpetrating farther offenses.

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Surveies reviewed are portion of the alleged ‘What Works? ‘ research docket which aims to look into how to cut down reoffending and support probation supervising. The ‘What Works ‘ attack to offender rehabilitation has been written about since the 1980 ‘s and outcome ratings indicate that this attack may hold a little but positive consequence in cut downing reoffending ( McGuire and Priestley, 1995 ) . The “ What Works ” research literature indicates that cognitive behavioral intercessions produce the greatest consequence ( Vennard, Hedderman and Sugg, 1997 ; Hollin, 1999 ; Cooke and Philip, 2000 ; Redondo, Sanchez-Meca and Garrido, 1999 ) .

In policy footings, probation in Scotland differs greatly from that in England and Wales. This has been due to political, legislative and cultural alterations which have occurred in the last 30 old ages and more late in 1991, the debut of 100 % support and National Objectives and Standards ( NOS ) .

In visible radiation of these issues/factors, the specific inquiry steering the hunt for literature is ‘Is there grounds to propose that CBT intercessions work in provisional pattern? ‘

The hunt for grounds to turn to this inquiry involved the usage of databases ASSIA, Planex Cambridge and Discover. Specific journal databases were besides consulted utilizing word hunts. These included The Howard Journal, Probation Journal, Criminology and Criminal Justice Journal and British Journal of Social Work. This hunt yielded the most appropriate and relevant research surveies pertinent to the inquiry.

Literature Review

This subdivision critically reviews 6 surveies. One studies on a Scots survey within which service users considered their ideal theoretical account of the societal worker ( Barry, 2000 ) . Three surveies were qualitative ( Rex, 1999 ; McNeill, 2000 ; and McCulloch, 2005 ) while the staying two were reappraisals of literature ( Vanstone, 2000 ; and Stanley, 2009 ) . The grounds is reviewed under several cardinal subjects.

What contributes to the effectivity of CBT?

As an attack to working with wrongdoers, cognitive behavioral alteration presumes that people who offend are shaped by their environment and hold failed to get certain cognitive accomplishments or have learned inappropriate ways of behaving, thought is unprompted and stiff as opposed to flexible. Cognitive troubles are learned instead than innate in people who offend.

The chase of ‘effectiveness ‘ in the bringing and development of community based disposals has been observed over the last three decennaries. Although, there has been progress in what is effectual in back uping desistance from offense through research workers, practicians and authorities curates to convey theoretical cognition to pattern research, policy and pattern high spots that knowledge and success still remains in development. Recognizing the comprehensiveness of academic and empirical literature in researching this topic, the reappraisal is intentionally limited and draws on the effectivity research and desistance literature.

Each of the surveies describe a brief history of ‘What Works ‘ in probation. The premiss was that cognitive behavioral programmes would present decreases of between 5 and 10 per cent in reoffending. The grounds for this proposition was based mostly on American and Canadian research and meta-analyses of comparatively little graduated table surveies ( Lipsey, 1992 ) . Research surveies suggested that non merely was prison uneffective in cut downing recidivism, but besides that public assistance approaches to offense decrease was ineffective, intrusive and inhibitory ( Newburn, 1995: Her Majesty ‘s Inspectorate of Probation, 1998 ) .

Prior to the debut of the NOS in the early 1990 ‘s, small research into wrongdoers ‘ positions of supervising had been undertaken prior to the debut of these Standards, which were informed more by the findings from research into what works from the academic or practician ‘s point of position than by concern with the under addressed impression of what works from the wrongdoer ‘s point of position. However, the ‘what plants ‘ rules ( which inform NOS ) are being adopted throughout the assorted strands of work with wrongdoers. Three of these rules are debatable when it comes to wrongdoers ‘ positions about supervising which are: hazard categorization, criminogenic demands and responsivity. Several of the surveies were chosen as portion of this literature reappraisal as they researched workers and wrongdoer ‘s positions and it will be argued that a more flexible attack demands to be adopted in relation to these rules before wrongdoers themselves can to the full profit from supervising.

With respects to the four surveies carried out three involved workers being interviewed through semi-structured interviews ( Rex, 1999 ; McNeill, 2000 ; and McCulloch, 2005 ) and one entirely with student nurses ( Barry, 2000 ) . Rex and McCulloch ‘s surveies besides involved semi-structured interviews with student nurses every bit good as with workers. The two reappraisals of literature discourse what research has already been done.

The research explored the features of student nurses on supervising, documented the services of such supervising in run intoing wrongdoers ‘ demands and cut downing the hazard of farther piquing. In order to advance ‘analytic generalisability ‘ a random sample was constructed ( Robson, 1993, pp.138-139 ) to enable proportionate representation in footings of gender, age and geographics and two of the surveies specified that all the respondents were white. The surveies varied in size: six workers and 6 student nurses ( McCulloch, 2005 ) , 12 workers ( McNeill, 2000 ) , 65 student nurses ( Barry, 2000 ) and 60 student nurses and 21 workers ( Rex, 1999 ) . The two reappraisals of literature looked at legion national surveies. This allowed the author to hold a broad and varied consensus of effectivity results.

Wrongdoers Perspective

Across all of the surveies, the bulk of student nurses understood the intent of probation and their officers were seeking, through a assortment of agencies, to cut down the likliehood of re-offending. Few student nurses regarded probation as strictly a monitoring exercising, although the bulk position was to maintain them from piquing over half expected their societal workers to be proactive in assisting them to turn to their jobs and for probation to be more constructive than penalizing. In relation to those who wanted aid with jobs or issues, many inferred that non re-offending was a stipulation to have such aid. ( Rex, 1999 ; Barry, 2000 ; and McCulloch, 2005 ) .

There was a general consensus that societal workers could non halt people from piquing but could merely assist to minimise the hazards through support of a more touchable and constructive nature. Even for those respondents who considered re-offending to be a possibility, there was a bulk position that it was up to the person to forbear from future piquing. However, student nurses attributed alterations in their behavior to their supervisory experiences was the active and participatory nature of those experiences which was one of the characteristics of effectual community programmes antecedently identified by McGuire ( 1995 ) .

Probationers seemed cognizant of the attempts required to prolong a determination to halt offending and were more willing to ship where they felt a committedness to and positively engaged in the supervisory relationship. The research carried out is conflicting with respects to personal battle by probation officers. Over 3/4 of student nurses referred to the demand for probation officers to show empathy, and 1/2 reported that their supervisors ‘ ability to listen, demo involvement and understanding enabled them to open up. Yet, 1/2 besides said that they appreciated more formal facets of the supervisory relationship, 1/3 found a certain sum of distance helpful and 1/2 wanted to be treated with regard in the sense of non being judged or patronised.

In demoing regard, experience and cognition student nurses viewed their probation officer as taking them earnestly, were able to unwrap sensitive information and took on board what their probation officers said. About 1/2 of respondents reported that the quality of the relationship with their societal worker would non impact their success or failure within the order, nevertheless, an equal figure felt that a hapless or negative relationship with their societal worker could hold had an impact of their ability to finish their order successfully. There were no important differences in acceptance degrees between immature and big wrongdoers. The bulk stated that if they had non got on good with their societal worker, they would non hold turned up for assignments or co-operated in other ways and would hold had tokenistic engagement.

The bulk of probation respondents stressed the demand to acquire to cognize the person, background, involvements, jobs and/or issues and aspirations to be able to actively assist decide any troubles. The most common yarn in the surveies reviewed was happening out what the jobs were in an effort to acquire to the root cause of the offending. Most of the respondents saw their offending behavior as a effect of other societal or personal troubles and that the cause itself e.g. unemployment was addressed as opposed to merely the effects ( piquing behavior ) .

Piquing behavior is outstanding on the heads of people who have been on community based supervising and who are asked about their positions about its effectivity, and this has been demonstrated in the surveies where wrongdoers ‘ positions of supervising has been sought. However, there are other jobs which every bit, or more significantly, need to alter through societal work support which must come from the wrongdoers ‘ themselves.

Workers perspective

Workers who were interviewed both separately and in groups ( Rex, 1999 ; McNeill, 2000 ; and McCulloch, 2005 ) were offered a scope of possible steps of effectivity and rate them consequently to which they considered most relevant in judging effectivity in probation instances. These steps were selected to embrace a broad scope of possibilities based on effectivity docket, probation policy and literature and reflect value bases for probation ( Nellis, 1995 ) . Some workers expressed that they saw directors as concerned merely with efficiency ( Numberss game ) , sentencers as sometimes caring, particularly when exposure had been identified, policy shapers as interested in value for money, the public protection docket, reduced offending and the desire to avoid inauspicious promotion. In general workers identified success with results such as supervising action programs to the full and successfully implemented, accomplishing decrease or surcease in piquing by undertaking underlying demands and/or jobs and betterments. ( Rex, 1999 ; McNeil, 2000 ; Vanstone, 2000 ; McCulloch, 2005 ) .

Outcome steps such as cut downing reoffending, altering attitudes, increasing victim empathy and cut downing student nurse ‘s demands were more of import to Scots workers than order conformity in contrast to an earlier survey undertaken by Humphrey and Pease ( 1992 ) nevertheless, these findings have to be treated with cautiousness, given the little graduated table of the samples and scope of tonss for each possible step shows a deficiency of consensus amongst workers. There was dissatisfaction with signifiers of monitoring which, in the yesteryear, had focused on quantitative steps which was besides indentified in Humphrey and Pease ‘s ( 1992 ) survey.

As discussed earlier, most student nurses saw their offending behavior as a effect of other societal or personal troubles and this was besides recognised by workers and several of the surveies provide a clear principle for go toing to the broader societal contexts in which wrongdoers live and alteration. The surveies underline the inter-relationship between these cardinal contexts and the demand for workers to back up the complex procedure of desistance by turn toing all of these countries ( McNeill, 2000 ; Rex, 1999 ) . It is besides suggested that there is a reserve amongst offense focused probation directors and staff to straight turn to household related obstructions, societal and environmental factors or other implicit in issues ( McNeill, 2000 ; Barry, 2000 ; McCulloch ; 2005 ) .

Rex ( 1999 ) identifies the relational component of supervising and the importance of student nurses experiencing valued and engaged in the supervising procedure although most student nurses valued ‘guidance ‘ and ‘advice ‘ on how they might decide societal and personal jobs instead than direct practical aid. In contrast, Barry ( 2000 ) interpreted focal point on student nurses ‘ societal jobs as a failing as this is seen to reflect a public assistance as opposed to an offense focussed attack to intercession.

Although workers believed that probation should turn to societal jobs which mirrored that of student nurses ‘ , a minority expressed ambivalency on this issue associating it to organizational force per unit areas, challenges of turn toing societal jobs and a more robust position of what probation was about ( McNeill, 2000 ; McCulloch, 2005 ) . This position corresponds with the current professional clime of narrow marks, high caseloads and altering professional values and this is neither surprising or hard to support. However, in visible radiation of what student nurses identify as of import in abstaining from offense it poses a job if probation hopes to show effectivity in helping student nurses to accomplish and prolong desistance from piquing.

Methods used to turn to student nurses ‘ societal jobs by and large reflect the findings from wider probation research which identify the usage of speaking methods, referrals to other bureaus and direct support as the most common methods to turn to student nurses ‘ jobs ( Rex, 2009 ; McCulloch, 2005 ) .

What seemed apparent from all of the surveies was a building of effectivity which, while taking for both offense and need-related results, lays significance on both procedure and advancement.

‘What Works ‘ and Practice

The supervising of wrongdoers is progressively following a groupwork attack utilizing preponderantly cognitive behavioural methods which are seen to efficaciously cut downing piquing behavior. The entreaty is based on research into North American groupwork programmes ( Lipsey, 1992 ) . This in bend informed the steering rules of NOS. It can be argued that groupwork programmes frequently operate in a vacuity and ignores the wider societal jobs impacting wrongdoers and does non distinguish between single group members ‘ hazard degrees and demands. However, non all wrongdoers have any or similar, jobs other than their offending behavior and even the causes and effects of, and future hazard associated with, that behavior can be interpreted otherwise between wrongdoers. Community supervising devoid of a wider focal point could be viewed as a constituent of alteration from assimilation and incorporation to separation and exclusion and this unfavorable judgment is aimed more at the implementers than the writers of the theoretical account who do emphasize the importance of turn toing broader structural jobs ( Young, 1998 cited in Vanstone, 2000 ) .

Changes in the manner that probation officers are trained have increased frights about de-professionalisation and cognitive behavioral programmes every bit are seen to lend to the devolution of the function into the application of techniques devised by person else ( Pitts, 1992 cited in Vanstone, 2000 ) although it could be argued that this contributes to a signifier of professionalism already losing. This pattern could besides sabotage anti-discriminatory pattern as it reduces sensitiveness to the demands of adult females and cultural minorities. Similar to other community supervising enterprises, the development of these programmes has merely taken into history the demands of work forces and non those of adult females. Therefore, an consciousness of what should alter should be taken into history to guarantee thoughtful and brooding diverseness.

Overall, the effectivity of cognitive behavioral programmes is based on completion effects. Programs are long and complex with regulations about participants dropping in and re-starting and this in theory, means that merely the full programme will be effectual in conveying about cognitive and behavioral alteration. In contrast, those who do non finish the full programme are less likely to alter. The lone reappraisal that specifically addressed group work programmes was Stanley ( 2009 ) and he reviewed other reappraisals ( undertaken in England and Wales ) to come to his decisions. He judged that there was positive decisions for cognitive behavior programmes and drug intervention to cut down re-offending but there was weak grounds for the effectivity of domestic maltreatment programmes, employment and basic accomplishments preparation, intensive supervising and unpaid work and they were improbable to hold a positive consequence on re-offending. For four types of intercession the National Audit Office ( NAO ) judged, there was deficient grounds to propose that although there might be a positive impact the grounds was non strong plenty, chiefly due to the low quality of research to demo or formalize strong positive effects ( Davis et al. , 2008 )

A chief piece, although flawed, grounds is an analysis by National Offender Management Systems Research Development and Statistics Directorate ( NOMS RDS ) of results of predicted and existent reconviction rates for accredited programmes by the probation service in 2004 ( Hollis, 2007 ) . This was based on 25, 255 instances but 6,000 had to be excluded due to hapless quality informations. It would be just to state, that there was prejudice ( although non reported ) within the analysis as both offender conformity and quality of programme bringing are positive factors the prejudice in the choice was towards successful programmes and results. There was besides no comparing group and this was a major failing in the study.

The study compared existent with predicted reconvictions for wrongdoers engaged in the commissioned programmes. It is possible that the sum of instances sentenced to accredited programmes but failed to get down were non recorded and the study understates the rate of dropout. Merely 40 per cent completed the programme which is about 1/2 of the mark of 70 per cent set in the original What Works scheme but those who completed were well less likely to re-offend than expected and did better than those who did non complete. Leting for the prejudices, this looks a positive consequence and demonstrates the impact and effectivity of commissioned programmes. However, non all programmes were every bit successful such as Domestic Violence programmes which in general failed to demo a important decrease in reconviction. Conversely, anger direction, sex wrongdoer and general piquing behavior programmes showed in surplus of 10 per cent decrease in reconviction of instances analysed.

There is an false resistance between What Works and single work with wrongdoers. Work by Chapman and Hough ( 1998 ) placed cognitive behavioral programmes within the context of desistance and single casework. The usage of marks could be seen to sabotage as an unintended effect as it has led to an accent on finishing the group component in programmes at the disbursal of the quality of battle with single wrongdoers.


The findings of these surveies confirm a considerable sum of grounds from both desistance and effectiveness literature about the fortunes wrongdoers may be encouraged to discontinue re-offending. A repeating subject to emerge from student nurses ‘ histories is the trouble prolonging a life free from offense. This explains why the professional docket in turn toing piquing behavior and minimising hazard demands to be balanced with the wrongdoers ‘ docket of turn toing practical concerns. Equally of import is the demand to develop a stopping point and swearing relationship between the service user and worker as is possible within the continual displacement of Criminal Justice policy. If this relationship is non accepted as influential and the wrongdoer ‘s ain docket recognised, so societal work supervising could look to service users to be estranging and irrelevant and accordingly unfastened to unfavorable judgment, non-cooperation and failure.

One major defect of the ‘What Works ‘ docket is the narrowing of pattern in cognitive behavioral attacks and the limited public-service corporation of standardized programmes with minority groups of wrongdoers. There is an premise that female and colored wrongdoers are fitted into programmes that have been demonstrated to be effectual with white males.

It is progressively apparent that ‘What Works ‘ operationalised through accredited programmes is non the lone or full solution and the challenge is to develop the strengths that are at that place, construct on new and diverse apprehension of wrongdoers and associate these to the literature on intercession effects to heighten cognition of what works when, for whom and under what fortunes.


The hunt for grounds to turn to this inquiry involved the usage of databases ASSIA, Planex Cambridge and Discover. Specific journal databases were besides consulted utilizing word hunts. These included The Howard Journal, Probation Journal, Criminology and Criminal Justice Journal and British Journal of Social Work. This hunt yielded the most appropriate and relevant research surveies pertinent to the inquiry.



Methods used to roll up informations


Relevance of grounds to replying search inquiry

Rex, S ( 1999 ) Desistance from Piquing: Experiences of Probation. The Howard Journal, 38:4, pp.266-383

To do connexions between two different research Fieldss: the ‘What Works? ‘ literature on the effectivity of community programmes in conveying about a decrease in reoffending ; and the condemnable callings literature, the treatment of the wider societal procedures by which people themselves come to halt offending.

Qualitative – Semi-structured interviews with a group of student nurses.

Reports on the extent to which student nurses who were interviewed linked their experiences to a decrease in their offending and considers the deductions for how probation officers might be able to actuate and help moves towards observant behavior.

Examines desistance from the point of position of a group of student nurses and their supervisors.

McNeill, F ( 2000 ) Specifying Effective Probation: Frontline Perspectives. The Howard Journal, 39:4, pp. 382-397

The research survey attempted to research workers ‘ definitions of effectual probation.

Qualitative – semi-structured single and group interviews.

Evidence of considerable diverseness of sentiment. Generally workers preferred to mensurate effectivity in footings.

Cautious optimism about the capacity, chance and motive of condemnable justness societal workers to lift to the challenge that the effectivity docket represents.

Barry, M. ( 2000 ) The Mentor/Monitor Debates in Criminal Justice: What Works for Offenders. British Journal of Social Work, 30, pp.575-595

Positions from student nurses and ex-prisoners about societal work supervising in England, Scotland and Wales.

Literature Review pulling on a scope of surveies from last five old ages.

Robinson, G ( 2001 ) Power, Knowledge and ‘What Works ‘ in Probation. The Howard Journal, 40: 3, pp.235-254

To analyze the To To analyze the deductions of ‘what plants ‘ in the context of probation, both at the degree of professional pattern and the broader degree of the power base as a whole

McCulloch, T ( 2005 ) Probation, Social Context and Desistance: Tracing the Relationship

A little graduated table Scottish survey which draws on participant positions and research the attending given to student nurses ‘ societal contexts in back uping desistance from offense.

Qualitative -small scale research survey

Stanley, S ( 2009 ) What Works in 2009: Advancement or Stagnation? Probation Journal, 56: 2, pp153

Reappraisals grounds produced on the effectivity of evidence-based intercessions ( What Works ) and in peculiar cognitive behavioral programmes.