Treatment and Punishment of Crime

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P1 - Intro

Modern prisons use wide range of techniques informed by psychological research to detain criminals and change their behaviour to prevent reoffending 

Mainly made up of cognitive and behaviourist approaches

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P2 - Cognitive programmes

Programmes based on CBT - correct cognitive deficits help criminals be less impulsive & change social perspectives
CBT helps offender recognise deficts and change them by developing cognitive skills
Main programmes used - Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) & Reasoning and Rehabilitation (R&R)
ETS - 20 2-hour sessions to develop skills such as thinking before acting and understanding consequences 
R&R - taught skills based on socialising as it is thought that criminals are often undersocialised and lack skills needed for appropriate behaviour 
Criminals will develop critical thinking and problem solving 

Strength of cognitive therapy - due to change in thinking patterns caused by CBT - lasting effect reducting recidivism 
Advantageous due to high cost of keeping criminals in prison - if long lasting then worthwhile
However, Cann et al (2005) found only ETS was effective - spending money on R&R not beneficial

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P3 - Behavioural programmes

Behavioural therapy uses operant conditioning during treatment of offenders 

Mainly happens through token economy - positive behaviour reinforced with tokens which lead to privilages such as watching TV
Punishment (isolation) reduces frequency of non-desired behaviour 
Token economy uses shaping to get closer to behaviour wanted with intention that eventually praise will replance token as source of reinforcement 
Aids rehabilitation - offenders don't expect reward for behaving in acceptable way

Evidence token economy does work - Jenkins et al (1974) - group of offenders who were part of token economy consistently had lower percentage of post-release offences

However, limitations of economy only work if inmates are motivated to collect tokens 
Many prisoners control prison more than reinforcers such as tokens and most likely won't be interested in infantalising nature of tokens

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P4 - Zero-tolerance policy

Final approach to treating crime

Kelling & Wilson (1982) - felt if crime was treated immediately, less people were likely to do it in the future 

Z-T policy suggests downward spiral of crime can be avoided by tackling minor crime at outset to avoid escalation 

Proven successful in NYC - used 7000 police officers to deal with minor crimes (public drinking) - resulting in crime rate dropping 37%

Can be questionned if results were due to policy itself or just massive increase in presence of officers round the city

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