· Token economy is a system of treatment based on operant conditioning. It uses primary reinforcers and secondary reinforcers to reward desired behaviour through positive reinforcement.
· In criminal psychology, token economy is used to treat offenders in prisons. Prisoners are rewarded with secondary reinforcers (tokens) when they display non-aggressive behaviour. Once a certain number of tokens have been collected, they can be exchanged for primary reinforcers, such as extra recreational time or cigarettes. Tokens can be removed when the prisoner displays aggressive behaviour – a form of punishment and therefore negative reinforcement.
ü A strength of token economy is that the behaviours are rewarded instantly, unlike other treatments which reinforce behaviours long after they occur. This means that the prisoner knows exactly which behaviour is being positively reinforced, and…