High Risk Probationers and Cognitive-Behavioral Programming in Denton County, Texas: An Argument for the Use of Moral Reconation Therapy or Thinking for a Change



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Texas Probation Institute for Leadership Excellence


Community supervision has seen a shift from community supervision officers (CSOs) acting as a case manager to a change agent. With this shift in focus, there has been an emphasis on addressing criminogenic needs through the use of the Risk-Needs- Responsivity (RNR) model. A tenet of this model is that cognitive-behavior interventions should be used to target behavior and attitude change among persons at highest risk of reoffending. While felony revocation rates have held steady in the state of Texas, it is important for community supervision and corrections departments (CSCDs) to continue to work to rehabilitate those most at risk of reoffending for public safety reasons. Common programs used to help lower recidivism rates include Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) and Thinking for a Change (T4C). In Denton County, Texas specifically, high risk probationers should be required to complete one of these programs. Program efficacy has been well-established for MRT and T4C in reducing recidivism rates. Barriers to consider when implementing this policy change include the length and cost of the programs. However, longer programming has been found to be effective in reducing recidivism among high risk probationers, and the cost of the program could be offset by departmental assistance. If this requirement is approved, the department needs to take into consideration increasing departmental assistance, training staff in the implementation of one or both programs, and creating a sound policy regarding this requirement.



Cognitive-Behavioral programming, Denton County, Texas, Community supervision, community supervision officers, criminogenic needs, risk-needs-responsivity model, cognitive-behavior interventions, felony revocation rates, Moral Reconation Therapy, Thinking for a change, recidivism, hish risk probationers, community supervision and corrections departments