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The 4 Principles of Effective Intervention

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The 4 Principles of Effective Intervention

Heather Singley

Crj201 Introduction to Criminal Justice

Sean Grier

January 5th, 2017



The 4 Principles of Effective Intervention

Is it possible that a person can be rehabilitated after doing time behind bars? Is it a waste of our time to let someone that has been incarcerated for a long time be allowed to be out with the public? Do we trust the individual? These are the questions that many people would like to know. Some people believe that criminals can change after being incarcerated while others think they cannot. I believe that rehabilitation works for some people not everyone as I believe that what works for some wont for everyone. There are four general principles of effective intervention that have become organizing concepts of community corrections. They have stimulated what has become known as the “what works” movement. “Community corrections can be described as “programs that keep offenders out of prison but also provide for community security, and they have grown more popular largely because they are less costly than imprisonment” (Wright, 2012, p. 9.1) This paper is going to describe the four different types of effective intervention principles and which principle works best according to statistics.


The first principle of effective intervention, is the risk principle. Let me explain what this means. It sounds based on the term alone, something like allowing a high- risk offender an opportunity to be free soon or something along that line. According to Wright, " “Risk principle states that interventions should target high-risk offenders; for programs to be effective, they must assess offender risk”. (Wright, 2012).


The word, "Risk" refers to us as "probability of reoffending'' whereas, someone with low risk is opposite and lowered risk of reoffending. Those with the lower risk have better chances of being truly rehabilitated. The higher risk offenders have the higher security watch on them while the lower risk offenders, not as much. “Research shows that targeting high-risk offenders is more effective than targeting low-risk offenders. Moreover, research also shows that targeting low-risk offenders with intensive treatment can increase their reoffending” (Latessa, 2010).


The second principle is the criminogenic need principle. “The criminogenic need principle, posits that intervention programs must focus on change factors related to the offender’s antisocial conduct. Some of the important factors to target include antisocial values and attitudes, substance abuse, antisocial peers, dysfunctional families, and poor decision-making and problem-solving skills” (Wright, 2012, p. 9.1) Criminal behavior has been researched for many years and many different theories as to why criminals behave the way they do and what causes them to commit crimes. Many reasons come from drug and alcohol abuse, which causes the offenders to act irrationally and do things that they may not normally do. Offenders who are going through drug or alcohol addiction as well as low-risk offenders would best be suited for criminogenic needs principle of effective intervention. I think the criminogenic needs principle is effective if it is used correctly as it was created to.



The third principle is treatment principle, which is treatment for the offenders. I think this one would work and best suited for those that are higher risk. Those that are lower risk most likely do not need any real kind of treatment so save or reserve this type of treatment for the higher risk offenders. “The treatment principle tells us that intervention programs should use a mix of cognitive and behavioral strategies. Cognitive approaches confront the way offenders think, their criminal values and attitudes and their decision making behavioral approaches by contrast, seek to model, reward, and reinforce prosocial behavior” (Wright, 2012, p. 9.1). “Cognitive therapies target and confront these self-destructive thinking patterns and try to reinforce healthier approaches through behavioral reinforcement.


The fourth and final principle of effective intervention is the fidelity principle. “The fidelity principle is described as the degree to which a treatment program adheres to the principles of effective intervention” (Wright, 2012, p. 9.1). The fidelity principle is by far the most controversial principle of the four that has been listed in this paper. Many people feel as if certain people are not qualified to work with offenders and try to rehabilitate others. If an individual is not fully educated to the point where working with offenders will help them, then the offenders are more likely to reoffend. “It goes without saying that some individuals should never work with offenders. It also goes without saying like I stated previously, what works for some does not always work for others, this situation is perfect example of this.

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