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Unformatted text preview: Cognitive-Behavioural Group Work: Its Application to Specific Offender Groups HELEN CAMERON and JON TELFER (deceased) Helen Cameron is Senior Lecturer, School of Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia; Jon Telfer was Consultant, Professional Development Branch, South Australian Department for Correctional Services and part-time Lecturer, School of Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia Abstract: This article challenges views that cognitive-behavioural approaches are universally applicable with all groups of offenders. It examines the implications of applying major findings of the what works literature to non-mainstream correctional groups, such as those comprising female, adolescent and Indigenous offenders. It asserts that successful rehabilitation depends on the application of treatment matched to the criminogenic and non-criminogenic needs of the person, as demonstrated through the meta-analysis of Andrews and Bonta (2003) and the what works literature. Whilst acknowledging the value of these approaches, the article reflects uncertainties about the efficacy of group processes and cognitive-behavioural approaches in working with young people, women and Indigenous offenders, groups that have been largely neglected in terms of research and evaluation, especially in Australia. The article concludes that there is insufficient evidence available at present to be able to assess the rehabilitative efficacy of cognitive-behavioural approaches when applied uncritically with offenders outside the adult mainstream and identifies the need for wider research into effective group treatment processes with these groups. The what works literature has led to a fundamental rethinking of treatment approaches for offenders and to a body of research explaining precisely what interventions, under what conditions, result in reduced recidivism rates for offenders. In this article, we comment on particular aspects of this literature in assessing the application of group-based and cognitive-behavioural intervention processes for specific treatment issues and with particular groups of offenders female, adolescent, and Indigenous. The what works initiative has also become known as evidence-based practice in intervention with offenders, and is strongly associated with cognitive-behavioural approaches. In some locations, the work of entire organisations or arms of government is being driven by evidence-based practice. For examples of the breadth and depth of this The Howard Journal Vol 43 No 1. February 2004 ISSN 0265-5527, pp. 4764 47 r Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA tendency in the United Kingdom, the website of the British Home Office (1999) www.homeoffice.gov.uk can be consulted. What is the evidence then that such approaches deserve a term implying there is proof of their efficacy?...
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This note was uploaded on 08/08/2010 for the course COR 850 taught by Professor Matthews,b during the Fall '08 term at E. Kentucky.
- Fall '08