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Phoenix Project: Reducing Recidivism Using a Cognitive-Behavioral Program

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 28 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2003 Pages: 6-7,23,24
Susan Tucker; David Cosio; Lotus Meshreki
Date Published
March 2003
4 pages
This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of an experimental cognitive-behavioral program in Louisiana designed to reduce inappropriate behavior in maximum-security inmates who have been in disciplinary segregation.
The goal of the Phoenix Project is to reduce inappropriate behavior in inmates with mental health conditions that impair their ability to function. The Phoenix Project teaches self-management skills that would enable the inmates to reintegrate into the mainstream prison population, thereby also easing their transition back into society at the close of their incarceration period. The evaluation compared the participants in the Phoenix Project to a control group in terms of the number of violations committed during three separate 6 month time periods. Both the Phoenix Project group and the control group had similar characteristics in terms of rule violations, and both groups of people were in disciplinary segregation. The results of analysis of variance indicated that during the first 6 month period (before the program had begun) and the second 6 month period (before graduation from the program) there was no difference between the Phoenix Project group and the control group in the number of rule violations. However, during the third 6 month period (at program completion) there was a significant difference in the number of violations committed by each group, with the Phoenix Project group committing fewer violations than the control group. Furthermore, upon release, the Phoenix Project group reported an easier adjustment to society than would be expected given their history of inappropriate behavior. Thus, overall the Phoenix Project was judged a success and the authors offer several recommendations for improvements. References


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