Program Goals/Target Population
Equipping Youth to Help One Another (EQUIP) is a multicomponent treatment program that seeks to establish a “climate for change” where youth can turn antisocial and self-destructive behavior into positive behavior that helps them and others around them. This is done by teaching antisocial youth problem-solving and helping skills, anger management and social skills training, and moral education.
The intervention applies to male juveniles 15 to 18 years of age who are in correctional institutions for less serious felonies (e.g. breaking and entering, burglary) and violations of parole.
Program Activities/Program Theory
Research suggests that delinquent youth are often lacking social skills and proper moral judgment, and suffering from development delays. EQUIP combines elements from two other programs, Positive Peer Culture (PPC) and Aggression Replacement Training (ART), to address these issues. The group aspect of PPC programs—which has reportedly been shown to make youths more amenable to treatment and therapeutic change—is modified and supplemented with the curriculum and training of ART programs, with the result being EQUIP. Curriculum sessions, or “equipment meetings,” occur daily for a period of 1 hour to 90 minutes. These meetings are small, youth-run treatment groups with adult supervision. During meetings, each juvenile in the group discusses a recurring personal problem. The group and supervisor then use role-modeling, imitating, feedback, and practice procedures to help the group members develop social skills.
As mentioned, EQUIP incorporates curriculum from ART, where emphasis is on moral education in an attempt to help youth reach age-appropriate moral reasoning and social skills. This process aims to move youth away from appeals to physical power to sound moral reasoning. Youth are also taught anger-management strategies that cover cognitive–behavioral skills, such as self-monitoring of emotions and thoughts, thinking ahead, and self-evaluation. At the end of the equipment meeting, the group “awards” the meeting to a particular group member for discussing and working through his problem.