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Practice Profile

Interventions with Violent Adult Male Offenders

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:

Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Violent offenses
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types

Practice Description

Practice Goals/Target Population
Violent adult male offenders include those identified as violent through official contact with the criminal justice system or through self-reports. Violent offenses include assault, robbery, kidnapping, gun violence, and homicide. (For this practice, domestic violence, sexual offending, and violent offenses committed by individuals with personality or mental disorders were not included as part of the targeted violent behavior, as they are often viewed as distinct from general violent offending.) The goal of these interventions is to reduce their likelihood of reoffending, especially violent reoffending.

Practice Activities
Most interventions are delivered in group format, often in prison-based or other secure settings. There are a variety of program components that may be part of these interventions, including

  • Anger control, which includes any components or techniques that address the anger of offenders, including anger recognition, arousal awareness, arousal reduction, or specific interventions such as Aggression Replacement Training
  • Cognitive skills training, which includes teaching cognitive-behavioral skills, problem-solving exercises, identification of cognitive distortions that may contribute to antisocial behavior, and behaviors that are nonviolent/prosocial equivalents to antisocial behaviors (Henwood et al. 2015)
  • Moral training, which includes training to help offenders develop positive self-image and identity, learning positive social behaviors, and using moral judgment to make decisions (Hobler 1999)
  • Basic education, which includes lessons on life skills (such as literacy)
  • Role play, which is a training method that allows offenders to practice different behavioral responses
  • Empathy training, during which offenders are shown the known harmful effects of violent crime on victims, write hypothetical apology letters to victims, read victim impact statements, watch videos of victims describing the impact of the crime, and participate in group therapy with role play (Day, Casey, and Gerace 2010)
  • Relapse prevention, which includes training in personal responsibility, decreasing deviant interests, identifying high-risk situations, and avoiding and coping with high-risk situations (Marques et al. 2005)
  • Homework assignments, which require offenders to rehearse skills or training outside of the intervention context (Joliffe and Farrington 2007)
  • Electronic monitoring, which uses cellular and GPS technology to track offenders in real time while they are in the community (Gies et al. 2013)

Meta-Analysis Outcomes

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Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Violent offenses
Examining the results from eight studies, Joliffe and Farrington (2007) found a statistically significant reduction in violent reoffending for the treatment groups, compared with the comparison groups. The results suggested that participating in interventions reduced violent reoffending for violent adult male offenders by about 7 percent (in other words, if the average recidivism rate for offenders is 50 percent, then participating in interventions would reduce the average recidivism rate to 43 percent for violent adult male offenders).
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Examining the results from 11 studies, Joliffe and Farrington (2007) found a statistically significant reduction in general recidivism for the treatment groups, compared with the comparison groups. The results suggested that participating in interventions reduced general reoffending for violent adult male offenders by about 11 percent (in other words, if the average recidivism rate for offenders is 50 percent, then participating in interventions would reduce the average recidivism rate to 39 percent for violent adult male offenders).
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Meta-Analysis Methodology

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Meta-Analysis Snapshot
 Literature Coverage DatesNumber of StudiesNumber of Study Participants
Meta-Analysis 11993 - 2007112166

Meta-Analysis 1
Joliffe and Farrington (2007) conducted a meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness of interventions with violent adult male offenders on general reoffending and violent reoffending. Studies on domestic violence, sexual offending, and offending by individuals with a personality or mental disorder were excluded.

To be included in the meta-analysis, studies had to have met six criteria. First, the study had to investigate the effects of an intervention or treatment. Second, the intervention had to include adult males who were violent offenders. For the meta-analysis, a violent offender was defined as a person identified as violent either by official contacts with the criminal justice system or through self-reports. Third, the study had to measure at least one quantitative offending outcome variable that allowed the direction of the effect to be determined (i.e., whether the outcome favored the treatment or comparison group). Fourth, the study design had to involve a comparison that contrasted one or more interventions with one or more comparable control conditions. Random assignment designs were eligible, but one-group pretest–posttest studies were not. Nonequivalent comparison group designs could be eligible; however, such comparisons had to include 1) matching of the treatment and control/comparison groups prior to treatment on a recognized risk variable for offending (e.g., prior offending history); 2) a pre-intervention measure (pretest) of at least one offending outcome variable on which the treatment and control/comparison groups could be compared; or 3) some other demonstration of comparability of the groups. Fifth, the study had to include a sample size of at least 25 individuals per condition, or 50 total. And sixth, the study had to be published between 1975 and 2006.

The search strategy included searches of electronic databases (such as Criminal Justice Abstracts and PsychLIT), research registries, references from relevant articles, studies that cited relevant articles, and hand searches of relevant journals (such as Criminal Justice and Behavior and International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology). The searches resulted in identification of 1,955 studies that were potentially relevant. Of those studies, 11 were included in the final review, and their quality was assessed using the Maryland Scientific Methods Scale. One study was rated as Level 5 (randomized controlled trial), eight studies were rated Level 4 (quasi-experimental), and two studies were rated Level 3 (two comparable groups). The studies were published from 1993 through 2007 in the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, and New Zealand. The 11 studies had a total sample size that ranged from 61 to 571, and the mean age of 29 years (ages ranged from 23 to 36).

The study used modified least squares regression to measure the independent influence of various features on effect sizes of reoffending and violent reoffending. This analysis was also used to measure the impact of the intent-to-treat group versus the treatment completers. Random effects models were used to analyze the results, and effect sizes were calculated as Cohen’s d.
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this practice.
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Implementation Information

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This practice is focused on violent adult male offenders; however, it does not include studies on interventions for domestic violence offenders and sex offenders. For information on domestic violent offenders, see the CrimeSolutions.gov practice profile on Interventions for Domestic Violent Offenders: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (https://www.crimesolutions.gov/PracticeDetails.aspx?ID=16) and Interventions for Domestic Violence Offenders: Duluth Model (https://www.crimesolutions.gov/PracticeDetails.aspx?ID=17). For information on Adult Sex Offender Treatment, see the CrimeSolutions.gov practice profile: https://www.crimesolutions.gov/PracticeDetails.aspx?ID=30.
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Other Information

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Joliffe and Farrington (2007) included additional tests—called moderator analyses—to see if any of the components (i.e., anger control, cognitive-skills training, role-playing, empathy training, and relapse prevention) strengthened the likelihood that interventions with violent adult male offenders improved recidivism outcomes. Results showed that some of the components produced a statistically significant positive effect on recidivism outcomes. For example, interventions that included anger control and taught cognitive skills were more effective in reducing general reoffending rates of violent adult male offenders, compared with programs that did not include those components (though there was no impact on violent reoffending). Furthermore, interventions that used role-playing were more effective in reducing general reoffending and violent reoffending, compared with interventions that did not include role-playing. However, interventions that used empathy training were less successful in reducing general and violent reoffending, compared with interventions that did not use empathy training. Finally, interventions that used relapse prevention were more effective in reducing general reoffending, compared with interventions that did not include relapse prevention; however, these interventions had no statistically significant impact on violent reoffending.
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Evidence-Base (Meta-Analyses Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the practice profile:

Meta-Analysis 1
Jolliffe, Darrick, and David P. Farrington. 2007. A Systematic Review of the National and International Evidence of Intervention with Violent Offenders. Ministry of Justice Research Series. London, England: Ministry of Justice.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the practice profile:

Day, A., S. Casey, and A. Gerace. 2010. “Interventions to Improve Empathy Awareness in Sexual and Violent Offenders: Conceptual, Empirical, and Clinical Issues.” Aggression and Violent Behavior 15(3):201–08.

Gies, Stephen V., Randy Gainey, Marcia I. Cohen, Eoin Healy, Martha Yeide, Alan Bekelman, and Amanda Bobnis. 2013. Monitoring High-Risk Gang Offenders with GPS Technology: An Evaluation of the California Supervision Program. Final Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.

Henwood, Kevin S., Shihning Chou, and Kevin Browne. 2015. “A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Effectiveness of CBT Informed Anger Management.” Aggression and Violent Behavior 25: 280–92.

Hobler, B. 1999. “Correctional Education: Now and in the Future.” Journal of Correctional Education 50(3):102–105.

Marques, J. K., M. Wiederanders, D.M. Day, C. Nelson, and A. Van Ommeren. 2005. “Effects of a Relapse Prevention Program on Sexual Recidivism: Final Results from California’s Sex Offender Treatment and Evaluation Project (SOTEP).” Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 17(1):79–107.
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Related Programs

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated programs that are related to this practice:

Global Positioning System for High-Risk Gang Offenders (California) Promising - One study
Monitors and tracks the movement of parolees categorized as high risk for gang involvement or activity. The program is rated Promising. Parolees monitored by the GPS program had significantly less arrests for new offenses and violent offenses, but had higher odds of technical violations.
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Practice Snapshot

Age: 23 - 36

Gender: Male

Targeted Population: Prisoners, Serious/Violent Offender

Settings: Correctional, Other Community Setting

Practice Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, Electronic Monitoring, Group Therapy, Probation/Parole Services, Violence Prevention

Unit of Analysis: Persons