The Lifestyle Change Program (LCP) is a psychological intervention for incarcerated males, which addresses the lifestyle concepts around crime, drug use, and gambling. The main objective of the program is to reduce recidivism through introducing program participants to lifestyle changes centering on the identification of conditions, choices, and cognition of crimes. The overall goal of treatment is to reduce future propensity of engaging in disruptive behavior while an individual is in prison and reduce recidivism once an individual leaves prison.
The target population for the program is incarcerated males. There are no admission criteria to screen potential program participants, other than interest in participating in the program.
LCP consists of three levels, divided into one introductory 10-week class, three 20-week classes, and one final 40-week class. The first level is a 1-hour psychoeducational group class centering on lifestyle exposure concepts of crime and drug use. The class examines factors instrumental in initiating (existential fear, choice), transforming (criminal associates, outcome expectancies), and maintaining (cognitive distortion, labeling) a criminal lifestyle. In addition, four key elements of change (responsibility, confidence, meaning, and community) are explored. To graduate and move onto the next level, participants must attend classes and pass a 25-question, multiple-choice exam (retests and verbal exams are used for participants who fail the first test or who have trouble with the English language).
The second level of LCP consists of three, 20-week interventions called Advanced Groups. Each advanced group involves 30 hours of direct instruction, which is conducted over 20, 1- to 2-hour weekly sessions. The advanced groups address three of the most relevant lifestyles to the offender population: crime, drugs, and gambling. The participants discuss and examine issues about lifestyle concepts and how they are manifested in their own lives. Each session covers a specific topic. The sessions typically begin with a film or video, followed by group discussion. The discussions in the advanced groups are designed to clarify the materials learned during the lifestyle issues classes. The goal of the advanced groups is to help clients apply the lifestyle concept to their own lives. To complete the second level, participants must attend classes and compose a 4-page paper on how the lifestyle in question (either criminal; drug, or gambling) relates to them personally. Participants can move on if they complete one or more advanced groups.
The third and final level is a group class focusing on relapse prevention. The class meets 1 hour a week for 40 consecutive weeks. This class emphasizes development in three areas: conditioning, choice, and cognition. Conditioning skills include stress management, cue exposure, access reduction, and fear management. The choice-based skills include creativity, communication, problem solving, goal setting, and values clarification. Finally, the cognition-based skills include self-monitoring of constructional errors, cognitive restructuring of lifestyle thinking, and cognitive reframing of slips and lapses. The classes include discussions, role plays, and homework assignments designed to teach the basic principles of relapse prevention. To graduate, participants must attend and participate in at least 80 percent or more of the relapse prevention classes.
Walters (2005) found a statistically significant difference between Lifestyle Change Program (LCP) participants and comparison group members in the prevalence of rearrests. Approximately 39.5 percent of program participants were arrested compared with 55.1 percent of the comparison group during the follow-up period (the average time at risk was approximately 40 months for the treatment group and 35 months for the control group).
There was also a significant difference between the groups in the prevalence of reincarceration. Significantly more comparison group members (18 percent) than LCP participants (8.9 percent) were incarcerated for 6 or more months, having been convicted of a new criminal offense during the follow up.
Walters (2005) conducted a quasi-experimental design study at the Federal Correctional Institution–Schuylkill (Pennsylvania) that selected 291 previously incarcerated individuals who had completed at least one level of the Lifestyle Change Program (LCP) between March 1992 and June 2002 and compared them with 89 inmates who had volunteered for the LCP, but who had been transferred or released prior to attending their first class.
The intervention participants had an average age of 34.3 years, had an average of eight prior arrests and had been given an average sentence of 81 months in prison. In regard to race/ethnicity, the LCP participants were 40.2 percent white, 47.4 percent African American, 12.0 percent Hispanic, and 0.3 percent other. The comparison group had an average age of 32.0 years, had an average of seven prior arrests, and had been sentenced to an average of 69 months in prison. Of the comparison group, 28.1 percent were white, 62.0 percent were African American, and 10.1 were percent Hispanic; none were categorized as other race or ethnicity. There were no significant differences at baseline between the intervention and comparison groups, except in age. The LCP participants group was slightly older than the comparison group. The differences between the groups were controlled for in subsequent effect size analyses.
The primary outcome of interest was recidivism, which was measured as the prevalence of arrest or incarceration during the follow-up period. Data was collected from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center and was collected from the entrance (for the LCP participants) or scheduled entrance (for the comparison group) to the LCP in March 1992 and continued until June 2002. Data on inmates was included if they had been released from custody 6 months prior to the end of the follow up (June 2002).
Walters (2005) also presented a subgroup analysis of higher-risk inmates (six or more arrests) and lower-risk inmates (five and fewer arrests). In this analysis, lower-risk Lifestyle Change Program (LCP) participants had significantly fewer arrests, compared with the lower-risk comparison group members. However, there was no significant difference in arrests when comparing higher-risk LCP participants with higher-risk comparison group members. Conversely, when examining incarceration, higher-risk LCP participants were significantly less likely to be incarcerated, compared with higher-risk comparison group members; however, there were no significant differences between lower-risk LCP participants and lower-risk comparison group members.
Walters (2005) also presented an analysis of the differences between participants who completed only the introduction class versus participants who completed at least one advanced group class. The analysis revealed that for lower-risk participants, the level of program completion was correlated to the number of arrests and the incarcerations; that is, lower-risk LCP participants who completed one or more levels of the program had significantly lower arrest rates than lower-risk comparison group members. However, this did not hold true for higher-risk LCP participants.
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:
Walters, Glenn. 2003. “Changes in Outcome Expectancies and Criminal Thinking Following a Brief Course of Psychoeducation.” Personality and Individual Differences
Walters, Glenn. 2003. “Changes in Positive and Negative Crime Expectancies in Inmates Exposed to a Brief Psychoeducational Intervention: Further Data.” Personality and Individual Differences
Walters, Glenn. 1999. “Short-Term Outcome of Inmates Participating in the Lifestyle Change Program.” Criminal Justice and Behavior