Christian Psychotherapy for Convicts
Repeated research studies have revealed that secular efforts at rehabilitation have been unsuccessful in preventing recidivism. Not one of the various approaches to psychological counseling has been able to demonstrate success statistically in helping inmates rehabilitate. Among nearly 300,000 prisoners released in 15 states in 1994, 67.5% were re-arrested within 3-years.
A study of 1983 releases estimated 62.5% (Langan and Levin, Bureau of Justice Statistics, June 2002).
g., individual and group psychotherapy and counseling, intensive casework, and skill development) and reported the results on a number of different outcome criteria (e.g., adjustment to prison life, vocational success, recidivism rate). The relationship between any single treatment or combination of programs and recidivism rate was far from being convincing. In a review of the Lipton study, Martinson concluded that "with few isolated exceptions, the rehabilitative efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism.
Bush in his 2004 State of the Union Address, proposed a four-year, $300 million initiative to reduce recidivism and the societal costs of re-incarceration by harnessing the resources and experience of faith-based and community organizations. In 2003, President Bush created the nation's first White House Office of Faith-based and Community initiatives designed to send as much as $10 billion a year to these institutions to perform social services.
A two-year study, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania (peer-reviewed at Harvard and Princeton) between 2000 and 2002, showed that Inner Change graduates, when compared with a similar group of released inmates - controlled for race, age and offense type ? who met program criteria but did not enter the program, were 50% less likely to be arrested and 60% less likely to be re-incarcerated.
Yet despite these figures, only a handful of published studies (Clearetal. 1992a, 1992b B. Johnson 1984, 1987a, 1987b) have examined the influence of religion and religious beliefs or practices on key prison predictor and outcome measures such as inmates' adjustment and recidivism.
Many chaplains, ministers, and religious volunteers who work in religious programs have been reluctant or have lacked the skills to undertake publishable research. This reluctance had been fueled by a broader historical skepticism about the relevance of religion held by many in higher education, and at best by university researchers' ambivalence in studying spirituality or religion (Jones 1994, Larson et al. 1994).
If in fact the root cause of all crime arises from man's sinful nature and his cultivation of sinful habits, then it is the churches responsibility to help with the rehabilitation process. Sinful lifestyles create guilt feelings which lead to low self-esteem and a poor self-image. Bad family situations, alcohol and drug abuse, and education and employment problems are all symptoms of the development of a failure identity. If the conversion experience has a direct correlation to a positive self-image and a success identity, then Christian psychologists can offer insight into the prevention, intervention and rehabilitation of criminals.
They are integrating the research of psychology and religion particularly the Christian Faith, for rehabilitative efforts. The claims of great numbers of people confessing a personal relationship with the God of the Universe through His Son, Jesus Christ, are amazingly similar regardless of place, time, environment, or background. They confirm that Christ satisfies the deepest mental and spiritual needs of all intellects, ages, races and nationalities. This relationship carries an influence through time and into eternity.
, CSAC, is a Hawaii licensed psychologist and certified substance abuse counselor who earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He is credentialed by the National Registry of Health Service Providers in Psychology. He has over 20-years of mental health experience primarily working in the fields of alcohol/ substance abuse and behavioral addictions in hospital, prison, and court settings.
He is an adjunct professor of Psychology and also maintains a private practice as a mental health consultant.
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By: James Slobodzien, Psy.D, CSAC
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