Have you have heard the saying … the earlier the better?
Well, in most cases this is true, including for those who have committed an offense – particularly when it comes to pre sentence intervention and reporting.
The Benefits of Early Intervention
Research tells us that the earlier an offender receives intervention for antisocial or criminal behaviour, the better the outcome. The earlier we can intervene in a person’s life – before they enter the Criminal Justice System* – the better the outcome in terms of re-offending and remaining out of the “system”. Research indicates that intervening with an offender between the ages of 18 or 20 (before they enter the correctional system as an adult), as an adolescent, or just after a first offense for an adult, means that the likelihood of re-offending is reduced significantly.
Do not wait for sentencing: act before the person hits the legal system.
Pre Sentence Intervention and Reporting: what to expect
Each individual is assessed in accordance with their offense type and presentation, and a treatment plan will be designed which provides ongoing support and counselling.
If you choose and are motivated to address your offending behaviour early, the Court/Judge or Magistrate may take your involvement in counselling into consideration when you are sentenced.
One of the major goals of early intervention is to rehabilitate people in an effort to curb their offending behaviour. From the intervention perspective, the purpose is to respond to the diverse needs of offenders, providing the resources needed to develop in a more pro-social direction.
Effective intervention strategies for correctional populations reinforce the Risk*, Need and Responsivity* model, which states that the risk and needs of the individual should determine the strategies appropriate for addressing the individual’s criminogenic* factors before and/or after contact with the justice system.
Criminogenic needs are dynamic (changeable) risk factors that are proven through research to affect recidivism. These factors include:
- Antisocial values, beliefs, and cognitive emotional states;
- Anger, aggression or pro-violence attitudes;
- Emotional regulation;
- Pro-criminal identity;
- Poor peer networks (lack of support / isolation from pro-social others);
- Substance abuse or other addictions (gambling etc);
- Impulsive behavior and risk taking;
- Family dysfunction, such as criminality, psychological problems, abuse, neglect;
- Low levels of personal education and lack of employability.
Intervention focused on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective way to treat criminogenic needs. Thinking and behavior are linked: offenders behave like criminals because they think like criminals; or have even been labeled as criminals. Changing thinking is the first step towards changing offending behaviour.
Author: Trudy Sheffield, B Beh Sc (1st Class Hons).
Trudy Sheffield has over 18 years’ experience working with a forensic population, assessing risk and criminogenic (offense related) needs that correlate with re-offending, providing pre sentence reports, and designing individual treatment plans to address the factors associated with the offending. Trudy works with substance abuse, general offending (property etc), sexual and violent offenders.
Each plan takes into account the particular needs that will assist the offender to respond best to intervention (responsivity).
If you are in need of Pre Sentence Reports, contact Trudy on 1800 877 924 or try online booking – Mt Gravatt today!
*Terms used in this Article:
- Risk: The probability that an offender will commit additional offenses?.
- Criminogenic Need: Factors that research has shown have a direct link to offending and can be changed.?
- Responsivity: Matching an offender’s personality and learning style with appropriate program settings and approaches.
- Criminal Justice System: Police, Corrective Services, Courts.