Thinking for a Change Group

(From the National Institute of Corrections – NCIC) Thinking for A Change is a cognitive-behavioral program, governed by a simple, straightforward principle; thinking (internal behavior) controls actions (external behavior). Therefore, it is necessary to target offenders’ thinking in order to change their actions that lead to criminal conduct. Some offenders engage in criminal conduct because they are under socialized, lacking a repertoire of pro-socially acceptable responses to their daily lives. This often takes the form of aggressive acts but can also be manifested in withdrawn behaviors, or other anti-social behaviors such as those associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Other offenders engage in planned and deliberate criminal acts supported by strong antisocial attitudes and beliefs. Their way of thinking supports and justifies the serious offenses they commit. Behavior change cannot take place for these individuals until they become aware of their thinking and see a reason to change.

Thinking for A Change uses a combination of approaches to increase offenders’ awareness of self and others. This deepened attentiveness to attitudes, beliefs and thinking patterns is combined with explicit teaching of interpersonal skills relevant to offenders’ present and future needs. The goal is to provide contextual instruction and related experiences so that offenders are confident and motivated to use pro-social skills when faced with interpersonal problems and/or anti-social or stressful problems. The philosophy of the program endorses that offenders should be empowered to be responsible for changing their own problem behavior. The intervention program provides the offender the tools to take pro-social action and change their offending ways.

The Wayne County Common Pleas Court constantly evaluates trends and shifts in adjudicated populations and develops specialized programming to best meet these trends. One methods of responding to these trends is through the development and administration of the following specialized program: