Behavioral Interventions Presentation

Create a 7- to 10-slide Microsoft? PowerPoint? presentation with detailed speaker notes that compares how behavioral theories and interventions can be used in both a community and corrections setting. Use complete sentences, with correct grammar and punctuation, to fully explain each slide as if you were giving an in-person presentation.

Include the following in your presentation:

At least two major theorists
At least two major theories
Your rationale explaining why each intervention can be used in both a community and correctional setting

Sample paper


The presentation discusses two major theorists who made remarkable contribution in behavioral interventions. In addition, the presentation will discuss two theories that are so essential in behavioral intervention. Finally, there will be a discussion of how the two theories can be used in community or correctional setting to help offenders reform and live a productive and independent life.

Behavior change is a very essential step for offenders. Before they are released, it should be confirmed that they do not compromise their safety or that of the public. The criminal justice has the mandate to make sure that the number of offenders who reoffend after their release is as low as possible.

Behavioral intervention programs are very important to make sure that they do not only reform but also make their lives better again.

Burrhus Fredric Skinner, popularly known as B.F Skinner was an American behaviorist, psychologist, author, social philosopher and inventor. Having published 21 books and 180 articles, Skinner had extensively studied human behavior. From 1958 to 1974, he served as the Edgar Pierce Professor of psychology at Harvard University. He believed that although human beings have a mind, it is more productive to study the behavior that can be observed rather than study their internal mental activities.

Skinner, who is considered the pioneer of modern behaviorism, developed the operant conditioning learning theory.  This is a behavior intervention method that utilizes reinforcement to strengthen behavior. He suggested that the most effective measure of strength is assessing the response rate. He invented the operant conditioning chamber which was popularly known as Skinner Box to carry out his study. He also invented the cumulative recorder to measure rate. Using these two tools Skinner and C.B Ferster came up with the most influential experimental work that was featured in the book, Schedules of Reinforcement. Skinner developed radical behaviorism , a philosophy of science and was the founder of the experimental analysis of behavior, a school of experimental research psychology.

Jean Piaget was a Swiss developmental psychologist known to be the pioneer in child development work. Piaget championed for the education of children saying it is the only way to save the societies from collapsing. He is known to have served as a director of the international Bureau of education. His research work and theory has made a great impact on different people. His contribution in developing teaching practices and education policies speak volumes about his love for education.

Piaget was the first psychologist in history to carry out a systematic study of cognitive development. In his research he was able to show how different children were from adults in terms of thinking(McLeod, 2009).This is explained by the fact that when children are born, they inherit a genetic basic mental structure that improves through learning.  He developed the theory of cognitive child development and contributed in enriching observational studies of thinking in children. Through a series of simple tests, Piaget revealed the different cognitive abilities.

Operant conditioning is form of learning developed by B.F. Skinner. Skinner acknowledged that human beings have a mind but argues that studying observable behavior is more productive than studying internal mental events. He believed that studying the causes and consequences is the best way to understand human behavior. Operant conditioning mainly focuses on operants. These are intentional actions that have an impact on the surrounding environment. Skinner was determined to identify which processes triggered certain operant behaviors.

Although skinner is known to be the father of operant conditioning, he based his work on Thorndike’s (1905) law of effect. He came up with “Reinforcement’, a term that changed the Law of Effect. In his study, he used animals which he kept in a Skinner Box, to conduct experiments.  Operant conditioning means changing behavior through reinforcement which is only given if the desired response is given. Skinner came up with three types of operant or responses that follow behavior. These are neutral operants, reinforcers, and punishers. Neutral operants are environmental responses that neither decrease nor increase the chances of a behavior being repeated. Reinforcers are the environmental responses that increase the chance of a behavior being repeated. They can either be positive or negative. Finally, punishers are environmental responses that decrease the chances of a behavior being repeated. It is believed that punishments weaken behavior.

Positive reinforcement provides a rewarding consequence thus strengthening a behavior. For example, if a child is given $5 for completing an assignment on time, he/she is likely to repeat that behavior in the future with the hope of getting a reward. This strengthens good behavior(McLeod, 2007) .

Punishment is different from reinforcement and it is meant to eliminate or weaken a response rather than encourage it. punishment weakens a behavior. There are several challenges that punishment method comes with;

It is not easy to forget punishment behavior. In the absence of punishment, the behavior is likely to recur.

It increases aggression. It shows that aggression is a good way to cope with challenges.

It causes fear and this may lead to undesirable behaviors.

It does not necessarily lead to positive behavior. Punishment highlights what not to do while reinforcement highlights what should be done.

Skinner also believed that behavior shaping can be done through successive approximation. He argued that if the principles of operant conditioning are applied, they can lead to the development of complex behavior if punishments and rewards are delivered in a way that encourages a person to get closer to the desired behavior.

Skinner also proposed behavior modification, a set of techniques or therapies that can help change environmental events that encourage certain behavior.

Communities and correctional facilities rely in behavior intervention strategies to help offenders change their behavior. The methods of punishments and positive reinforcements are used to enforce behavior change. Each and every day, the number of offenders who are supervised by community based organizations is growing.  At the same time the number of offenders who are under probation and parole who successfully complete their programs is declining.  Behavioral strategies are the only sure promises that offenders can reform.

In the management of offenders, applying operant learning theory the compliance of offenders can be improved by manipulating the environmental consequences of their behavior. Operant conditioning is commonly applied in popular interventions such as therapeutic communities or drug courts. Reinforcements can be used to confirm that positive behavior will be repeated. In the drug courts, for example, some rewards include being recognized by the drug court team of having remarkable progress, being promoted into a new program, or being released early from the drug court. Operant conditioning can also be applied by punishing offenders as a response to misconduct as a way of discouraging the reoccurrence of the behavior. Offenders who do not comply can receive sanctions are not likely to repeat their behavior. Some punishments include being dismissed for a program, jail terms or undergoing n enhanced treatment programs.

Cognitive learning theory explains that the brain is an incredible network where information processing and interpretation happens. There are two theories that sum up the cognitive learning theory. These are cognitive behavioral theory (CBT) and Social Cognitive Theory (SCT).  Learning means thinking using the brain. Cognitive learning theory is based on learning as its main viewpoint. The theory has been extensively used to explain mental processes and how they are influenced by extrinsic and intrinsic factors, which eventually enable an individual to learn.  To understand the different processes about learning, the mental processes must be analyzed and understood first. An effective cognitive process means that the learning process becomes easier and new information can be stored in the brain for quite a long time.

Social cognitive theory explains that learning is influenced by three factors namely; behavioral factors, personal factors (intrinsic) and environmental (extrinsic). Cognitive behavioral theory states that a person’s behavioral is determined and predicted by his or her cognition. It further states that the behavior that an individual displays is informed by their self-concepts.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the one psychotherapy that is really useful in the criminal justice system. The theory is applied on both juveniles and adults as a way of reducing recidivism. The therapy assumes that the offenders are conscious of their behavior and thoughts and strive towards making positive change. A person’s thought as explained by the theory, reflects their experiences and behavior and is triggered by their thoughts. However, the thoughts can be distorted and fail to accurately reflect reality.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proved be an effective method to help juveniles and adults reform. In addition is can be applied to substance abusers, prisoners, parolees, and probationers. The therapy is effective in different settings of the criminal justice system, both the community and correctional institutions and can address different problems that are related to criminal behavior. A study conducted by Mark Lipsey of Vanderbilt University reviewed the effectiveness of intervention programs, practice and policies. His study analyzed the results of 548 studies conducted between 1958 and 2002 (Clark, 2010). He grouped the evaluations into counseling, deterrence, discipline, skill building, surveillance, restorative programs and multiple coordinated services. He found that those interventions that involved punishment and deterrence increased criminal behavior. However, the intervention programs based on therapeutic approaches such as counseling, multiple services and skill building were very effective in reducing recidivism.

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