Improving Access to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Reducing violent crime, recidivism, and incarceration are top policy priorities for jurisdictions across the country. In this pilot project, we will assign jail inmates to play a video game designed to teach and provide opportunities to practice cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles. Traditional CBT programs have been shown to be extremely cost-effective for at-risk youth (including incarcerated youth), but given costs and implementation requirements can be difficult to scale to facilities with constrained budgets and to harder-to-reach populations. We aim to test whether the key principles of CBT can be effectively delivered via game-based technology that appeals to a broad range of individuals. The goal of this pilot is to prepare for a full-scale randomized evaluation of a CBT videogame’s effectiveness in reducing recidivism, incarceration, and disciplinary problems while incarcerated, with a particular focus on effects on violent behavior. Before and during the 6-month pilot, we will work with jail staff to design and demonstrate the feasibility of such an intervention.