A Pilot RCT of a Values-Based Mindfulness Group Intervention with Jail Inmates: Evidence for Reduction in Post-Release Risk Behavior
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This study pilot-tested a values and mindfulness-based intervention (Re-Entry Values and Mindfulness Program: REVAMP) in a sample of male jail inmates. REVAMP aimed to reduce post-release risky behavior by targeting dimensions of mindfulness (e.g., willingness/acceptance) and associated proximal outcomes/ mechanisms of action (emotion regulation, self-control, shame/guilt). Inmates were randomly assigned to REVAMP (n = 21) or treatment as usual (TAU, n = 19). Attendance and feedback supported REVAMP’s feasibility and acceptability. At post-treatment, ANCOVAs showed that the REVAMP group increased more on willingness/acceptance, self-judgment, and shame relative to TAU. Relative increases in willingness/acceptance persisted at 3-month post-release. Criminal activity was assessed by self-report at 3 months post-release and official criminal records at 3 years post-release. At both time points, there was a marginally statistically significant trend of medium effect size for lower criminal recidivism in the REVAMP group compared to TAU. There were no statistically significant differences in self-reported post-release substance misuse. This pilot RCT indicated mindfulness-based interventions may hold promise for reducing inmates’ post-release risky behavior and encourages future research in this area.
KeywordsMindfulness Criminal behavior Substance abuse Jail inmates Values
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All participants underwent a process of informed consent, which stressed the voluntary nature of participation and the confidentiality of data. Data are protected by a Certificate of Confidentiality from Department of Health and Human Services. All research procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the researchers’ university. This research was supported by a grant from the Center for Consciousness and Transformation (CCT) at George Mason University and by two grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): #R01 DA14694 to June P. Tangney and #F31DA029397 to Elizabeth Malouf. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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