Behavior Modification Programs Used in Corrections

  • Peter C. Kratcoski


Behavior modification programs have been used in corrections as a management tool as well as a treatment modality. Although there are many variations, the basic principle is grounded in costs and rewards. Regardless of the situation, behavior that is considered good is rewarded, and behavior that is considered bad is punished in some way. Children who do well in school are rewarded by being listed on the honor roll and receiving praise and perhaps some material reward from parents. The positive experience serves as a reinforcement to continue the behavior that led to the good grades. In corrections, offenders placed on community supervision who conform to the rules of probation are rewarded by being released from probation at the time scheduled. If they do not conform to the rules, they might be punished by having their probation revoked and being sent to prison. In the community residential and institutional settings, residents placed in a behavior modification program are rewarded for good behavior by receiving more privileges, by being released at an earlier time than scheduled, and by knowing they have accomplished something personal such as achieving an improved self-image or having developed work skills.

In this chapter, several variations in the basic behavior modification model are considered, and their application in both community settings and residential settings are illustrated. In addition, several of the legal and moral issues related to behavior modification programs in which extreme methods were used are discussed.


Operant conditioning Continuous reinforcement Intermittent reinforcement Positive punishment Negative punishment Behavioral influence Contingency behavioral contracting Behavioral treatment interventions Positive reinforcements Assertiveness training Aversive control Confrontational therapy Aversion stimuli Shaping 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter C. Kratcoski
    • 1
  1. 1.Kent State UniversityKentUSA

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