DQ3: Using policy to affect self-control classmates post response

Please respond to the following post made by my classmate. This is my classmate’s post to what the writer did in order #503520:

The answer to what program or approach is most promising is simple in my mind, based on our readings. Simple doesnt always mean easy or viable, so I am offering a plan A and a plan B for the most promising programs or approaches to reduce crime and other problems associated with lower levels of self-control. Plan A for me is early childhood intervention programming. Front-end programs like this require investments that even with empirical support often lack public support so that in mind my plan be are cognitive-behavioral programs such as the popular, research-based Thinking for a Change developed by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). CBT offered during incarceration sadly may have a better chance for producing results because of the tendency toward a reactive approach to managing issues in this country.

During this course, we have read about a number of research-based, policy-driven early childhood programs. Programs such as the Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) or PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) have proven successful. The most intriguing to me was the Abecedarian program highlighted in our text and in the TED Talk we viewed. The Abecedarian project included over 100 children, almost exclusively minorities, and divided them into two groups. One received formula and diapers. The other received formula, diapers, and high-quality teacher-led programming beginning at age one. The results of the project showed that this program alone had life-long effects on those who participated as preschoolers. They had better grades in school, went on to college and were employed at higher rates, had lower rates of depression/mental health issues, and even had significantly better physical health.all with participation in a single, early life program. (TEDxTalk, 2015). All this was achieved by providing a quality environment, with language interaction, led by a healthy relationship with teachers. (TEDxTalk, 2015). The stumbling block for wide-scale implementation seems to be financial. It takes funding and support to drive the program. However, research by James Heckman demonstrated the program saved public support programs seven dollars for every dollar spent. (TEDxTalk, 2015). The program may be a single source of interrupting the poverty cycle, and yet it is not widely in use.

Fast forward 15-20 years past the time when a program such as this COULD have been used, and we find large quantities of minorities, males, in particular, incarcerated. At this point, policy-makers are interested in undoing the damage already done: damage that could have been prevented or curtailed with early childhood intervention. The NIC developed its Thinking for a Change (T4C) program, and it has been implemented in facilities around the country. As a reversal program, it has shown success in altering behavior patterns of adolescents and adults who are incarcerated. It accomplishes this with 2 weekly small group meetings over the course of 12 weeks. Research supports its effectiveness, and I have seen the positive effects in institutions where I was assigned. As a newly assigned administrator at a Florida prison, my first classification docket had 80 men who were receiving job assignments. Of those, 12 of them were T4C graduates. As each man entered the room for his meeting with the team, it was immediately evident who the T4C graduates were. They carried themselves differently and interacted with respect and consideration. Over the three years I remained at that institution, the group members from the original class I interacted with retained their new approach to thinking and decision making.

If we lived in perfect, there would be high-quality programs for children to supplement (or in some cases counteract) parenting. The readings support the effectiveness of programs such as the Abecedarian Project. Absent funding and public support for early childhood offerings, we have to wait until the train jumps the tracks and an individual enters the justice system. At that point, cognitive-behavioral programming such as T4C is most effective at influencing positive change.