Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


The United States is first among industrialized nations in the rate at which we imprison offenders. With ever-increasing numbers of incarcerated offenders and continued high recidivism rates, many institutions have begun implementing treatment programs in attempts to combat crime and reduce recidivism rates. With high costs to all of society (including victim losses and costs to prevent, convict, and imprison offenders), it is important for correctional officials to know the extent to which programs are facilitating or inhibiting offender change. However, despite many reported program evaluations being published in the literature, many have identifiable flaws and few, if any researchers have been able to solve random sampling problems owing to low scientific rigor and results that are not robust.

The present study utilized recently developed scales to measure criminal thinking change and randomized participants into treatment and control groups in an attempt to evaluate a widely used cognitive change program implemented by the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Analyses reviewed change in seven criminal thinking scales from two different mea.^res, the relationship between criminality and change in criminal thinking, whether external attributions of blame related to criminal thinking change, and the extent to which IQ was a mediating factor. Results revealed no significant change and/or relationships for the aforementioned analyses. Additional post hoc analyses provide modest support for some hypotheses. Suggestions for future research are provided including the need for adequate sample and on site research personnel.