39 Crim. Just. & Behavior 5 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/crmjusbhv39 and id is 1 raw text is: 



University ofSouthern Mississippi
Texas Tech University

Certain thinking styles promote criminal behavior, and these criminogenic cognitions are not engaged in equally by all
offenders. It is imperative to know which offenders are engaging in more criminogenic thinking so their problematic thinking
can be targeted and altered during correctional treatment programming. In doing so, correctional mental health professionals
may help reduce recidivism. In the current investigation, the researchers sought to identify offenders most likely to engage
in criminogenic cognitions on the basis of status variables (i.e., demographic, incarceration, and mental health variables)
using data from 595 adult male incarcerated offenders. Findings indicate that younger offenders, less educated offenders,
Black and Hispanic offenders, single (i.e., not in a relationship) offenders, offenders without a violent index offense, offend-
ers with a psychological disorder, and offenders not participating in mental health services all endorsed higher levels of some
types of criminogenic cognitions. These findings have important implications for correctional mental health care practice
toward criminal recidivism reduction.

Keywords: criminogenic thinking; recidivism; crime; offender treatment

D espite the decline in crime in the United States during the past several years (U.S.
     Department of Justice,   2010),  criminal behavior  continues  to be  a major problem   in
our society, with more   than 1.3 million violent crimes  and more   than 9.3 million property
crimes  reported  in 2009  (U.S.  Department   of Justice, 2010).  Amazingly,   the number   of
people  incarcerated  in the United  States has  continued  to grow  despite this reduction  in
crime.  One  major  concern  associated with  the perpetual  increase in the number   of incar-
cerated  offenders is the financial cost of managing   the correctional system,  totaling more
than $68  billion in 2006 (U.S. Department   of Justice, 2007) and  continuing  to rise steadily
(e.g., $1 billion increase in expenditure  on state corrections from  2008  to 2009;  National
Association  of  State Budget  Officers, 2010).  The  continual  increase in spending  on  cor-
rections despite  a decreased  crime  rate is particularly troublesome  given  the recent  eco-
nomic   downturn   in the United  States. As monetary   resources  have  become   scarcer, it is
imperative  to reduce the number   of persons  incarcerated in the United  States.
   One  of the biggest factors that maintains a high rate of incarceration is repeat offenders:
those who   are released from  incarceration only  to be rearrested, reconvicted,  and reincar-
cerated for another  crime. Recidivism  is common among released offenders, with approxi-
mately  one quarter being  reincarcerated within  3 years of release (Langan  &  Levin, 2002).

AUTHORS' NOTE: The research   contained in this document was coordinated in part by the Texas Department
of Criminal Justice (Research Agreement No. 535-ARO7). The contents of this report reflect the views of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jon T Mandracchia, Department ofPsychology,
University ofSouthern Mississippi, 118 College Dr #5025, Hattiesburg, MS 39406; email: jon.mandracchia@
usm.edu; office phone: 601-266-5303; fax: 601-266-5580.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND BEHAVIOR, Vol. 39 No. 1, January 2012 5-25
DOI: 10.1177/0093854811425453
 2012 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology


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