Criminal Attitudes Program (CAP) (c)

Theory, research, and practice show that criminal attitudes play a powerful role in criminal behavior. The Criminal Attitudes Program (CAP) is a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral program that focuses specifically on the attitudes, values, beliefs, and rationalizations conducive to criminality. It is designed to specifically target criminal cognitions (i.e., content) rather than process based factors (e.g., impulsivity, problem-solving). The program consists of 22 two hour group sessions for a total of 44 hours of intervention. Course material is presented using a variety of instructional techniques (e.g., lectures, discussions, movies, homework, and role-plays). The modules are listed below.



# of Sessions

1. Pre-Assessment client interview, pre assessment testing


2. Introduction program outline, expectations, rules


3. Assessment Review testing feedback


4. Definitions (attitudes) attitudes, attitude-behavior


5. Movie pre-treatment attitude identification


6. Definitions (crime) crime, criminal attitudes-behavior


7. Moral Reasoning morals, morals-behavior


8. Criminal Rationalizations neutralizations


9. Cycle of Offending motivation-situation-attitude model


10. Risk Factors Big “10” predispositions to crime


11. Companions criminal values, companions, etc.


12. Prosocial Skills being a ‘straight-Up’


13. Relapse Prevention avoiding temptations and problems


14. Movie post-treatment attitude identification


15. Post-Assessment post-assessment testing


Module Summaries

Module 1. Pre-Program Assessment

The purpose of this module is two-fold: 1) to describe the nature of the program and explain to participants some of the reasons they were referred and 2) to collect structured assessment information to establish the initial level of criminal attitudes. Each participant must complete a series of questionnaires relevant to the program targets. The results of these tests provide an initial measure of the level of criminal attitudes the client holds. These measures are also useful in screening out any participant who may have low criminal attitudes and therefore may not need to attend the program.

The tests included in the pre-program questionnaire package include measures of criminal attitudes (Criminal Sentiments Scale-Modified, Pride in Delinquency, Criminal Expectancy, Phoenix Opinion Survey), faking (Paulhus Deception Scales), hostility (Hostile Interpretations Questionnaire), and motivation (Self-improvement Orientation Survey). A brief content test is also administered.

Module 2. Introduction

The purpose of this module is to introduce each participant and the program facilitator(s), and to outline the purpose and structure of the program. This segment is important because comfort with the setting enables participants become more self-disclosing and thus increases the likelihood of program gains.

Module 3. Assessment Review

The purpose of this module is two-fold: 1) to provide feedback to clients on their pre-program questionnaire results and 2) to allow clients to develop an appreciation for their personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to criminal attitudes. This is important because feedback on current behavior serves an important motivational function toward behavior change. The focus of the module is the review of each participant’s pre-treatment assessment scores using a profile plot of scores.

Module 4. Definitions (Attitudes)

The purpose of this module is to define the general concepts of attitudes and behaviors, and the relationship between them. The idea that attitudes are essentially cognitions (i.e., opinions) is explained, as is the notion that there is a link between thinking and acting.

Module 5. Movie

This module consists of a pre-treatment presentation of criminal lifestyle/ subculture as depicted in the mass media. A movie is shown to provide a forum for discussion of criminal attitudes based on a mass media presentation of criminal activity. It is also used to introduce participants to the skill of identifying criminal attitudes.

Module 6. Definitions (Crime)

The purpose of this module is to introduce the basic concepts of Crime, Criminal behavior, and the consequences of crime. The concept of Criminal Attitudes and its link with criminal behavior are introduced.

Module 7. Moral Reasoning

The purpose of this module is to introduce basic concepts of morals and moral reasoning and their relationship to behavior. Because there are extensive programs for moral reasoning, this module is designed to specifically emphasize the relationship between morals, criminal attitudes, and criminal behavior.

Module 8. Criminal Rationalizations

Rationalizations, and particularly specific types of criminal rationalizations, play a key role in offending behavior. This module is designed to outline the concept of criminal rationalizations and the how, when, and why they are used. The focus is on specific types of criminal rationalizations.

Module 9. Cycle of Offending

The purpose of this module is to describe three components that lead to offending and reoffending (e.g., circumstance, attitudes, and motivation) and how they interact to influence decision making about criminal behavior.

Module 10. Risk Factors

This module introduces common risk factors that increase the likelihood of criminal behavior. It is designed to assist each participant in identifying their unique risk factor profile.

Module 11. Companions

Companions have a significant influence on a person’s behavior and it is one of the strongest risk factors identified in the correctional literature. This module is designed to emphasize to participants that their friends and associates can play a large role in their offending behavior. Strategies for avoiding negative companions and developing prosocial peers is also discussed.

Module 12. Prosocial Skills: On Being a “Straight-Up”

The purpose of this module is to emphasize that participants have prosocial skills and abilities that can be used to adopt a positive lifestyle. The notion of criminal self-fulfilling expectations is also discussed.

Module 13. Relapse Prevention

The purpose of this module is to understand how to maintain behavior change and avoid relapsing to previous negative behaviors. Emphasis is placed on criminal attitude triggers.

Module 14. Movie

The purpose of showing the movie at the end of the program is to assess the degree to which participants can related CAP material in a mass media presentation of criminal activity.


Module 15. Post-Program Assessment

The purpose of this module is to collect structured assessment information to determine client specific change in regard to criminal attitudes.

CAP Program Evaluation Strategy

One of the important features of the CAP is that it has a comprehensive evaluation strategy built into the program. Information is collected from several sources such as pre-post assessment measures, pre-post content tests, graded homework assignments, session content tests, and facilitator session ratings. These data are used in the clinical evaluation of each participant, while the aggregate data is then used within the larger program evaluation context. This approach enables a solid basis upon which to evaluate each participant’s performance, and it provides a standardized format for examining the utility of the program across groups, time, etc..




  • Asha Cordas says:

    Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include approximately all significant infos. I?¦d like to see more posts like this .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.