Aggression Replacement Training

Intervention; Ages 12–17

Effectiveness

(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Effective gang program

Description

Aggression Replacement Training (ART) is a 10-week, 30-hour cognitive-behavioral program administered to groups of 8 to 12 juvenile offenders three times per week. ART has three main curriculum components—Structured Learning Training, which teaches social skills; Anger Control Training, which teaches youth a variety of ways to manage their anger; and Moral Education, which helps youth develop a higher level of moral reasoning. In the juvenile court setting, ART can be implemented by court probation staff or private contractors, after they receive formal ART training. A juvenile offender is eligible for ART if it is determined—from the results of a formal assessment tool administered by juvenile court staff—that the youth has a moderate to high risk for reoffense and has a problem with aggression or lacks skills in prosocial functioning. Using repetitive learning techniques, offenders develop skills to control anger and use more appropriate behaviors. In addition, guided group discussion is used to correct antisocial thinking that leads to problem situations.

ART has produced impressive results working with gangs in Brooklyn, New York, communities. More rigorous evaluations have assessed the effectiveness of ART as an intervention for incarcerated juvenile delinquents. In these studies, ART enhanced prosocial skill competency and overt prosocial behavior, reduced the level of rated impulsiveness, decreased the frequency and intensity of acting-out behaviors, and enhanced the participants’ levels of moral reasoning.

A Washington State Institute for Public Policy study found that when ART is delivered competently, the program reduced felony recidivism and was found to be cost-effective. For the 21 courts in which ART service providers were rated as either competent or highly competent, the 18-month felony recidivism rate was 19 percent. This is a 24 percent reduction in felony recidivism compared with the control group, which is statistically significant. Moreover, the cost-benefit analysis demonstrated that when ART is delivered by competent courts, it generates $11.66 in benefits (avoided crime costs) for each $1.00 spent on the program. When not competently delivered, ART costs the taxpayer $3.10. Averaging these results for all youth receiving ART, regardless of court competence, produces a net savings of $6.71 per $1.00 of costs.

Risk Factors

Individual
Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
Developmental trauma exposure
Exposure to firearm violence
Fearless
Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
General delinquency involvement
High alcohol/drug use
Illegal gun ownership/carrying
Lack of guilt and empathy
Life stressors
Low psychosocial maturity (low temperance, responsibility, and perspective)
Makes excuses for delinquent behavior (neutralization)
Mental health problems
Physical violence/aggression
Violence at age 13
Violent victimization
Family
Father’s gang membership (for males only, but only with frequent contacts and maltreatment)
Mother’s gang membership (for females only)
School
Bullying
Peer
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
Leading peers in antisocial behavior and committing crimes for peer status or revenge
Peer alcohol/drug use

Endorsements

Crime Solutions: Effective

Model Programs Guide: Effective

Contact

Dr. Barry Glick
Ms. Joan E. Glick
G&G Consultants
533 Minturn Ct. NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124-6348
Phone: (518) 229-7933
E-mail: artgang01@gmail.com

References

Goldstein, A. P.; Glick, B.; and Gibbs, J. C. (1998). Aggression Replacement Training: A Comprehensive Intervention for Aggressive Youth (rev. ed.). Champaign, IL: Research Press.

Sherman, L. W.; Farrington, D. P.; MacKenzie, D. L.; and Welsh, B. C. (2006). Evidence-Based Crime Prevention (rev. ed.). New York: Routledge.

Washington State Institute for Public Policy (2004). Outcome Evaluation of Washington State’s Research-Based Programs for Juvenile Offenders. Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Gundersen, Knut K., and Frode Svartdal. 2006. “Aggression Replacement Training in Norway: Outcome Evaluation of 11 Norwegian Student Projects.” Scandinavian Journal of Education Research 50(1):63–81.

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