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Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2012 Apr;56(2):317-32. doi: 10.1177/0306624X11399274. Epub 2011 Feb 28.

The effectiveness of interactive journaling in reducing recidivism among substance-dependent jail inmates.

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  • 1Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, USA.


The present study sought to evaluate the influence of interactive journaling on criminal recidivism and identify significant predictors of recidivism among a sample of 183 male inmates incarcerated in a local jail facility randomly assigned to either an interactive journaling condition or a control group. All participants met DSM-IV-TR criteria for substance dependence, had their current offense indicate substance involvement, and had a minimum of one previous arrest in the prior 12 months. The recidivism rate (51%), in terms of subsequent bookings within a 12-month period, for the journaling group was significantly lower than the recidivism rate (66%) for the control group, χ(2)(1, 183) = 4.13, p < .05. The three most significant independent predictors of subsequent bookings were severity of posttraumatic stress disorder, group assignment (journaling vs. placebo), and employment status. Interactive journaling appears to show promise as a brief treatment intervention strategy for substance dependence in local jail settings and may have the potential for reducing recidivism.

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