ConnexUs Thursday Talk: Behavioral Change Techniques for Preventing Crime & Violence

Event Start:
Event End:
10:00 AM TO 11:00 am
(GMT -5:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada), Bogota, Lima
J-PAL Global & Network for Empowerment and Progressive Initiative
Online Event
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A growing number of crime and violence prevention programs have sought to draw on behavior change techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), as a means of shifting the way people think and make decisions. These interventions typically aim to help participants recognize how cognitive biases can distort decision-making and support individuals to think more systematically about their situations, plan ahead, and improve their self-image, all of which may help curb violent and self-destructive tendencies.

Ana-Maria Colina, J-PAL Senior Policy Associate, will present findings from a new J-PAL policy insight reviewing eight experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations that found that these behavior change interventions have been effective in reducing criminal, violent, and antisocial behaviors across a range of contexts and populations. These interventions may offer a high-potential, cost-effective alternative to more traditional security sector interventions for crime and violence prevention.

Klubosumo Johnson Borh, Founder and CEO of Network for Empowerment and Progressive Initiative (NEPI), will share his experience helping shape the Sustainable Transformation of Youth in Liberia (STYL) program in Monrovia. This program, a short-term CBT program targeting high-risk young men, combined frequent group therapy sessions with one-on-one counseling to help participants improve their self-control and self-image and deal peacefully with anger and violence. The STYL program—particularly when combined with a cash transfer—had large and persistent impacts on participants’ criminal and violent behavior, which continued to be observed ten years after the program was originally implemented. Read more here.