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Modern technology can be used for many things, from monitoring your sleeping baby to turning off your lights remotely from your phone. Technology can also be used to help offenders change behavior and reduce recidivism. For example, in the personal health arena, there are now many products that help people make changes in diet, exercise, or other health behaviors.

Sometimes the changes people need are simple, for instance reminding people to take medication or attend a doctor’s appointment. Sometimes the changes are complex, like managing destructive thoughts or making changes in peer groups. Regardless of the behavior, technology can help address motivation, assist with planning, and remind people about their goals. Here’s how:

Address Motivation

Technology can motivate people by showing how they compare to others or presenting areas of risk. For instance, programs that address substance use might show people how a person’s drinking or drug use compares to others, or what benefits (or consequences) they might expect from future choices.

Our courses address motivation by using personalized feedback. Throughout every course, this personalized feedback highlights negative consequences of behaviors to increase their motivation to change. Personalized feedback also challenges norm perceptions as clients compare their behavior to others.

 Assist With Planning

Technology can make something easier to do by suggesting specific steps that people can take to achieve their goals. Some programs help people to anticipate high-risk situations and plan ahead for how they will address any problems.

We know that without concrete steps, motivation to change will just stay at motivation. To help individuals make a plan for change, every course provides steps for change in their personalized feedback reports. The individual identifies the strategies that they could use for change during the course so each offender’s strategies are applicable to them.

Remind You About Your Goals

Technology can remind people about the goals they have chosen. In fact, this is one of the clear benefits of technology over in-person interactions. Online programs can easily generate a summary report that clients can take with them. Technology can be used to send motivational messages or reminders about a person’s goals at key times. This extends the effect of the intervention beyond the initial meeting.

To assist individuals with their goals, certain courses, like Nicotine 101, have the option of getting text message reminders. We also have a 30-day follow up with some of our courses up so individuals can assess how well they are doing with keeping their goals and set new ones if needed.

Apart from these areas, online interventions have some unique advantages over in-person interactions: They can be widely distributed at a low cost, are available whenever clients want to access them, and can collect follow-up data automatically.  There is also evidence that people are more honest when reporting some high-risk behaviors in an “anonymous” computer-based situation rather than when face-to-face. The goal of these systems is to encourage people to make decisions that will move them quickly through the criminal justice system and prevent them from returning.

Learn more here about 3rd Mil intervention programming today!

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