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Forensic Psychology – Dealing with Offenders

2. Behaviour Modification

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In this second module, we think about behaviour modification as a form of rehabilitation, focusing in particular on: (i) the definition of behaviour modification as changing a person’s criminal behaviour into non-criminal behaviour; (ii) the aims of behaviour modification programmes to reinforce obedience and desirable behaviour in offenders, using operant conditioning; (iii) token economy programmes within prisons as a method of implementing behaviour modification principles; (iv) debates around the effectiveness of token economies, suggesting their effectiveness is limited to the short-term for young offenders.


This course, by Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe (Buckinghamshire New University), explores how the judicial system deals with offenders, from both a punishment arm and a rehabilitation arm. In the first module, we think about dealing with offenders from a punitive perspective by exploring the four custodial aims: deterrent, incapacitation, retribution, and rehabilitation. In the second module, we think about behaviour modification as the first form of rehabilitation, understanding it as an application of operant conditioning. Next, we think about anger management as another form of rehabilitation, including the three stages of cognitive behavioural techniques application, and Ainsworth’s three stages of an anger management programme. In the fourth and final module, we think about restorative justice as the last form of rehabilitation, discussing its benefits for both the offender and the victim.


Ciarán O’Keeffe is associate professor at Buckinghamshire New University. He specialises in both forensic and criminal psychology, as well as parapsychology (the study of mental phenomena which are inexplicable by conventional psychology). Professor O’Keeffe’s background is in investigative psychology and now teaches across a range of forensic and criminal psychology courses. He has made numerous television and radio appearances alongside an array of celebrities.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

O'Keeffe, C. (2022, March 29). Forensic Psychology – Dealing with Offenders - Behaviour Modification [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Keeffe, Ciarán. "Forensic Psychology – Dealing with Offenders – Behaviour Modification." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Mar 2022,

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