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The effects of cognitive behavioral therapy on recidivism among parolees in Central America: evidence from a Honduran experiment



Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown promise as a tool for rehabilitating offenders in the USA and other developed nations. However, little is known about the effectiveness of CBT outside the developed world. In Central America, a region wracked by rampant violence and disorder, CBT has the potential to change the behavior of persistent offenders and improve public safety. The present study examines the results of a CBT among supervised offenders in Honduras.


Randomized control trial, where one hundred parolees were randomly assigned to either a treatment (n = 50) or control conditions (n = 50) group and tracked for 14 months.


Subjects who participated in the CBT program were 69% less likely to reoffend at any compared with those assigned to the control group.


Despite social, economic obstacles, CBT proved to be effective in reducing recidivism among parolees in Honduras—a testament to its robustness and wide applicability.

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  1. Participants who failed prior to start of the program were dropped from the survival analysis. Survival models analyze risk over time. Once a participant enters the observation time, he/she is included in the analysis until failure.


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Correspondence to Joel A. Capellan.

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Capellan, J.A., Koppel, S. & Sung, HE. The effects of cognitive behavioral therapy on recidivism among parolees in Central America: evidence from a Honduran experiment. J Exp Criminol 18, 115–128 (2022).

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  • Rehabilitation
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Recidivism
  • Central America
  • Honduras