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What is the most effective way to motivate offenders to partake in appropriate treatment services? Can computerized brief therapies be effective for a criminal justice client?   

These questions will be answered by this study, Motivational Assistance Program to Initiate Treatment (MAPIT), funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and led by Drs. Faye Taxman (George Mason University) and Scott Walters (University of North Texas Health Science Center). MAPIT is the first study examining two different modes of delivering motivational interviewing (i.e., in-person versus computerized program) in a criminal justice population. Both of these delivery modes are two session interventions delivered at the beginning of a client’s probation.

mapit MAPIT is a fully automated, interactive program that targets the individual’s internal motivations to make changes in substance abuse (alcohol and drugs) and related behavior (HIV risk, offending risks). The program uses text-to-speech technology that allows the narrator to read (almost) anything so that script could be very dynamic and customized. Following the tenets of MI, the program tailors all reflections, information, or suggestions based on the participant’s responses throughout the session and participant information collected before the session.
Supporting the extended parallel process model, both MAPIT and the face-to-face MI sessions produce customized feedback reports for the client to take with them after the sessions.
MAPIT provides the client personalized feedback about their potential risk of recidivism based on their criminal justice background and current dynamic factors (e.g., criminal peers, family ties, substance use). In presenting clients with these risks, MAPIT offers clients the ability to test how changing some of these risks (e.g., criminal peers, employment, substance use) may impact their risk of recidivism.

Walters, ST, Ondersma, SJ, Ingersoll, KS, Rodriguez, M, Lerch, J, Rossheim, ME, & Taxman, FS (2014). MAPIT: development of a web-based intervention targeting substance abuse treatment in the criminal justice system. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 46(1), 60-65.

Walters, ST, Ressler, E, Douglas, L, & Taxman, FS (Sept-Oct 2013). Motivational Interviewing in Criminal Justice: A new approach to addressing treatment motivation and related behaviors. Counselor Magazine, 48-53.


More clips from MAPIT:


See the feedback to clients concerning:



  For more information:  
Jennifer Lerch
Phone: 703-993-4832
To read more about MAPIT read the press release from ASPPH here

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