Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology


Alan Hall




The Moral Reconation Therapy Program is a rehabilitative program presently in use at New Beginnings of Essex County; a phase II open custody facility in Windsor, Ontario. This study examined the effects o f the MRT program on recidivism rates. The MRT program, a cognitive behavioural approach, was examined from the perspective o f the social control framework developed by Travis Hirschi. It was hypothesized that MRT would have little effect on recidivism rates because it does not adequately address the social control bonds ( attachment, commitment, involvement and belief in the moral order) discussed by Hirschi. The records o f 134 young offenders were selected from New Beginnings between 1994 and 1995 (the treatment group) and 134 subjects were random1y selected from the same time period from Wycliffe Booth House ( a phase II open custody facility in London, Ontario). The sample from Wycliffe served as the control group which did not receive the MRT treatment program. The subjects were measured on attachment to sig n ificant other, commitment after discharge, negative peer influence, length of criminal record, MRT step achieved, sentence length, age, appropriate grade obtained and learning disabilities. There was an I 1 % difference in the recidivism rates between the treatment and control groups (t=2.05, p<.05). Attachment and commitment had sig n ificant negative relationships with recidivism (r= -.365, p<.001, r=-.266, p<.005) and negative peer influence and record had positive relationships with recidivism (r=.224, p<.O 1, r=.367, p<.001 ). MRT step achieved had a significant negative relationship with recidivism (r=-.176, p<05). In the multiple regression equation the social control model, consisting of attachment and commitment produced a significant r squared of. 16 and the combination of all 9 variables accounted for 30% of the variance in recidivism. Learning disability, appropriate grade, age and length of sentence did not have significant findings.