AGGRESSION REPLACEMENT TRAINING (ART) Information for Sentencers What is Aggression Replacement Training?

Aggression Replacement Training (known as ART for short) is an offence-specific groupwork programme – one of a number of programmes that are independently accredited for use in England and Wales. Accredited offending behaviour programmes are part of the Probation Service’s What Works initiative, which aims to reduce reconviction rates by providing types of supervision for offenders which are based on research and sound evidence. These approaches or ‘programmes’ are effective in changing the way offenders think and behave. ART consists of: • 18 intensive groupwork sessions • 6 structured pre-group sessions and • 6 structured post-group sessions Who is it for? ART is aimed at offenders in the medium and medium-high risk of reconviction groups because available evidence suggests that it is most effective with these groups. It is specifically designed for offenders with a history of violent behaviour – this may be evidenced through convictions or through the offenders’ own accounts of their past behaviour. There should be at least two offences or incidents of violent behaviour within the past four years. ART addresses violent behaviour associated with poor anger control. Robbery and domestic violence tend to be ‘instrumental’ or calculating, rather than being committed in anger, so offences or behaviour of this nature do not count towards eligibility for the programme. Once an offender’s eligibility for the programme has been established, his or her suitability is assessed. To be selected for the programme, offenders must have at least two of the four deficits (or 'needs') that the programme addresses. These are: poor moral reasoning; inability to handle social situations that could lead to conflict; poor anger control; and attitudes that support violent offending. Programme content ART is based on the assumption that offending has multiple causes both within and external to the offender. Offenders are characteristically weak or lacking in a broad array of personal, interpersonal and social cognitive skills that together constitute pro-social behaviour. These

include impulsiveness, an over-reliance on aggressive means for achieving goals, poor selfcontrol, and moral reasoning at an elementary level (characterised by egocentric thinking and an inability to deal with abstract ideas or principles). The ART programme consists of three components: • • • Skillstreaming. This is the behavioural element of the programme. It is designed to enhance pro-social skills levels using practice, rehearsal, feedback and techniques to help the offender to transfer the learning into real-life situations. Anger control training. This is the affective (emotions-related) element of the programme. It consists of teaching and practice in anger control techniques in the context of situations which have previously led to anger. Moral reasoning. This is the cognitive (thinking-related) element of the programme. Having acquired the social skills and the ability to manage emotions that are necessary to be able to respond to real situations effectively, offenders must choose to use these skills when it counts if they are to manage their impulsive anger. Training in moral reasoning is used to increase the likelihood of this.

Diversity The National Probation Service recognises that women, minority ethnic offenders, those with a disability or other special needs may have additional issues. These issues will be fully addressed in order that they derive maximum benefit from Aggression Replacement Training. The programme is approved as an additional requirement of a Community Rehabilitation Order or a Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Order in accordance with the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. Supervision of the order will begin Immediately and commencement of the groupwork programme will be with the first available place following appearance in court. Attendance at the full programme, which includes the 18 group work sessions, six pre-group sessions and six post-programme sessions is monitored in accordance with Home Office standards. Any breach of attendance or conditions will be dealt with appropriately and may see the offender returned to court.

National Probation Directorate

National Probation Service for England and Wales
This programme has been accredited by the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel (CSAP) for use in England and Wales (2001)