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Clicking in Court?

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Everywhere you go

Donna DeVoist, a student of Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) faculty member Steve Benjamin, could not get away from the impact of positive reinforcement when she was performing her civic duty recently. She shared her story, which has a familiar theme, with Steve—and now with all of us.

I reported for jury duty and was given NYS [New York State] Jury Pool News, Spring 2009 to read while I waited. An article entitled "Problem-Solving Court Judges Share Ideas at Statewide Symposium," stated: "Recent studies suggest an effective way to treat substance abusers is by rewarding good habits, according to Mr. [Steve] Hanson [of the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services]. 'You reward the behavior you're trying to encourage—the philosophy of drug court,' he said, alluding to drug court judges' common practice of praising participants for their sobriety. Indeed, methods employed by the drug courts appear to be having a positive impact as indicated by the research statistics. In New York State, a six-site evaluation completed by the Center for Court Innovation in 2003 demonstrated a 32% average recidivism reduction over a one-year period beginning after program exit or final disposition."

Donna asks, "Do you think the judge uses a clicker, too?"

Source: New York State. Jury Pool News. Spring, 2009: 6-7.

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Marie Clougher is the managing editor at Pen and Press, an editorial services and consulting company. She contributes to Karen Pryor Clicker Training in many behind-the-scenes capacities.