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How JUMPSTART Addresses Criminal Thinking & Behaviors

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

JUMPSTART stands as a beacon in rehabilitative and transformative programming, demonstrating the power of harmonizing faith-based discipleship with the rigors of social science research.

At its heart, the program is grounded in the journey toward becoming a mature disciple in Christ, emphasizing the growth, understanding, and responsibilities that accompany such spiritual progression. Yet, JUMPSTART doesn't limit itself to theological exploration alone. It actively integrates the latest findings from social science, ensuring that participants benefit from a holistic blend of spiritual depth and evidence-based insights. This convergence reinforces the idea that the path to discipleship in Christ and the revelations from scientific research are not contradictory but can beautifully amplify each other.

Through this article, we dive into the depth of JUMPSTART’s approach, showcasing how it weaves the profound journey of Christian discipleship with the illuminating discoveries of modern social science to forge a transformative path for its participants.

Antisocial Beliefs and Values

JUMPSTART is meticulously designed to foster self-awareness concerning cognitive distortions frequently identified among incarcerated individuals. As noted by Cullen et al. (2017), these distortions can manifest as exaggerated entitlement senses, misinterpretations of reality, tendencies for self-justification, externalized blame, and distrust toward institutional structures. Such misconceptions can lead to erroneous interpretations of benign behaviors as threatening. Through its programming, JUMPSTART provides tools for participants to detect and rectify these antisocial patterns.

Substance Abuse There's a well-established connection between substance abuse and criminal activities (King & Delfabbro, 2019). Although JUMPSTART isn’t exclusively geared towards substance abuse intervention, its significant reductions in recidivism and participant testimonials indicate its potential to curb substance-related criminal behaviors. Emphasizing personal purpose as a transformative tool, the program inspires participants with success stories of those who've navigated the challenges of addiction and criminality.

Antisocial Peers Recent research, such as that conducted by Monahan et al. (2020), reinforces the notion that an individual’s peer group significantly influences criminal behavior. When surrounded by peers involved in illicit activities, one's likelihood of participating increases. JUMPSTART educates participants on the profound impact of their social circles, providing strategies for resisting negative influences while fostering positive peer interactions. This is achieved through mechanisms like peer mentorship and community volunteer engagement, creating supportive social networks for participants during and post-incarceration.

Family Dysfunction The family's role in shaping early behavior and attitudes is crucial, with contemporary research underscoring its impact on eventual outcomes (Smith et al., 2018). Families marked by dysfunction, substance misuse, and criminal behaviors often instigate harmful behavioral patterns. Recognizing this, JUMPSTART delves deep into these issues, offering holistic solutions for participants to confront and transform these ingrained challenges.

If you'd like to discuss any of this further or are interested in having me come and share with a group or team, I'd love to hear from you by email at

By: Dr. Cary Sanders,



  • Cullen, F. T., Jonson, C. L., & Nagin, D. S. (2017). Prisons do not reduce recidivism: The high cost of ignoring science. The Prison Journal, 97(4), 389-404.

  • King, D. L., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2019). The cognitive psychology of Internet gaming disorder. Clinical Psychology Review, 68, 1-13.

  • Monahan, K. C., King, K. M., Shulman, E. P., Cauffman, E., & Chassin, L. (2020). The effects of violence exposure on the development of impulse control and future orientation across adolescence and early adulthood: Time-specific and generalized effects in a sample of juvenile offenders. Development and Psychopathology, 32(2), 509-521.

  • Smith, C. A., Ireland, T. O., & Thornberry, T. P. (2018). Adolescent maltreatment and its impact on young adult antisocial behavior. Child Abuse & Neglect, 84, 313-322.

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