Cognitive Outreach Groups (COG) Program

Since January 2002, the Lake County Adult Probation Department has been offering Cognitive Outreach Group (COG), which is firmly based on the National Institute of Corrections “Thinking for a Change” Program. The goals of the program are to increase the number of high risk clients who successfully complete probation, reduce recidivism, and improve clients’ abilities to take control of their thoughts, behaviors, and lives. The concept of the program is based on the belief that our thinking controls our behavior. By taking control of our thinking we take control of our lives. The three main components of the COG Program are social skills, cognitive self-change, and problem solving. Groups are interactive and meet once or twice a week for a total of 20 lessons. The curriculum requires members to share personal experiences, provide feedback, and to participate in role-playing exercises. Some clients can receive credit for public service hours if they successfully complete the program. Clients may be court ordered to participate in the program or referred to the program by their supervising probation officers, either to increase the client’s likelihood of success while on probation or as an administrative sanction.