Every year thousands of people are required to take a court ordered anger management class. This is oftentimes mandated as an alternative to jail time for people who have been involved in some altercation, verbal or physical, that does not involve weapons or domestic violence.
There are a number of options available for people to take one of these courses. Many counties offer them, therapists in private practice offer groups or will see people individually and lately there have been a number of courses that are offered online.
Surprisingly, the courts very often do not mandate anything beyond completing an anger course of some sort so the length of time that the offender may spend in anger management can vary anywhere from four to 50 or more hours, with most courses falling in the 10 - 20 hour range.
The topics covered are not usually mandated either and can cover a variety of topics from learning to recognize when you are getting angry to taking a time out to understanding your triggers and managing them a different way to dealing with criticism or difficult people/situations.
Most court ordered classes offered are good and offer some benefit.
However, they do not always address the real issue. While it may appear that the person in question has an anger problem it in reality is oftentimes only a symptom of a deeper problem. Many people who are placed in a court ordered program actually struggle with more serious mental health issues such as an alcohol or drug problem, bipolar disorder, anti social personality disorder, or rage disorder which is an extreme anger management problem with that has biological roots.
Without these problems being first recognized and treated an anger course is likely to be of little help to these people with the end result being that they end up getting in trouble again and possibly seriously injuring someone or themselves.
While court ordered anger management classes are often a very cost effective way of dealing with someone whose anger issues are out of control they are not appropriate for everyone. A mental health evaluation prior to sentencing would go a long way to ensuring that offenders were put into the proper treatment program.