The social learning theory focuses on how behavior is learned from social experiences. Behavior is learned from one’s own social environment. An act of deviance becomes a norm if it is accepted by the society that the individual lives in. A norm becomes a norm when it is socially accepted. In rehabilitation, social learning is important. It is needed in order to re-establish the norms that the individual has to live with. The social learning theory explains that behavior can be learned according to modeling and reinforcement. Strong predictors of criminal behavior is said to be linked to parent-child interaction as it serves as the model behavior of an individual. If the social environment of an individual strongly suggests violence as a norm, then the behavior of the individual will tend towards acts of violence. Thus, in rehabilitation, criminals are presented proper norms of behavior through models and examples that are adherent to the norms of the society. Norms and accepted social values are presented to the criminals through socialization. In a rehabilitation program, these individuals are immersed in an environment where the rules are strongly structured to represent the parent-child interaction and social environment that will nurture positive values and behavior. Examples of programs that have relied upon the social learning theory are group therapies and peer programs. With this, it is believed that criminal behavior will be eliminated from the individual’s system.
Another important aspect of rehabilitation is behavior modification. Behavior modification has its similarities with the social learning theory. This aims to modify the behavior of the criminal to re-establish proper behavior rather than deviant behavior. Rehabilitation aims to cure the criminal behavior through different processes such as social learning and behavior modification.