U.S. Department of Justice

Evidence-Based Practices (EBP)

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) historically comes from the medical field as a method to utilize clinical research findings to improve medical decision making and lower risk.

In corrections, Evidence-Based Practice is the breadth of research and knowledge around processes and tools which can improve correctional outcomes, such as reduced recidivism. Tools and best practices are provided with a focus on both decision making and implementation.

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Former NIC Division Chief, George Keiser, explains evidence-based corrections.

Direct Link: http://community.nicic.gov/files/folders/9085/download.aspx

Recommended Reading

Date Title Type
Document 024372
A Framework for Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC). Center for Effective Public Policy (Silver Spring, MD); Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) (Washington, DC); Justice Management Institute (JMI) (Denver, CO); The Carey Group (Viera, FL).
This report is essential reading for individuals wanting to achieve "measurable reductions of pretrial misconduct and post-conviction reoffending" (p.6). Eight sections follow an introduction (a new paradigm for the justice system): underlying premises; the key decision points, decision makers, and stakeholders in the criminal justice system; examining justice system decision making through the lens of harm reduction; the principles underlying the framework; applying evidence-based principles to... Read More
68 p.
Document 026917
Evidence-Based Practices in the Criminal Justice System: An Annotated Bibliography
National Institute of Corrections Information Center (Aurora, CO).
“What Is the Evidence? Evidence-based policy and practice is focused on reducing offender risk, which in turn reduces new crime and improves public safety. Of the many available approaches to community supervision, a few core principles stand out as proven risk reduction strategies. Though not all of the principles are supported by the same weight of evidence, each has been proven to influence positive behavior change. To organize the research, these core principles have been compiled… into the ... Read More

92 pages
Document 025475
Return on Investment: Evidence-Based Options to Improve Statewide Outcomes--July 2011 Update
By Aos, Steve; Lee, Stephanie; Drake, Elizabeth; Pennucci, Annie; Klima, Tali; Miller, Marna; Anderson, Laurie; Mayfield, Jim; Burley, Mason. Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Olympia, WA).
An overview is presented of findings (as of July 2011) regarding “a comprehensive list of programs and policies that improve … outcomes for children and adults in Washington and result in more cost-efficient use of public resources” (p. 1). Sections comprising this report are: summary; background; the four-step research approach that assesses what works, calculates costs and benefits and ranks options, measures the risks associated with the analysis, and estimates the impact of various option co... Read More
8 pages
Document 024402
6 Evidence-Based Practices Proven to Lower Recidivism: Learning to Trust the Research
By Hooley, Doug. CorrectionsOne.com (San Francisco, CA).
If you are concerned about recidivism, this article is for you. The author explains how six integrated practices will lower your recidivism rates. These are: risk/needs assessment; individual motivators; target the appropriate intervention; rewire the brain; increase positive reinforcement; and ongoing support.... Read More
4 p.

Related Resources

Date Title Type
Document 032726
Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) Initiative Phase 2 Site Reports
By Christensen, Gary; Jannetta, Jesse; Kurs, Emma; Owens, Colleen; Rao, Shebani; Warwick, Kevin; Willison, Janeen Buck. National Institute of Corrections (NIC) (Washington, DC). National Institute of Corrections (NIC) (Washington, DC); Urban Institute (Washington, DC); Alternative Solutions Associates (Chicopee, MA); Corrections Partners, Inc. (CPI) (Clinton Corners, NY).
"TJC [Transition from Jail to Community] represents an integrated approach spanning organizational boundaries to deliver needed information, services, and case management to people released from jail. Boundary-spanning collaborative partnerships are necessary because transition from jail to the community is neither the sole responsibility of the jail nor of the community. Accordingly, effective transition strategies rely on collaboration among jail- and community-based partners and joint ownersh... Read More

Document 032671
HOPE II: A Followup Evaluation of Hawai'i’s HOPE Probation
By Hawken, Angela; Kulick, Jonathan; Smith, Kelly; Mei, Jie; Zhang, Yiwen; Jarman, Sara; Yu, Travis; Carson, Chris; Vial, Tifanie. Pepperdine University. School of Public Policy (Malibu, CA); National Institute of Justice (Washington, DC)..
"Hawai'i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) Hawai'i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement probation relies on a regimen of regular, random drug testing tied to swift and certain, but modest, sanctions to motivate probationer compliance. In two 2007 studies in Hawai'i, a comparison-group quasi-experiment and a randomized controlled trial, HOPE was demonstrated to improve compliance with terms of probation at 12-month followup, with large reductions in drug use, recidivism, and ove... Read More

86 pages
Document 031312
Victim Impact: Listen and Learn: An Evaluation of the Effects of the Victim Impact: Listen and Learn Program on Prisoner Recidivism and Prisoner Behavior
Longwood Foundation (Wilmington, DE). Victims' Voices Heard, Inc. (Lewes, DE); Brown University. Alpert Medical School (Providence, RI).
"This is a report of the evaluation study conducted to examine the effects of the Victim Impact: Listen and Learn program on the behaviors of the prisoners who attended this program. The focus of the data we collected and reported on was on the participants’ behaviors after attending the program but while still in prison, and upon release from prison … The central tenet of the program is that a vital component to facilitating change within an individual offender is a focus on the victims of crim... Read More

27 pages
Document 029784
Performance Incentive Funding for Prison Diversion: An Implementation Study of the DuPage County Adult Redeploy Illinois Program
By Boulger, Jordan; Reichert, Jessica; Skorek, Rebecca; Lettner, Joshua. U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) (Chicago, IL).
"Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) was designed as a response to the high numbers of non-violent offenders incarcerated in Illinois’ prisons at great cost to the state. Participating ARI counties divert non-violent offenders from prison and into community corrections programs. These programs are less expensive than prison and designed to be more effective at reducing recidivism" (p. i). Sections of this report include: key findings; introduction; about Adult Redeploy Illinois; methodology; findings—... Read More
74 pages
Document 029960
Determining the Impact of Opioid Substitution Therapy upon Mortality and Recidivism among Prisoners: A 22 Year Data Linkage Study
By Gisev, Natasa; Larney, Sarah; Kimber, Jo; Burns, Lucy; Weatherburn, Don; Gibson, Amy; Dobbins, Tim; Mattick, Richard; Butler, Tony; Degenhardt, Louisa. Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) (Canberra, ACT).
"Prisoners experience high rates of drug dependence, health problems and premature mortality. Without intervention, they often come into further contact with the criminal justice system, creating further health risk. Opioid dependence is common among prisoners, yet treatment with opioid substitution therapy (OST) may reduce or prevent morbidity, mortality and offending … The results highlight that the prison setting provides an important opportunity to engage people in OST. Notably, OST treatmen... Read More

7 pages
Document 029939
Juvenile Drug Courts: A Process, Outcome, and Impact Evaluation
By Blair, Lesli; Sullivan, Carrie; Latessa, Edward; Sullivan, Christopher J.. U.S. Dept. of Justice. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) (Washington, DC).
"As an alternative to traditional juvenile courts, juvenile drug courts attempt to provide substance abuse treatment, sanctions, and incentives to rehabilitate nonviolent drug-involved youth, empower families to support them in this process, and prevent recidivism. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) sponsored a multisite study of juvenile drug courts to examine the ability of these courts to reduce recidivism and improve youth’s social functioning, and to determine... Read More

12 pages
Document 031541
What Works? Short-Term, In-Custody Treatment Programs
By Lizama, Jaslene; Matthews, Vikram; Reyes, Sean. California State University. Center for Public Policy (Fullerton, CA).
"Assessing the effectiveness of in-custody treatment programs is essential in the correctional system to appropriately allocate resources and reduce offender recidivism rates. With California passing AB 109, “2011 Public Safety Realignment”, it becomes imperative to understand the characteristics and principles of effective rehabilitation programing. Treatment programs that follow the core principles of the Risk-Needs-Responsivity model are found to be effective and to significantly decrease rec... Read More

28 pages
Document 029836
How Effective is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go from Here? The Results of a Comprehensive Evaluation
By Davis, Lois M.; Steele, Jennifer L.; Bozick, Robert; Williams, Malcolm V.; Turner, Susan; Miles, Jeremy N.V.; Saunders, Jessica; Steinberg, Paul S.. U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). RAND Corp. Safety and Justice Program (Santa Monica, CA).
This study examines the effectiveness of correctional education for adults and for juveniles, and the challenges associated with this programming. Five chapters are contained in this report: introduction; whether correctional education for incarcerated adults is effective; a systematic review of correctional education programs for incarcerated juveniles—results for corrective reading, computer-assisted instruction, personalized and intensive instruction, other remedial instruction programs, voca... Read More
156 pages
Document 028062
Beyond Risk and Needs Assessments
By Ore, Winnie; Baird, Chris. National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) (Oakland, CA).
“Most assessment systems target high-risk offenders. However, standard risk and needs assessments do not necessarily identify needs that are truly criminogenic for each individual; nor do they address responsivity. This is because these systems do not inherently identify either specific strategies and programs that reflect the learning style of the offender or approaches and programs most likely to motivate each offender to change behavior. This paper describes a comprehensive approach to assess... Read More
16 pages
Document 028061
NCCD Compares Juvenile Justice Risk Assessment Instruments: A Summary of the OJJDP-Funded Study
National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) (Oakland, CA).
The results from a study of eight risk assessments used for determining which justice-involved youth are low-, moderate-, or high-risk for future delinquency are reviewed. Sections comprising this summary are: introduction; comparison of juvenile justice risk assessment instruments by agency, risk assessment model, and effectiveness; inter-rate reliability testing; validity and equity testing; and implications for practice. “Risk assessment should be a simple process that is easily understood an... Read More
8 pages
Document 029551
Mandatory Reentry Supervision: Evaluating the Kentucky Experience
Pew Charitable Trusts. Public Safety Performance Project (Washington, DC).
This brief examines the impact a mandatory reentry supervision program has on spending and public safety. Kentucky requires that every inmate that is released from prison undergo post-release supervision to ensure that the inmate has the necessary monitoring and/or support in the community. Results show that the post-release supervision program: "improved public safety by helping reduce new offense rates by 30 percent; resulted in a net savings of approximately 872 prison beds per year; [and] sa... Read More
6 pages
Document 028476
OJJDP Model Programs Guide
U.S. Dept. of Justice. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) (Washington, DC).
"The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide (MPG) contains information about evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs. It is a resource for practitioners and communities about what works, what is promising, and what does not work in juvenile justice, delinquency prevention, and child protection and safety. MPG uses expert study reviewers and CrimeSolutions.gov’s program review process, scoring instrum... Read More

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Available Training Opportunities

  • Available Online - Program Planning and Design
    This e-course focuses on translating the principles of evidence-based practice into an effective program design.