U.S. Department of Justice

Evidence-Based Practices

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
2010
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 (Philadelphia, PA); Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) (Washington, DC); Justice Management Institute (JMI) (Denver, CO); The Carey Group (Silver Spring, MD).
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
PDF
68 p.
2013
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
PDF
82 pages
2011
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
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8 pages
2010
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
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4 p.
2011
Document 027114
Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (Rockville, MD). GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation (Delmar, NY).
“In the field of mental health, the term evidence-based practices (EBPs) refers to interventions that have been rigorously tested, have yielded consistent, replicable results, and have proven safe, beneficial, and effective for most people diagnosed with mental illness.” The following five factsheets address EBPs that can be adaptable to criminal justice settings: Assertive Community Treatment (ACT); Supportive Employment; Illness Self-Management and Recovery; Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurri... Read More
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Related Resources

Date Title Type
2014
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
2014
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
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8 pages
2014
Document 028325
PREA Audit Instrument – Community Confinement Facilities
U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). National PREA Resource Center (Washington, DC) .
“These documents comprise the instrument that auditors will use to audit the U.S. Department of Justice's PREA Standards for Juvenile Faculties.” Elements comprising this instrument are: “Pre-Audit Questionnaire”; “Auditor Compliance Tool” used to determine PREA compliance; “Instructions for PREA Audit Tour” of the facility; “Interview Protocols” for agency head or designee, facility director or designee, PREA Coordinator, specialized staff, random staff, and residents; “Auditor Summary Report” ... Read More
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2014
Document 028326
PREA Audit Instrument – Juvenile Facilities
U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). National PREA Resource Center (Washington, DC) .
“These documents comprise the instrument that auditors will use to audit the U.S. Department of Justice's PREA Standards for Juvenile Faculties.” Elements comprising this instrument are: “Pre-Audit Questionnaire”; “Auditor Compliance Tool” used to determine PREA compliance; “Instructions for PREA Audit Tour” of the facility; “Interview Protocols” for agency head or designee, Superintendent or designee, PREA Compliance Manager/Coordinator, specialized staff, random staff, and residents; “Auditor ... Read More
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2014
Document 028324
PREA Audit Instrument – Lockups
U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). National PREA Resource Center (Washington, DC).
“These documents comprise the instrument that auditors will use to audit the U.S. Department of Justice's PREA Standards for Lockups.” Elements comprising this instrument are: “Pre-Audit Questionnaire”; “Auditor Compliance Tool” used to determine PREA compliance; “Instructions for PREA Audit Tour” of the facility; “Interview Protocols” for agency head or designee, facility director or designee, PREA Coordinator, specialized staff, random staff, and detainees: “Auditor Summary Report” template; “... Read More
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2014
Document 027253
PREA Audit Instrument – Prisons and Jails
U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (Washington, DC). National PREA Resource Center (Washington, DC).
“These documents comprise the instrument that auditors will use to audit the U.S. Department of Justice's PREA Standards for Prisons and Jails, pending final revisions.” Elements comprising this instrument are: “Process Map” describing the audit process from start to finish; “Checklist of Documentation”; “Pre-Audit Questionnaire”; “Auditor Compliance Tool” used to determine PREA compliance; “Instructions for PREA Audit Tour” of the facility; “Interview Protocols” for Agency Head or Designee, Wa... Read More
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2013
Document 028352
Risk Assessment Instruments Validated and Implemented in Correctional Settings in the United States: An Empirical Guide
By Desmarais, Sarah L.; Singh, Jay P.. Council of State Governments (CSG) (Lexington, KY).
"Policymakers, practitioners, and researchers rely heavily on risk assessment tools as a way to direct resources and support recidivism reduction strategies. Risk Assessment Instruments Validated and Implemented in Correctional Settings in the United States: An Empirical Guide is a report designed to provide foundational knowledge and a working framework of risk assessment instruments for criminal justice and social service agencies, practitioners, and policymakers. Though variability exists acr... Read More

Guide - 59 pages; Report - 65 pages
2013
Document 028060
A Comparison of Risk Assessment Instruments in Juvenile Justice
By Baird, Chris; Healy, Theresa; Johnson, Kristen; Bogie, Andrea; Dankert, Erin Wicke; Scharenbroch, Chris. U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) (Oakland, CA).
“This study examined the validity, reliability, equity, and cost of nine juvenile justice risk assessment instruments. Though many researchers and practitioners believe that risk assessment is critical to improving decision making in the juvenile justice system, the range of options currently available makes the selection of the most appropriate instrument for each jurisdiction a difficult choice. This study was designed to provide a comprehensive examination of how several risk assessments perf... Read More

540 pages
2013
Document 027514
Recommendations for Administrators of Prisons, Jails, and Community Confinement Facilities for Adapting the U.S. Department of Justice’s “A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, Adults/Adolescents”
U.S. Dept. of Justice. Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) (Washington, DC).
“This guide is designed to assist administrators of prisons, jails, and community confinement facilities in drafting or revising protocols for an immediate response to reports of sexual assault. Sexual assault is a persistent problem in correctional environments with life-altering consequences for victims as well as for the integrity of correctional institutions and the fundamental principles of justice. The U.S. Department of Justice’s “National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Pris... Read More
PDF
66 pages
2013
Document 027913
The Effect of Youth Diversion Programs on Recidivism: A Meta-Analytic Review
By Wilson, Holly A.; Hoge, Robert D..
This article is essential reading for those individuals involved with juvenile justice reform. “Pre- and postcharge diversion programs have been used as a formal intervention strategy for youth offenders since the 1970s. This meta-analysis was conducted to shed some light on whether diversion reduces recidivism at a greater rate than traditional justice system processing and to explore aspects of diversion programs associated with greater reductions in recidivism” (p. 497). Sections cover: forma... Read More
PDF
22 pages
2013
Document 027625
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults
By Davis, Lois M.; Bozick, Robert; Steele, Jennifer L.; Saunders, Jessica; Miles, Jeremy N.V.. U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). RAND Corp. Safety and Justice Program (Santa Monica, CA).
“In this report, we [the authors] examine the evidence about the effectiveness of correctional education for incarcerated adults in the United States. By correctional education, we mean the following: adult basic education (ABE): basic skills instruction in arithmetic, reading, writing, and, if needed, English as a second language (ESL); adult secondary education (ASE): instruction to complete high school or prepare for a certificate of high school equivalency, such as the General Education Deve... Read More
WEB
230 pages
2013
Document 026974
Statewide Criminal Justice Recidivism and Revocation Rates
Texas Legislative Budget Board (Austin, TX).
“This report summarizes the analysis of reincarceration rates for adult offenders who were released from prisons, state jails, Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facilities, In-Prison Therapeutic Community program, and Intermediate Sanction Facilities in fiscal years 2006 and 2007; and rearrest rates for adult offenders released from prisons and state jails in fiscal years 2005 and 2006. In addition, this report summarizes reincarceration rates for juveniles released from the Texas Youth Commissi... Read More
PDF
118 pages

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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.
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