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 preview
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
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68 p.
2013
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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
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82 pages
2011
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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
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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
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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
2013
Document preview
Guidelines for the Successful Transition of People with Behavioral Health Disorders from Jail and Prison
By Blandford, Alex M.; Osher, Fred. GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation (Delmar, NY); Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center (New York, NY).
The Behavioral Health Framework developed to “help professionals in the corrections and behavioral health systems take a coordinated approach to reducing recidivism and advancing recovery” is explained (p. 2). Sections of this publication cover: building effective partnerships through a shared vision; health care reform and opportunities for expanded access to behavioral health services; prioritizing enrollment to facilitate transition; the risk-need-responsivity (RNR) model; implications for su... Read More

43 pages
2013
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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
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PREA Audit Instrument – Prisons and Jails (Pending Final Revisions)
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

2013
Document preview
Implications of the Affordable Care Act on People Involved with the Criminal Justice System
U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (Washington, DC). Council of State Governments. Justice Center (New York, NY).
“This brief provides an overview of the implications of the ACA [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] for adults involved with the criminal justice system, as well as information about how professionals in the criminal justice field can help this population access the services now available to them” (p. 1). Sections cover: the opportunity; what ACA means to people involved with the criminal justice system; the “individual mandate” of the ACA; the role of criminal justice agencies—determin... Read More
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6 pages
2013
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When a Person Isn’t a Data Point: Making Evidence-Based Practice Work
By Lowenkamp, Christopher T.; Holsinger, Alexander M.; Robinson, Charles R.; Cullen, Francis T..
This article presents a critical look at the use of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in corrections. “While we [the authors] agree that the field of corrections has increased the quality of programming and services over the years (i.e., listening to the data points), we argue that the EBP movement in the field of corrections is widespread but exceedingly shallow (failing to see the person) … In an effort to illustrate how we have missed the essence of EBP in corrections, we present the history of... Read More
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16 pages
2013
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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
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A Statewide Evaluation of New York’s Adult Drug Courts: Identifying Which Policies Work Best
By Cissner, Amanda B.; Rempel, Michael; Franklin, Allyson Walker; Roman, John K.; Bieler, Samuel; Cohen, Robyn; Cadoret, Carolyn R.. Center for Court Innovation (New York, NY); Urban Institute. Justice Policy Center (Washington, DC).
This study documented the positive impact of drug courts in New York on re-arrest and re-conviction both. If you are looking for ways to implement an effective drug court program or are looking to improve one you already have then you will find some helpful strategies to guide your efforts. This report contains eight chapter following an executive summary: introduction; research design and methodology; profile of drug court participant characteristics; profile of drug court policy characteristi... Read More

118 pages
2013
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Doing It Right: Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice
National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) (Washington, DC).
“The use of risk assessment instruments in juvenile justice systems across the country is growing rapidly. Advocates should be aware of how they can be used most effectively to avoid unnecessary incarceration and improve case planning for youth” (p. 4). This fact sheet explains: what a risk assessment tool is; the need to use them; how to choose the right risk assessment instrument; how to implement carefully following your choice; and making sure to gather and analyze data regarding the tool. F... Read More
PDF
4 pages
2013
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An Evaluation of Sex Offender Registry Restrictions in Michigan and Missouri
By Huebner, Beth M.; Bynum, Timothy S,; Rydberg, Jason; Kras, Kimberly; Grommon, Eric; Pleggenkuhle, Breanne. National Institute of Justice (Washington, DC).
The impact of registry restrictions on sex offenders is examined by determining this population’s housing locations, recidivism patterns, and the collateral consequences they experience following residency restriction. Results show that residency restrictions do not significantly decrease the number of sex offenders who live near schools and day care centers, have a small effect on reducing recidivism, and has some effect on the stigma experienced by sex offenders. “As noted the effect of reside... Read More

95 pages
2013
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NIJ’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (Washington, DC).
This website provides access to materials related to the National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE). You should look at the information provided here If you are thinking of implementing or improving drug courts in your jurisdiction. Sections cover: description of the evaluation; research questions; data collection; and links to results from the evaluation (publications, dataset, and presentations). ... Read More

2013
Document preview
NIJ’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (Washington, DC).
This website provides access to materials related to the National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE). You should look at the information provided here If you are thinking of implementing or improving drug courts in your jurisdiction. Sections cover: description of the evaluation; research questions; data collection; and links to results from the evaluation (publications, dataset, and presentations). ... Read More

2013
Document preview
NIJ’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (Washington, DC).
This website provides access to materials related to the National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE). You should look at the information provided here If you are thinking of implementing or improving drug courts in your jurisdiction. Sections cover: description of the evaluation; research questions; data collection; and links to results from the evaluation (publications, dataset, and presentations). ... 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.
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