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Evidence-based Practices (EBP) - Resources

ACE! conducts collaborative and creative research to assist policy makers and correctional practitioners with using evidence-based practices and treatments. 

The national prison population began a gradual descent after 2009, lessening by nearly 113,000 (6%) from 2009 through 2016. Several factors contributed to this decline: ongoing decreases in crime rates leading to fewer felony convictions; scaling back “war on drugs” policies; increased interest in evidence-based approaches to sentencing and reentry; and growing concerns about the fiscal cost of corrections and its impact on other state priorities. The state of California alone was responsible for 36% of the overall population decline, a function of a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring its overcrowded prison system to be unconstitutional and subsequent legislative responses to reduce the use of state incarceration.

Despite the decline, the overall pace of change is quite modest. A recent analysis documents that at the rate of change from 2009 to 2016 it will take 75 years to reduce the prison population by half. And while 42 states have experienced declines from their peak prison populations, 20 of these declines are less than 5%, while 8 states are still experiencing rising populations.

To aid policymakers and criminal justice officials in achieving substantial prison population reductions, this report examines the experience of five states – Connecticut, Michigan, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and South Carolina – that have achieved prison population reductions of 14-25%. This produced a cumulative total of 23,646 fewer people in prison with no adverse effects on public safety. (While a handful of other states have also experienced significant population reductions - including California, New York, and New Jersey – these have been examined in other publications, and so are not addressed here.

The five states highlighted in this report are geographically and politically diverse and have all enacted a range of shifts in policy and practice to produce these outcomes. All five were engaged in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative process, spearheaded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Council on State Governments, which was designed to work with stakeholders to respond to the driving forces of prison expansion in each state and to develop strategies for change in policy and practice.

 

“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 8 Principles of evidence-based practice in corrections. This bibliography is not a complete list of “EBP” citations, but a mere selection based on questions we receive at the Information Center. They are organized according to: Introduction; In the Beginning; Principles 1 and 3. Assess Risk and Needs and Target Interventions--Risk, Need, Responsivity (RNR), and Dosage; Principle 2. Enhance Motivation to Change; Principle 4. Skill Training with Directed Practice (CBT); Principle 5. Increase Positive Reinforcement (See Incentives and Sanctions/Contingency Management); Principle 6. Engage Ongoing Community Support; Principles 7 & 8. Measure Relevant Processes and Practices and Measurement Feedback; Blueprints Programs; Caseload Size; Evaluated Programs, including Core Correctional Practices (CCP); Incentives and Sanctions/Contingency Management; Juveniles; Pretrial Services; Prisons; Sex Offenders; Specialized Assessment; Specialty Courts; Supervision by Risk Level; Women Offenders; Training Materials/Presentations; Websites; and Agency Reports.

Evidence-Based Practices in the Criminal Justice System: An Annotated Bibliography cover

Our scholars conduct research and evaluations to improve justice policy and practice at the national, state, and local levels. We examine the development, implementation, and impact of policing, crime prevention, and gang disruption initiatives. As America’s prisons and jails face unsustainable growth and dangerous overcrowding, we are finding ways to reduce the prison population while preserving public safety. And we are assessing whether new and emerging criminal justice technologies are effective, how they are used, and what their implications are for privacy and civil liberties.

The National Institute of Justice’s CrimeSolutions.gov is comprised of two components — a web-based clearinghouse of programs and practices and a process for identifying and rating those programs and practices.

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 instrument, and evidence ratings. The two sites also share a common database of juvenile-related programs. There are three evidence ratings in the MPG—effective, promising, or no effect. Points of entry are: youth programs at a glance; about the MPG; recently posted programs; resources—a huge range of literature reviews, related links, publications, glossary, FAQs, and contact MPG; MPG programs by topic; and all MPG programs. MPG program topical areas are: Child Protection, Health, and Welfare; Children Exposed to Violence and Victimization; Delinquency Prevention; Detention, Confinement, and Supervision; Juvenile and Family Courts; Law Enforcement; Populations; Schools; and Youth Offenders.

In partnership with state and local jurisdictions, the Institute is focused nationally on sentencing guidelines, prison release, and community supervision — and locally on the Minnesota criminal justice system. 

The Forensic Psychology Research Center (FPRC) is located at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Research conducted in the FPRC covers topics in correctional, legal, and police psychology. The mandate of the FPRC is to coordinate research activities in these areas and to disseminate the research findings to academic, government, and community partners. 

UCCI is committed to the dissemination of best practices to communities, facilities, and agencies seeking to change offender behavior. We work with federal, state, and local governments, and with the private sector and professional organizations, to promote effective interventions and assessments for adult and juvenile offenders. Institute offerings include Technical Assistance, Staff Training, Distance Learning, and Research and Development.



 

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