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Guevara, Meghan

Pretrial program models "have evolved considerably in recent decades, and there is evidence to show that they can be more successful than the money bail system at ensuring public safety and court appearance. There are many evidence-based options available to communities seeking to implement or strengthen pretrial programs … Many counties are now exploring such programs, asking critical questions about whom among those awaiting trial needs to be in jail and who can be managed successfully in the community. This toolkit offers guidance to county officials on how to develop and operate these programs at the local level, building upon available literature on effective pretrial policies and practices" (p. 1). Sections of this toolkit are: introduction; an overview of pretrial; pretrial programs—risk assessment; diversion; supervision; assessing pretrial effectiveness; ongoing measurement and enhancement; and conclusion. An appendix includes the fact sheet "What does California state law say about pretrial release?"

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"The Evidence-based Practice Skills Assessment (EBPSA) is a self-report measurement tool designed to gauge the extent to which correctional staff demonstrate the skills necessary to successfully implement Evidence-based Practices (EBP)” (p. 5). The EBPSA guide summarizes how using the EBPSA can enhance an organization’s ability to become a more effective evidence-based organization. A brief overview describes the development of the EBPSA. Additional sections address reliability analysis, scoring keys for each EBPSA form, and how to utilize the information obtained from the assessments.

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A “guide for [community corrections] agencies to transform themselves into evidence-based organizations” is provided (p.xv). Six chapters follow an executive summary: what evidence-based practice is; the integrated model; the principles of effective intervention; implementing evidence-based principles; leading organizational change and development; and collaboration for systemic change. The appendixes include: research support gradient; the search conference; and key concepts in organizational development.

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Those new to the implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) will find this publication to be a great guide to the process. This manual is designed to be used “both as a checklist of key management concepts and as a reminder of important organizational issues that need to be addressed to achieve positive public safety outcomes in an evidence-based environment” (p. vii). There are six chapters contained in this publication: creating evidence-based community corrections systems; getting started; organizational assessment—to know where you are going, you need to know where you are; strategic planning—choosing your destination; mapping the route—developing a workplan; and ongoing quality improvement.

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