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Federal Probation

  • Motivational Interviewing Training In Criminal Justice: Development of a Model Plan

    The utilization of motivational interviewing (MI) by probation officers is explained. MI “is a communication style that involves strategic use of questions and statements to help clients find their own reasons for change” (p. 61). Topics discussed include: evidence-based practice; role of the probation officer; MI in criminal justice; the eight stages of learning motivational interviewing; MI training-a model plan; and future directions.

  • The Role of Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation in Evidence-Based “Real World” Community Supervision

    The use of Strategy in Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICS), a comprehensive model for community supervision, is discussed. Those individuals involved with community corrections and its increased effectiveness should read this article. It will explain how to transfer evidence-based practice into “real world” community supervision. Topics covered include: the emergence of the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model; the Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision-program design, implementation, and evaluation issues; and steps to bringing “what works” to the real world.

  • Early Termination of Supervision: No Compromise to Community Safety

    The “effectiveness of early termination as a measure that permits probation offices to focus supervision resources on persons most likely to recidivate, without compromising the statutory purposes of probation and supervised release” is examined. There is only a 5.9% new arrest rate for offenders released early from supervision (early-term offenders) compared to a rate of 12.2% for full-term offenders.

  • Reducing Recidivism Through Probation Supervision: What We Know and Don't Know From Four Decades of Research

    “This article is about the relationship between recidivism rates and supervision skills used by probation officers (or others who supervise offenders on community-based orders or parole). It focuses on routine day-to-day supervision rather than on intensive supervision programs or other specialized programs or interventions.” Issues discussed include: the impact of probation officer skills; and skills or practices that are consistently related to reduced recidivism-pro-social modeling and reinforcement, problem solving, the use of cognitive techniques, work-client relationship, and risk level of clients.

  • 7 Keys to "Make EBPs Stick": Lessons From the Field

    “Recent evidence to improve the implementation of evidence-based supervision has focused on new training initiatives for staff. While training of staff is important to advance skills and knowledge about these practices, training can be very limited. Organizational strategies are needed to sustain the effort in evidence-based supervision. This article focuses on seven strategies.”

    Sections of this article include:

    • What is all the hoopla about?
    • Strategies at the organizational level/completing the skill building-
    • Strategy 1: Build capacity through an organizational plan and structure that supports and sustains the implementation of evidence-based practices and quality supervision;
    • Strategy 2: Build capacity through revised Mission that focuses on the changes related to RNR supervision;
    • Strategy 3: Build capacity by planning for change in key areas;
    • Strategy 4: Build Resiliency through internal supports and learn the skills, practice the skills.;
    • Strategy 5: Build Resiliency Through Improvements in Work Processes;
    • Strategy 6: Collaborate with agencies toward a common goal of improving offender outcomes and promoting public safety; and
    • Strategy 7: Build resiliency by altering offender involvement in key decisions; and conclusion.
  • Changing Probation Officer Attitudes: Training Experience, Motivation, and Knowledge

    The impact of evidence-based training on the level of probation officers’ (POs) knowledge of “what works” in effective interventions and also on the POs’ attitudes about providing better service are examined. This study shows that “the training had an immediate effect on several indicators regarding knowledge of evidence-based correctional practices, belief in self-efficacy regarding offender change (on the part of probation officers), and an increasing awareness of the importance of core correctional practices and the effectiveness of the IBIS [Integrated Behavioral Intervention Strategies] skills ... these changes represent an attitudinal change on the part of the POs who were participating in the training.”

  • A Review of Probation Home Visits: What Do We Know?

    "Although home visits are seen as a critical tool employed by probation officers, recent evidence demonstrates that home visits are rarely conducted, even for high-risk offenders who might benefit from them the most ... Because there are costs (such as probation officer time and safety risks) associated with conducting field work, we need to understand the role of home visits in modern probation agencies and determine best practices of how they should be implemented to meet intended goals. This article highlights the historical importance of home visits as a key element of probation and suggests future avenues to inform the field about their full potential and utility" (p. 32). Sections cover: a brief history of probation-from rehabilitation to crime control and back again; the role of home visits in supporting probation goals; expansion of probation to higher-risk offenders-retaining a role for home visits; and addressing gaps in our knowledge about home visits-officer and offender goals for home visits, opening the "black box" of home visits, impact of home visits on family and communities, dosage-how often and how many home visits are needed, and desistance among high-risk offenders.

  • Policy Implications of Police-Probation/Parole Partnerships: A Review of the Empirical Literature

    This article examines the benefits and challenges of interagency collaboration between law enforcement and community corrections. "The primary assumption of these programs is that both entities possess distinct intelligence and resources that if combined should better address, prevent, or intervene in the violence perpetuated by this criminogenic population" (p. 2). Sections cover: history of police-probation/parole partnerships; research and evaluation on partnerships; problems associated with partnership; and seven recommendations for policy and practice on police-probation/parole partnerships.

  • Addressing Responsivity Issues with Criminal Justice-Involved Native Americans

    Anyone working with Native American offenders should read this article. Its purpose is to "increase the level of understanding of correctional professionals about how the responsivity issues of Native American (NA) individuals can be effectively addressed. NA offenders are involved in criminal and juvenile justice systems handled by tribal, county, state, and federal agencies. As a result, there are several levels of justice practitioners, administrators, and policy makers that come into contact with NA supervisees at various stages of the criminal or juvenile justice system. This article focuses on how probation and parole officers (PPOs) are addressing responsivity factors of NA youth or adults on their caseloads throughout the supervision process" (p. 1). Sections of this publication include: risk, need, and responsivity approaches with Native American supervisees; methods; survey findings-general and specific responsivity; recommendations-three regarding research and development, risk and needs assessments, evaluation, three for recommendations for policy, and six practice recommendations; and conclusion.

  • The Neglected "R" - Responsivity and the Federal Offender

    "Barriers that could impede the successful implementation of a supervision program (e.g., the responsivity principle) are frequently discussed under the risk, needs, and responsivity rubric, but have been historically under-researched. This paper describes an initial empirical investigation of the presence of responsivity factors among offenders under federal post-conviction supervision. From this analysis, we know that probation officers identified 28% of the nearly 20,000 offenders placed on federal supervision between November 2013 and March 2014 as having responsivity problems serious enough to constitute major barriers to supervision interventions. The most common responsivity factors identified are inadequate transportation and mental health. Offenders classified into the highest PCRA risk category were substantially more likely to have responsivity problems than their lower risk counterparts. These and other findings involving the presence of responsivity among federally supervised offenders will be further explored in this paper." Findings are presented for: presence of responsivity factors for offenders under federal supervision; relationship between responsivity factors and offender risk and supervision levels; investigating offenders identified with "other" responsivity factors; relationship between offender demographic characteristics and responsivity factors; and variation in the presence of responsivity across the federal judicial districts.