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Decision making

"In recent years, interest in high-quality parole decisionmaking has grown significantly. Paroling authorities are under considerable pressure and subject to substantial public scrutiny as they strive to reach high-quality parole decisions that ensure public safety. In this context, the Legal Decision-Making Lab at Carleton University has been working for nearly a decade to develop and improve a decisionmaking tool for parole practitioners. This tool, the Structured Decisionmaking Framework, acts as a road map or guideline for professional decisionmakers to help them reach consistent, transparent, and defensible high-quality conditional release decisions. It acknowledges the professional expertise and extensive experience of parole decisionmakers by using a structured approach that guides paroling authorities through the process of making parole decisions by considering offender information demonstrated to be closely linked to post-release performance. Given this grounding, the Framework can help paroling authorities incorporate or enhance the use of evidence-based practice in their decisionmaking. Through its technical assistance program, the National Institute of Corrections facilitated opportunities for three states—Ohio, Connecticut, and Kansas—to examine the use of the Structured Decisionmaking Framework in their jurisdictions. The paroling authorities in these states all received training in the use of the Framework. Though the Framework has been extensively validated and its use supported via research in Canada, each state also participated in a small-scale exercise aiming to provide preliminary validation results specific to their jurisdiction. This document summarizes the results of these validation exercises" (p. 2).

Sections following an executive summary include: the Structured Decisionmaking Framework; results regarding the use of the Framework and case outcomes in Ohio, Connecticut, and Kansas; and implications with concluding remarks. "Based on the results of these preliminary validation exercises, it appears that the Structured Decisionmaking Framework can contribute to high-quality, transparent and consistent parole decisionmaking by the Ohio Parole Board, Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole, and Kansas Prisoner Review Board … Given the high stakes involved in parole decisionmaking, even minimal improvements in predictive accuracy can result in fewer victims, better management of strained prison capacity, and cost savings. As such, continued investigation of the use of the Structured Decisionmaking Framework is warranted and is supported by preliminary promising results" (p. 46).

Analysis of the Use Cover

The primary focus of this meeting was data collection and the management information system (MIS). Contents include: meeting highlights; the use of data for planning, decision making, and measuring outcomes -- Parts I and II; the role of professional associations and their relationship with large jails in the 21st Century; roundtable discussion; legal issues update; future meeting issues; meeting agenda; participant list; and a copy of the "Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000" (RLUIPA).

Proceedings of Cover

Growing empirical research finds that a correctional system devoted to punishment is ineffective and can produce criminogenic effects. As a result, justice organizations, including probation, are encouraging managers and staff to adopt evidence-based practices (EBPs), supported by scientific evidence, such as validated risk and needs assessments and cognitive-behavioral therapies. Implementation of EBPs falls heavily on street-level workers, such as probation officers (POs) as they implement policy, yet little attention examines whether and how EBPs align within the traditionally authoritarian justice environment. Using over 1,000 hr of observation and interview data with probation staff, the present study examines how probation staff understand and use EBPs. Findings indicate that probation staff continue to make discretionary decisions regarding whom they can use EBPs with and situations in which EBP use is appropriate. Findings have significant implications for the acceptability, feasibility, and transportability of EBPs in criminal justice environments.

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