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Evidence-based practice

"Moving knowledge about evidence-based practices (EBPs) from research into practice in the justice and treatment systems is essential for improving both offender (client-level) and system-level outcomes. The Criminal Justice Targeted Research and Application of Knowledge (CJ-TRAK) website is home to several decision-support tools designed to facilitate knowledge translation in the justice/treatment system for justice-involved populations." The RNR Simulation Tool can be used to figure out what programing is needed by your agency to effectively reduce recidivism. This tool is composed of three portals: Assess an Individual; The RNR Program Tool for Adults; and Assess Jurisdiction's Capacity. SOARING2 is an e-learning program that provides corrections professionals with knowledge and skills they need to use EBP effectively in managing offenders. The training system is comprised of five modules: Risk-Need-Responsivity; Motivation and Engagement; Case Planning; Problem Solving; and Desistance. The final instrument is the Evidence Mapping (EMTAP) Tool. The EMTAP synthesizes meta-analyses and systematic reviews on what works in correctional health services. It "allows users to examine the outcomes, settings, populations studied, and methods at a glance" that match their selected offender area.

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Effective mental health treatments which have undergone testing in both controlled research trials and real-world settings are available for a wide range of diagnosed mental health disorders. The Collection 6th Edition is designed to encourage use of these treatments by professionals providing mental health treatments. The Collection 6th Edition is also designed to inform parents, caregivers, and other stakeholders by providing general information about the various disorders and problems affecting children and adolescents.

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The goal of this project is two-fold: (1) to encourage criminal justice educators to recognize the importance of developing curriculum specific to community supervision, distinct from institutional corrections, and (2) to  provide support to college educators and community corrections practitioners who teach community corrections courses.

The Community Services Division coordinates technical assistance, specialized training, and other programs related to probation, parole, and other forms of community-based corrections.

The Division also sponsors the development of publications and materials on topics of interest to community corrections practitioners, and it coordinates an interdisciplinary effort to assist jurisdictions in developing a more rational, cost-effective, and coordinated system of criminal justice sanctions and punishments.

Technical assistance related to Community Corrections is provided on issues such as caseload management, victims programs, employee safety, classification and assessment, and intermediate sanctions. The Division also provides specialized training and other programs that focus on: Executive Leadership and Development; Women Offenders; Evidence-Based Offender Interventions; Inmate Transition to Communities; Workforce Development; and Responding to Probation/Parole Violations.

Division Chief: Holly Busby

Anyone involved or interested in the future of learning and performance in corrections should read this publication. “This white paper focuses on learning and performance challenges in the 21st century including the role of technology in learning programs and the incorporation of evidence-based practices into program design and delivery. The paper offers an extensive review of learning research in the areas of theory, learners, learning organizations, instructional design, program design, delivery methods and modalities, learning transfer, and program assessment” (p. 2). Sections following an abstract include: the background of the National Institute of Corrections NIC) Academy; exploring and addressing challenges facing correctional learning professionals; research and theory—evidence-based practices; learners and learning; learning professionals; learning organizations; instructional design; methods and modality; transfer; assessment; and how to make and promote change. Appendixes cover theoretical models and implications for learning programs; the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Competency Model; and terms used (glossary).

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This is a great introduction to a new probation strategy which links “the duration of probation supervision to the optimal amount of intervention an offender needs in order to reduce risk of reoffense”. This monograph “provides a policy and practice framework upon which this new model of supervision can be constructed. It offers a review of evidence-based approaches to reducing recidivism in our communities, the most recent research on dosage, and its applicability to sentencing and community supervision practices. It describes the model’s promise for increasing community safety through recidivism reduction, as well as achieving fiscal savings by reducing periods of supervision. Finally, the monograph offers a summary of the work of Milwaukee County’s criminal justice stakeholders as they design and conduct the nation’s first dosage probation experiment.” Sections of this publication include: introduction to the dosage model of probation; the principles of effective intervention—who we target for intervention matters (the risk principle), what we target for intervention matters (the need principle), how we intervene and interact matters (the responsivity principle), how well interventions are implemented matters, fidelity and integrity of corrections professionals’ interventions, and the relationship between early termination of supervision and recidivism; adding dosage to the equation—how much dosage is delivered matters, and further study needed; implications—the dosage probation model of supervision; and dosage probation in Milwaukee County.

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This article looks at the Colorado’s EBP Project for Implementation Capacity (EPIC). “EPIC is a pilot demonstration project to test the efficacy of implementation strategies, especially ones for improving corrections’ capacity for implementing EBPs. This project emphasizes building capacity to implement by focusing on developing a certain set of skills within a select set of staff in 17 different corrections organizations. The skills emphasized are offender assessment, cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) coaching and MI. MI was selected as the primary innovation and EBP to roll out in the local pilot agencies because its applications are ubiquitous and criteria for MI fidelity are clearly established and can be monitored with adequate planning and resources” (p. 50). Sections of this publication include: project background—skills, roles, motivation, socio-technical environment, and traits; three strategies of the EPIC Staff Development System—collaborative engagement, scaffolding skills and mastery, and new norms and organizational practices that empower staff and promote transparency; MITI-3 (Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity) thresholds for MI (motivational interviewing) competency; organizational transparency; and conclusion.

EBP: The Implications of Supervision: Strategies for Improving Corrections' Capacity for Implementing EBPs: The Colorado EBP Project for Implementation Capacity (EPIC) Staff Development System Cover

This webinar highlights strategies, tools, examples, and best-practice models from across the country that juvenile justice agency managers, staff, and other practitioners may consider in adopting to effectively implement evidence-based programs and services and promote positive outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.

"This report describes the EBDM [Evidence-Based Decision-Making] Phase II technical assistance approach and presents findings and themes from the process evaluation and outcome assessment (conducted from October 2010 to February 2012) of the technical assistance delivered to the seven sites selected under Phase II of the EBDM initiative … The Phase II technical assistance approach sought to facilitate both the Framework’s goals of recidivism reduction and harm reduction. This involved the adoption of well-evaluated principles and practices, while also allowing for some level of adaptation of these principles and practices to other parts of the criminal justice system … Evaluation results offer ample evidence that Phase II training and technical assistance enhanced site capacity in critical areas (i.e., strengthened collaboration, increased EBDM and system knowledge, increased support for EBDM principles and practices, identified change targets, and facilitated strategic planning) essential for successful implementation. Furthermore, stakeholders generally rated the TA positively, giving it high marks on relevance, quality, responsiveness, and utility" (p. VI-VII). This report is divided into five sections: introduction; evaluation approach—design and methods; EBDM Phase II technical assistance approach; examining the broader impact of Phase II--key findings from the evaluation: findings from the process analysis, findings from the cross-wave, cross-site stakeholder survey, agency collaboration, stakeholder engagement and coordination among key leaders, perceived benefits of technical assistance, implementation readiness, level of involvement in EBDM, stakeholder sphere, and summary; and conclusions and implications. The related NIC Evaluation Brief "Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems Initiative" is available at

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"NIC partnered with the Center for Effective Public Policy to build a system-wide framework (arrest through final disposition and discharge) that when implemented will result in more collaborative, evidence-based decision making and practices in local criminal justice systems. The purpose of this initiative is to equip criminal justice policymakers in local communities with the information, processes, and tools that will result in measurable reductions of pretrial misconduct and post-conviction reoffending. The initiative is grounded in two decades of research on the factors that contribute to criminal reoffending and the methods the justice system can employ to interrupt the cycle of re-offense." This presentation covers: the EBDM (Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems) Framework being grounded in four key principles; the Framework examines key decision points and the evidence to support each decision making at each one; measuring what matters—where to start with a systems map; EBP pyramid; risk-need-responsivity (RNR) model; supervision models and impact on recidivism; the big four criminogenic needs and the lessor four; 8 principles of effective intervention; punishment; increase in sentence lengths; and deterrence.

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