Community Corrections Academic Resources Project

Community Corrections Academic Resources Project web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 14:40
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Nearly five million adults (or 1 in 52) are under probation or parole supervision in the United States [1] compared to about two million individuals in institutions [2]. Despite the growing reliance on community supervision as an alternative to incarceration very little criminal justice curriculum is devoted specifically to community corrections [3][4]. Indeed, at the undergraduate level, probation and parole are generally lumped within introductory corrections courses that are often heavily focused on institutions. In fact, the certification standards for undergraduate criminal justice and criminology programs established by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) makes one all-encompassing recommendation for corrections content, as opposed to explicitly distinguishing institutional corrections and community corrections curriculum coverage needs [5].

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. Further, surprisingly few criminal justice/ criminology professors have received formal instruction on effective teaching strategies. This guide will provide direction, including additional sources of information, for new educators in terms of community corrections curriculum content development as well as effective teaching practices.

The guidance offered in this microsite is purely advisory. The National Institute of Corrections and the American Probation and Parole Association recognize and respect the tenets of academic freedom and the autonomy of university faculty. In no way should anything contained on this site be misconstrued as a mandated function of a community corrections course or otherwise. The authors encourage new faculty, as well as experienced faculty with an interest in community corrections, to peruse the guide and extrapolate those concepts and resources that are most beneficial to their instructional needs.

For more Information on the background of this project: Click Here

Erika Preuitt, Adult Services Division Director, Department of Community Justice, Multnomah County, OR

Erika shares her thoughts about the value of seeking out volunteer experiences

 

For more information about this project, please contact Katie Green

For technical issues with the website, please contact the Information Center

 

Endnotes

[1] Kaeble, D., Maruschak, L. M., & Bonczar, T. P. (2015). Probation and parole in the United States, 2014. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

[2] Kaeble, D., Glaze, L., Tsoutis, A., & Minton, T. (2015). Correctional populations in the United States, 2014. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

[3] Bracken, D. (2003). Skills and knowledge for contemporary probation practice. Probation Journal, 50(2), 101-114.

[4] Garland, B., & Matz, A. K. (2016). Preparing community supervision officers through undergraduate education: A study of academic and practitioner expectations. Manuscript submitted for publication.

[5] Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. (2014). Certification standards for college/university criminal justice/criminology baccalaureate degree programs. Greenbelt, MD.

 

Learning Domains

Learning Domains web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 15:42

Learning domains are some of the areas identified in the surveys, focus groups, and meetings that should be included in a community corrections curriculum. These include: Evidence-Based Practices (EBP); Risk, Need, Responsivity (RNR); Influences on Criminal Behavior; Universal Skills; and Role of Community Corrections in the Criminal Justice Process. Explore the Learning Domains using the in-page menu.

The resources listed in the following web pages are just a mere sampling of materials available on topics to help you integrate aspects of the suggested learning objectives in your class coursework. Especially at the undergraduate level, courses will almost always be organized around one or two key textbooks. A list of currently available textbooks can be found under the Resource Guide in this website.

The guidance offered on this website is purely advisory. NIC and APPA recognize and respect the tenets of academic freedom and the autonomy of university faculty. In no way should anything contained in this report be misconstrued as a mandated function of a community corrections course or otherwise. The authors encourage new and experienced faculty with an interest in community corrections, to peruse the microsite and extrapolate those concepts and resources that are most beneficial to your instructional needs

Evidence-Based Practices (EBP)

Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 15:48

The number of people on community supervision is rising, yet budgets of agencies monitoring these individuals are not necessarily increasing at the same rate (DeMichele & Payne, 2007; DeMichele, Payne, & Matz, 2011; Durlauf & Nagin, 2011). Community corrections agencies, as well as other justice system entities, are continually asked to do more with less and demonstrate that they are implementing practices that have been shown to reduce recidivism (Burrell & Rhine, 2013).

Fortunately, a growing body of literature exists on cost-efficient practices that are proven to reduce offender risk (National Institute of Corrections, 2013). Yet, despite the resounding discussion of evidence-based practices (EBP) on the national level, knowledge about and understanding of EBP by those who are doing the work at the local level is still not sufficient to implement and sustain this new way of doing business.

The Eight Prinicples for Risk/ Recidivism Reduction are one of three domains in the Integrated Model (displayed at the bottom of this page) that help community supervision agencies build learning organizations that reduce recidivism through systemic integration of evidence-based principles in collaboration with community and justice partners.

Eight Guiding Principles For Risk/Recidivism Reduction

The Integrated Model incorporates eight evidence-based principles that, when implemented with fidelity, have been shown to reduce offender recidivism. While the goal of reduced recidivism is the ultimate outcome measure of offender supervision, there are intermediate outcome and process measures that can help organizations monitor their progress towards achieving that ultimate goal. The National Project Team developed this tool as a means of describing those measures and differentiating between those which are required versus recommended. For each measure, the tool identifies measure components, defines those components, identifies potential data sources, describes the data in detail, identifies collection frequency and identifies potential data collection agencies. The Integrated Model and its image were developed with funds provided by the National Institute of Corrections. It can be found in Implementing Effective Correctional Management of Offenders in the Community: Outcome and Process Measures (021041).

To grow and thrive, if not survive, going forward, community corrections agencies and justice systems must have the capacity to undergo a significant shift in their business practices and organizational culture—built on a framework of implementing EBP (Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice, 2009; Dowden & Andrews, 2004; Latessa, Listwan, & Koetzle, 2013).

Denise Symdon, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Division of Community Corrections Administrator

Denise will share her thoughts on preparing the organization (WI DOC) to adopting evidence- based practices.

Colleges and universities can play a crucial role in helping community corrections agencies move forward with EBP by introducing students to this body of research (Soydan, 2007). However, we know that new research emerges over time, and new evidence is revealed that can support or challenge previous findings (McNeill, Farrall, Lightowler, & Maruna, 2012). Therefore, it is also important to teach students how to read and examine research in criminal justice studies and distinguish between findings that are evidence-based, promising, etc. Having a familiarity with the concepts of current EBP at the time of graduation and entry into the workplace would provide them a definite advantage during the interview and hiring process, particularly as more agencies prioritize and select candidates for hire by assessing jobseekers’ general knowledge and understanding of these principles for reducing recidivism.

integrated model for the implementation of evidence-based policy and practice

The Integrated Model recognizes that simply expounding on scientific principles is not sufficient to guide the ongoing political and organizational change neccessary to support implementation of evidence-based principles in a complex system. Implementing Evidence-Based Policy and Practice in Community Corrections, 2nd edition, 2009, 024107.

Criminal justice degree programs should introduce students to literature focused on evidence-based practice for reducing recidivism, as well as include opportunities for students to review, analyze, and critique research literature. Overall, community corrections leaders want entry level workers to have been exposed to the history of criminal justice research outcomes, yet also be well informed of current research about what works and doesn’t. They also want students to have a general appreciation of how research evolves, know where to quickly find applicable research literature and links, and have the capacity to distinguish between research informed practices, practice based on evidence based research, or promising practice, etc.

William Cash, EBP Implementation Specialist, Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice

William identifies some of the primary skills and practices needed to successfully implement EBP.


EBP Learning Objectives and Resources

EBP Learning Objectives and Resources web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 16:28

Goals

  • Students should be introduced to evidence-based practices (EBP) for reducing recidivism literature.
  • Students should be shown how to differentiate evidence-based practices/programs from promising practices/programs.

Sample Learning Objectives

  1. Identify resources that summarize research-informed practices and programs.
  2. Describe the historical trend in research outcomes in community corrections.
  3. Explain the current literature on what works versus what doesn’t work in community corrections interventions.
  4. Describe what constitutes an evidence-based or promising finding.
  5. Outline the current research literature on effective community corrections practices.
  6. Identify case law relevant to community corrections.
  7. Identify current recognized promising practices within community corrections.
  8. Describe new and emerging initiatives or issues being discussed within the community corrections field.

EBP Self-Paced Online Courses

EBP Self-Paced Online Courses web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 16:30

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) has a 5-course series of online training on Evidence-Based Practices in Community Corrections. These courses can help for students to learn more about EBP or to show professors how to become informed about EBP and its application in the field of corrections. NIC offers these and over 150 more e-courses free of charge. All you need is to create a free account. 

Click here for NIC Learning Center Registration.

EBP Course 1 - Course and Program Overview
This is course one in NIC’s six-course Evidence-Based Practices in a Correctional Setting program. The purpose for the entire six-part program is to provide front line supervisors and staff with the opportunity to learn the history, advancements, and benefits of using evidence-based practices. 

Click here to log in and start this course.

EBP Course 2 - Risk Assessment and Classification: Fundamentals for Criminal Justice Professionals
This is course two in NIC’s six-course Evidence-Based Practices in a Correctional Setting program. The main purpose of this course is to introduce you to actuarial risk assessments and describe how they are utilized as a tool within criminal justice professions. 

Click here to log in and start this course.

EBP Course 3 - Effective Behavior Change Interventions for Offenders in Community and Institutional Settings
This is course three in NIC’s six-course Evidence-Based Practices in a Correctional Setting program. The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the research on offender behavior change. As such, this course summarizes the principles of evidence-based practice, social learning theory and effective interventions, and the many opportunities available to shape offender behavior. 

Click here to log in and start this course.

EBP Course 4 - Essential Elements of Case Planning
This is course four in NIC’s six-course Evidence-based Practices in a Correctional Setting program. The main purpose of this course is to provide front line supervisors and staff the opportunity to learn the history and advancements of evidence-based practices (EBP) relating to the area of case planning. 

Click here to log in and start this course.

EBP Course 5 - Outcome and Performance Measures: Why Data Are So Important
This is course five in NIC’s six-course Evidence-Based Practices in a Correctional Setting program. The main purposes of this course are to allow the practitioner to appreciate the significance of ensuring that correctional practices are implemented with fidelity to their model, and to understand the degree to which intended actions are accomplishing their goals by reviewing data that is collected and analyzed. 

Click here to log in and start this course.

EBP Course 6 - Putting it all Together
This is the final course in NIC’s six-course Evidence-Based Practices in a Correctional Setting program. The course addresses specific skills and practices that, when implemented effectively, can increase positive outcomes with defendants, offenders, and inmates in the areas of pretrial, probation, jail, prison, parole, and re-entry back into the community. The main purpose of this course is to integrate and link the information from the preceding courses to explain how core correctional practices that are known to enhance public safety are implemented throughout the correctional continuum. 

Click here to log in and start this course.

EBP Publications

EBP Publications web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 16:32

An Example of a Practice/Policy that was Demonstrated Not to Work via Research

One evidence-based principle suggests using research to inform policy and practice in the field. Sometimes that means finding out a program does not perform as well as originally intended. An example would be the Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) model. HOPE is based on a model to reinforce a strong and immediate relationship between probationers’ actions and their consequences, sending consistent messages to probationers about personal accountability and responsibility, while directly involving the judge. HOPE conducts frequent and random drug tests for high-risk probationers, and responds to detected violations (including failed drug tests and missed appointments) with swift, certain and short stays in jail. HOPE also rewards probationers for negative drug tests and other compliant behavior and mandates treatment upon request for probationers who do not abstain from drug use while in the program. 

After the model was initially implemented in Hawaii, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded a research study to determine its effectiveness on supervision outcomes among probationers (see Hawken & Kleiman, 2009). The researchers found that HOPE probationers were 55% less likely to use drugs, 72% less likely to skip appointments, and 53% less likely to have their probation be revoked, as compared to the control group. The study provided early evidence of the benefit in applying swift and certain graduated, proportional punishment to improve the outcomes of drug use and crime. 

Several years later, as the HOPE model became more well-known across the country and in the field, NIJ funded an additional research study to evaluate the model in multiple demonstration field sites across the continental United States (see Lattimore et al., 2016). The results of this study found no significant differences among supervision outcomes―arrests, probation revocations, or new convictions―between probationers who underwent the HOPE model approach and those who underwent probation as usual. Both research studies used the same rigorous, randomized control trial methodological design as well.

Such a research process does not necessarily mean that the HOPE model, in this case, isn’t effective at all. What it does tell us is where there are limitations to the model and what efforts should be made to modify it to become the most effective model in a community supervision setting.

Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System
This document provides a high-level overview of risk and needs assessment and can be used either to form talking points or to hand out to students to improve their understanding of the risk and needs principle, and the types of instruments that can be used, and what those instruments. It was prepared for committee members of Congress by the Congressional Research Service.  
https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R44087.pdf

Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in Corrections Annotated Bibliography 2017
This annotated bibliography was developed to provide current and useful information to professionals on implementation of evidence-based programs in the criminal justice system. Topics covered include implementation science, community services, fidelity, health, juvenile justice, and local and state efforts. 

Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Community Corrections: The Principles of Effective Intervention.
Principles of effective evidence-based intervention are presented. Topics discussed include: 

  • Evidence-based practice (EBP)
  • Term clarification
  • Eight principles for effective interventions—(1) assess actuarial risk/needs, (2) enhance intrinsic motivation, (3) target interventions, (4) skill train with directed practice, (5) increase positive reinforcement, (6) engage ongoing support in natural communities, (7) measure relevant processes/practices, and (8) provide measurement feedback
  • Components of correctional interventions
  • Implementation of EBP principles
  • Application of the principles of EBP at the case, agency, and system levels
  • Seven recommended strategies for implementing effective interventions
  • Levels of research evidence 

https://nicic.gov/iebpccpei 

Toward Evidence-Based Decision Making in Community Corrections: Research and Strategies for Successful Implementation
This publication "contains invited articles on community corrections, with special emphasis on successful implementation strategies."
https://nicic.gov/toward-evidence-based-decision-making-community-correc...

Evidence-Based Practices in the Criminal Justice System: An Annotated Bibliography
Compiled by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Information Center, this publication introduces readers to the concept of “evidence” and presents a collection of resources for further study
https://nicic.gov/ebpcjsab

Using Technology to Improve Pretrial Release Decision-Making, 2016JTC Resource Bulletin.
"Properly validated evidence-based pretrial risk assessment tools are better predictors of pretrial success than money bail or professional discretion alone. Jurisdictions can implement a pretrial risk assessment tool using data collected manually from local, state and federal databases, but a pretrial risk assessment tool would ideally be automated and integrated with existing systems that house relevant data. Implementing an automated pretrial release tool is a relatively small project with the potential for significant judicial, social and fiscal benefits" (p. ii). Sections following an executive summary cover pretrial detention decision-making, pretrial risk assessment tools, technology considerations, data considerations, implementation considerations, and an overall summary. 
https://www.ncsc.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/1663/it-in-pretrial-3-25-2016-final.ashx.pdf

Understanding, Promoting, and Sustaining the Use of Research and Evidence-Based Practices by State Administering Agencies, 2015, Stan Orchowsky and Roger Przybylski.
These toolkits comprise "a series on promoting the use of evidence-based practices in State Administering Agencies (SAAs) [in understanding and implementing evidence-based practices (EBPs) in their states]. These toolkits include a briefing paper, an executive summary, and a slideshow."
http://www.jrsa.org/projects/evidence-based.htm(link is external)

Legislating Evidence-Based PolicymakingMarch 2015, Pew Charitable Trusts.
"To examine this trend, the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative reviewed more than 100 state statutes passed between 2004 and 2014 and identified five different approaches to promoting data-driven program choices."
https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-briefs/2015/03/legislating-evidence-based-policymaking

Evidence-Based Strategies for Working with Offenders, 2014, Michael Rempel.
Findings from academic and program evaluation literatures in the fields of psychology, criminal justice, sociology, and public policy suggest that evidence-based interventions, which effectively combine the core principles of rehabilitation (risk-need-responsivity), deterrence, procedural justice, and collaboration, can significantly reduce recidivism. 
https://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/documents/Evid%20Based%20Strategies.pdf

Box Set: Evidence-Based Principles for Reducing Offender Risk
Since 2002, NIC and the Crime and Justice Institute have worked to develop processes and tools to assist state and local jurisdictions implement successful practices to reduce offender risk. Efforts at four project sites (Maine; Illinois; Orange County, CA; and Maricopa County, AZ) have resulted in an implementation framework that applies evidence-based principles for corrections, as well as other components and stakeholders of the justice system. Experiences at these project sites has made it clear that officials from all system components and stakeholders involved with offenders as they move through the system need practical information regarding the basic research principles of risk reduction. 
https://nicic.gov/series/ebp-box-set

Crime and Justice Institute EBP Integrated Model
The Vision: To build learning organizations that reduce recidivism through systemic integration of evidence-based principles in collaboration with community and justice partners.
Through this cooperative agreement established in the fall of 2002, NIC joined with the Crime and Justice Institute to assist two pilot states (Illinois and Maine) in applying an integrated approach to the implementation of evidence-based principles in community corrections. The project model maintains an equal and integrated focus on three domains: the implementation of evidence-based principles, organizational development, and collaboration. 
http://www.crj.org/assets/2017/07/51_NICCJI_Project_ICCA_2.pdf

Suggestions to Enhance University-Practitioner Relations 

There are several ways that universities and practitioners can work together. One way is for universities to encourage faculty to engage in applied research projects with practitioner agencies or jurisdictions. For example, the Department of Justice offers external funding opportunities for such partnerships to occur by pairing agencies with research partners, which could be academics. University faculty, particularly young tenure-track professors, often seek opportunities to conduct research to increase publications; whereas, agencies often need researchers to help them evaluate programs or policies. So, it can be a win-win for both parties. A second way is for universities to hire adjunct faculty who have direct experience working in the community corrections field. Such faculty members can teach directly to the course topic and provide insight not always available to undergraduate students. 

 
Core Correctional Practice Articles

Dowden, C., & Andrews, D. A. (2004). The importance of staff practice in delivering effective correctional treatment: A meta-analytic review of core correctional practice. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 48(2), 203-214.

Haas, S. M., Spence, D. H. (2016). Use of core correctional practice and inmate preparedness for release. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. Available Online First. doi: 10.1177/0306624X15625992

EBP Textbooks

EBP Textbooks web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 16:34

EBP Websites

EBP Websites web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 16:34

National Institute of Corrections https://nicic.gov/

American Probation and Parole Association http://www.appa-net.org/eweb/(link is external)

Evidence-based Decision Making (EBDM) https://info.nicic.gov/ebdm/

National Reentry Resource Center https://nationalreentryresourcecenter.org/(link is external)

CrimeSolutions.Gov 
A resource of the National Institute of Justice that provides uses research to rate the effectiveness of programs and practices in achieving criminal justice related outcomes in order to inform practitioners and policy makers about what works, what doesn't, and what's promising in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services. 
Suggested Assignment for Students:  Give students a topic (e.g., cognitive behavioral interventions) and ask them to locate 2-3 examples each of programs that are shown on Crimesolutions.gov to be effective, promising and have no effects on that topic area.  Also, have students include a summary of how the site defines effective, promising and no effects.  This will give them an opportunity to use a resource used in the corrections field to begin determining what some of the evidence-based practices in community corrections are.  The students also could be asked to review the original research studies cited for the programs to get more details and present their findings. 

https://crimesolutions.ojp.gov/(link is external)  

Justice Reinvestment, Council of State Governments 
Justice reinvestment is a data-driven approach to improve public safety, reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending, and reinvest savings in strategies that can decrease crime and reduce recidivism. 
https://csgjusticecenter.org/2017/10/18/jri-maximizing-state-reforms-awards-announced-for-fy2017/

GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation 
The GAINS Center focuses on expanding access to services for people with mental and/or substance use disorders who come into contact with the justice system. 
https://www.samhsa.gov/gains-center

Washington State Institute of Public Policy 
WSIPP’s mission is to carry out practical, non-partisan research—at legislative direction—on issues of importance to Washington State
http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/

What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse 
The What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse is a “one-stop shop” for research on the effectiveness of a wide variety of reentry programs and practices. 
https://whatworks.csgjusticecenter.org/

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development 
Blueprints reviews and rates programs that promote positive youth. development. 
https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Model Programs
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.
https://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg/

EBP Videos/Podcasts

EBP Videos/Podcasts web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 16:36

Risk Assessment Tool Helps Probation Officers
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts developed the Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA) tool to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of post-conviction supervision. PCRA helps probation officers identify which persons to target for correctional interventions, what characteristics or needs will mitigate future criminal behavior, and how best to deliver supervision and treatment. The PCRA tool is an evidence-based practice (EBP) that guides an officer's decision about what level of risk an offender poses and what interventions would be best to reduce recidivism rates. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-nGDKgdTi4

Successful Parole and Probation Practices
This video is part of a television show produced by the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency and the Office of Cable Television in Washington, DC. In this video, the program interviewed four directors of state parole and probation agencies to discuss best practices as it applies to their state or counterparts nationally. 
https://media.csosa.gov/podcast/video/category/probation/

What Works: Evidence-Based Practices in Community Corrections
This video is part of the “DC Public Safety” television series and provides an overview of “what works” in community corrections through an examination of research-based practices. You will need to scroll down the page to find the video.
https://media.csosa.gov/podcast/video/category/probation/

Edward Latessa (7 short videos): Solutions in Corrections: Using Evidence-Based Knowledge
Produced by the National Institute of Justice. 
"Key Principles of Reducing Recidivism" Edward Latessa, Ph.D., Director, School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati. This interview followed the presentation "Solutions in Corrections: Using Evidence-Based Knowledge" given as part of NIJ's Research for the Real World Seminar Series. The content presented in these videos results from NIJ-funded research, development and evaluation projects. The content is not intended to create, does not create, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any matter civil or criminal. Opinions or points of view expressed in these videos represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any products and manufacturers discussed in these videos are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or enforcement by the U.S. Department of Justice. [description provided by Department of Justice, 2011]
https://youtu.be/Sv3p4IijkAI?list=PLUOQSTnnJJfvoraDTiltkktqI5jZ8MBdM

Risk, Need, and Responsivity (RNR)

Risk, Need, and Responsivity (RNR) web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 16:38

While risk, need, and responsivity (RNR) falls under EBP (Hanser, 2014), its high level of importance to the field of community supervision necessitates its redundancy within this website. To achieve long-term public safety, it is not enough just to monitor and enforce court-ordered conditions of supervision. These activities of community corrections aid in protecting short-term public safety objectives; however, long-term public safety can be achieved only if justice-involved individuals stay out of the justice system by not committing new crimes.

RNR principles are the cornerstones of modern community corrections practice based on EBP to reduce recidivism. Understanding RNR is essential for implementing effective correctional interventions aimed at reducing recidivism with individuals on supervision (Andrews, Bonta, & Hoge, 1990). The risk principle asserts that the likelihood of future criminal and delinquent behavior can be reliably predicted and that treatment/interventions should focus on the higher risk offenders (i.e., those most likely to re-offend). The need principle highlights the importance of identifying and focusing interventions and treatments based on the criminogenic needs of the individual offender (i.e., need factors that are highly correlated with the likelihood of recidivism). The responsivity principle recognizes that how an individual will respond to certain interventions and treatment will depend largely on his or her unique characteristics and attributes; therefore, interventions and treatment options should be chosen for individuals based on their responsivity factors (e.g., gender, learning differences) (Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice, 2009).

Brian Lovins PhD, Assistant Director, Community Supervision and Corrections Department, Harris County, TX

Brian talks about the need to tailor the intervention response to the individual.

 

Principles of Risk, Needs and Responsivity

  1. Research has shown that treatment delivered to high-risk offenders can reduce recidivism, AND it has shown that treatment for low-risk offenders has little positive effect on recidivism rates. Consequently, a reliable assessment of offender risk can ensure that high-risk offenders receive more treatment services than low-risk offenders. [1]
  2. This principle tells us what to treat. Risk assessments should examine criminogenic needs -- meaning those needs correlated to crime. [1] and [2]
  3. Responsivity Principle:
    “Be responsive to temperament, learning style, motivation, gender, and culture when assigning to programs.”(p. xi) [2]

Although the focus of these recommendations is on enhancing education about community corrections, the RNR model is not limited to application within the community corrections component of corrections. In essence, screening/assessment should be used throughout the corrections process to inform the decision-making process about appropriate classification levels, level of supervision needed, targeted interventions and programming, etc. from the time a person enters the justice system until they are successfully discharged from the system. Using actuarial tools based upon known risk factors and criminogenic needs takes the decisions made about risk level, classification and supervision levels, and interventions to a level beyond subjective judgment and intuition.

Barbara Broderick, Chief Adult Probation Officer, Maricopa County Adult Probation Department

Barbara shares her insight on using a validated risk assessment.

 

Colleges and universities should incorporate specific instruction on the risk, need and responsivity principles of effective correctional intervention within criminal justice degree programs, along with examples of how RNR principles are implemented when working with individuals on supervision.

In general, community corrections leaders are interested in entry-level workers having a general understanding of actuarial versus non-actuarial assessment instruments, the history of risk assessment in corrections, what the RNR principles are, and how they can be applied in the work that corrections professionals do with justice-involved individuals. They also want entry-level workers to understand the difference between static and dynamic risk factors, what protective factors are and how they can contribute to reductions in recidivism.

In this vignette you will observe a community supervision officer interviewing a probationer for information to complete a risk assessment. The banners displayed throughout the video depicts demonstrated communication skills.

 

Endnote

[1] Bonta, J., & Andrews, D.A. (2017). The psychology of criminal conduct (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

[2] National Institute of Corrections. (October 2009). Implementing evidence-based policy and practice in community corrections (2nd ed). https://nicic.gov/implementing-evidence-based-policy-and-practice-community-corrections

 

RNR Learning Objectives and Resources

RNR Learning Objectives and Resources web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 11:07

Goal

Incorporate specific instruction on the risk, need, responsivity principle (RNR) and implementation fidelity.

Sample Learning Objectives

  1. Define the RNR principles in community corrections.
  2. Describe how the RNR principles can be applied in working with individuals placed on community supervision.
  3. Demonstrate how to use RNR information on an individual to develop a supervision plan.
  4. Differentiate between actuarial versus non-actuarial assessment instruments.
  5. Describe how actuarial assessment tools in community corrections can be likened to assessments in other industries.
  6. Explain the evolution of risk assessment within community corrections.
  7. Differentiate between static vs. dynamic risk factors.
  8. Identify protective factors demonstrated to reduce recidivism.

RNR Self-Paced Online Courses

RNR Self-Paced Online Courses web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 11:09

EBP Course 2 - Risk Assessment and Classification: Fundamentals for Criminal Justice Professionals. 
This is course two in NIC’s six-course Evidence Based Practices in a Correctional Setting program. The main purpose of this course is to introduce you to actuarial risk assessments and describe how they are utilized as a tool within criminal justice professions. NIC offers this course free of charge. 
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Using Assessment Tools 
Being a community supervision officer presents a variety of challenges. However, it can be an extremely rewarding profession when you are presented with the right tools and training to do your job effectively. Your time is a scarce and important resource. Assessments can assist you with a number of decisions in the case management process and in the allocation of your valuable time. Furthermore, done properly, assessments can assist with reducing the likelihood of future crime committed by individuals under your supervision—a win-win situation for everyone. Drawing upon material from the National Institute of Corrections’ Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Community Corrections: The Principles of Effective Intervention curriculum, this course is designed to educate entry-level community corrections personnel on evidence-based practices. Specifically, you will learn how assessment tools can be used to enhance the decision-making process and guide the development of more effective community supervision and treatment plans for offenders. The combination of experiential exercises, instructive information, and detailed case examples in this course gives you the tools you need to effectively use the most appropriate assessment tools in your own setting. 
https://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Using-Assessment-Tools--EL-UAT-CORR-APPA.aspx (cost: $32) 

Understanding Responsivity 
Evidenced-based practices (EBP) are currently the most talked about change within community corrections. Of the three core principles of EBP, responsivity is the least understood. This course will explain to you the evidence-based principle of responsivity. Responsivity requires that community corrections professionals consider characteristics specific to the individual under supervision when matching him/her to specific interventions and treatment services. The process of understanding someone’s learning style, motivation, etc. can be difficult, yet when these factors are addressed, outcomes with persons under supervision are more successful. The information in this course will provide you with an overview of evidence-based practice principles, as well as specific responsivity factors, including those within a contact. You will be exposed to a variety of case scenarios to better understand these concepts. The goal of this course is to help community corrections personnel identify “responsivity factors” and learn how to apply them to individuals on their caseload. Drawing upon information from Bonta’s "The Responsivity Principle and Offender Rehabilitation," this course will be helpful for any case bearing community corrections officer at any stage of his or her career. 
https://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Understanding-Responsivity--EL-URESP-CORR-APPA.aspx (cost: $32).

Facilitating Offender Success with Effective Case Planning 
Individuals under supervision often have an assortment of problems and issues to address. Sometimes these issues seem incredibly difficult to identify and address. Even when offender problems are known, how do you know which issues are relevant to supervision? How do you know what to prioritize in the supervision plan? Which issues will be addressed through programming or treatment? Moreover, which issues, if any, can be ignored or put on the back-burner? These questions are constant struggles for community supervision officers. Some days, it feels as if there is not enough time to address everything that seems significant. However, when properly used, assessment tools and supervision plans can help you answer these important questions and assist with the supervision process. Drawing upon material from The Probation and Parole Treatment Planner and other scholarly research material, such as information from the National Institute of Corrections, this course is designed to educate entry-level, community corrections personnel on criminogenic needs found in evidence-based practices literature and associated with an offender's delinquent or criminal behavior. The information in this training discusses how these specific domains contribute to criminal and antisocial behavior. Further, using interactive exercises, detailed case illustrations, and informative material, you will explore how to address each of these specific domains in the supervision plan. 
https://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Facilitating-Offender-Success-with-Effective-Case-Planning--EL-FOSECP-CORR-APPA.aspx (cost: $40) 

Webinar:  Addressing Responsivity Issues for American Indian/Alaska Native Individuals on Community Supervision 
The responsivity principle suggests that an individual's characteristics affect how he or she responds to treatment and interventions. Characteristics such as learning style, personality, culture, gender, education level, etc. should play an important part in choosing which services and interventions a justice-involved individual is assigned to. In this era where practitioners are encouraged to incorporate strategies and practices that are “evidence-based,” we should be cautious not to discount indigenous, tribal or culture-based interventions that could work more effectively with American Indian/Alaska Native populations, even though they have not been evaluated and labeled as “evidence-based.” 
https://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Addressing-Responsivity-Issues-for-American-Indian-Alaska-Native-Individuals-on-Community-Supervisi-.aspx

RNR Publications

RNR Publications web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 11:13

Demystifying Risk Assessment: Key Principles and Controversies 2017 
Sarah Picard-Fritsche, Michael Rempel, Jennifer A. Tallon, Julian Adler and Natalie Reyes. 2017, Center for Court Innovation, pp. 1-30.
This paper explains the science underlying risk-based decision-making and explores both the promise and controversies associated with the increasing application of “big data” to the field of criminal justice. While the technology has contributed to important policy reforms, such as the diversion of low-risk groups from jail and prison, debate has arisen over the potential for risk assessments to reproduce existing racial biases, the lack of transparency of some proprietary tools, and the challenge of applying classifications based on group behavior to individual cases. Along with identifying an emerging professional consensus that the careful and ethical implementation of risk assessment tools can improve outcomes, the paper closes with a series of best practices urging jurisdictions to adopt a localized, collaborative approach. 
http://www.courtinnovation.org/demystifying_risk?url=research%2F4607%2Fall&mode=4607&type=all

The Most Carefully Studied, yet Least Understood, Terms in the Criminal Justice Lexicon: Risk, Need, Responsivity
Douglas B. Marlowe. July 17, 2018, Policy Research Associates (PRA).
Despite compelling evidence validating these RNR principles, many behavioral health and criminal justice professionals misconstrue the concepts of risk, need, and responsivity, leading them to deliver the wrong services to the wrong persons and in the wrong order. Even with the best of intentions to follow evidence-based practices, many programs inadvertently waste precious resources, frustrate consumers, and deliver lackluster results. To enhance program effectiveness and efficiency, it is necessary to translate these research-based principles into terms that are familiar to many practitioners, to help them select the most appropriate interventions under the right circumstances. [To aid in this process, a glossary of technical terms used in this article is provided in Table 1].
https://www.prainc.com/risk-need-responsitivity/

Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System 
This document provides a high-level overview of risk and needs assessment and can be used to form talking points or used as a handout for students to improve their understanding of the risk and needs principle, the types of instruments that can be used, and what they do. It was prepared for members of committees of Congress by the Congressional Research Services. 
https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R44087.pdf

Risk and Needs Assessment 
A statement enacted in March 2015 by the American Probation and Parole Association regarding the use of risk and needs assessments to predicate recidivism.
https://www.appa-net.org/eweb/Dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=IB_IssuePaper&wps_key=59dd054a-36d3-464c-ba97-bd8b032d12ea

Risk Assessment Instruments Validated and Implemented in Correctional Settings in the United States 
A report designed to provide foundational knowledge and a working framework of risk assessment instruments for criminal justice and social service agencies, practitioners, and policymakers. 
https://csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Risk-Assessment-Instruments-Validated-and-Implemented-in-Correctional-Settings-in-the-United-States.pdf

The Risk Need Responsivity Model of Offender Rehabilitation: Is There Really a Need for a Paradigm Shift? – 2013 
Jan Looman and Jeffrey Abracen. 2013, International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, v. 8 n. 3-4, pp. 30-36.
The current paper critically reviews the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) and Good Lives Model (GLM) approaches to correctional treatment. Research, or the lack thereof, is discussed in terms of whether there is a need for a new model of offender rehabilitation. We argue that although there is a wealth of research in support of RNR approaches, there is presently very little available research demonstrating the efficacy of the GLM in terms of the impact that programs based on this model of rehabilitation have on observed rates of recidivism among offender populations. 
https://psycnet.apa.org:443/fulltext/2014-12592-007.html

Polaschek, Devon L.L. An Appraisal of the Risk'-Need-Responsivity (RNR) Model of Offender Rehabilitation and Its Application in Correctional Treatment. 2012,
Legal and Criminological Psychology, v. 17, pp. 1-17.
The RNR (risk-need-responsivity) model is evaluated. This article discusses: what the RNR model is; contextualizing the RNR model as a rehabilitation framework; model appraisal criteria; strengths; weaknesses; knowledge transfer issues; and future directions. '[A]lthough the RNR model's empirical validity and practical utility justify its place as the dominant model, it is not the 'last word' on offender rehabilitation; there is much work still to be done' (p. 1). (NIC Information Center has a copy)

The Principles of Effective Interventions 
Research supports several principles for effective offender interventions. NIC highlights eight principles in its "Evidence-Based Policy and Practice" initiative. They are listed below in developmental sequence.
https://nicic.gov/implementing-evidence-based-practice-community-corrections-principles-effective-intervention

RNR Textbooks

RNR Textbooks web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 11:16
  • Alarid, L. F. (2016). Community-based corrections (11th ed.). Cengage Learning.
  • Bayens, G., & Smykla, J. (2012). Probation, parole, and community-based corrections: Supervision, treatment, and evidence-based practices (1st ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Champion, D. J. (2007). Probation, parole and community corrections (6th ed.). Prentice Hall.
  • Hanser, R. D. (2013). Community corrections (2nd ed.). Sage.
  • Latessa, E. J., & Smith, P. (2015). Corrections in the community (6th ed.). Routledge.

RNR Websites

RNR Websites web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 11:17

Youth.gov 
Includes a section on positive youth development that has information on protective factors for juveniles. 
https://youth.gov/youth-topics/positive-youth-development

Family & Youth Services Bureau 
Includes a section on positive youth development.
https://www.acf.hhs.gov/fysb/positive-youth-development
https://opa.hhs.gov/adolescent-health?resources-and-training/adolescent-health-library/positive-youth-development-health-resources-and-publications/index.html

Office of Adolescent Health (within the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) 
The Office of Adolescent Health has identified a comprehensive range of federal resources on positive youth development.
https://opa.hhs.gov

RNR Videos/Podcasts

RNR Videos/Podcasts web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 11:20

Risk Assessment Tool Helps Probation Officers
This video provides an overview of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA) tool and how it is used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of post-conviction supervision. PCRA helps probation officers identify which persons to target for correctional interventions, what characteristics or needs will mitigate future criminal behavior, and how best to deliver supervision and treatment. The PCRA tool is an Evidence Based Practice (EBP) that guides an officer's decision about what level of risk an offender poses and what interventions would be best to reduce recidivism rates. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-nGDKgdTi4

Predicting Criminal Behavior through Risk Instruments
This podcast was produced by DC Public Safety Radio.  In this podcast, DC Public Safety Radio interviewed Mason Burley, Senior Research Associate for the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP), and Zachary Hamilton, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, and Director of the Washington State Institute for Criminal Justice, Washington State University. They discussed a new report from WSIPP and the larger policy implications of risk instruments. The title of the report is “Assessing the Risk of Criminal Offense for Washington’s Involuntary Treatment and Forensic Commitment Populations.” It includes an assessment of a risk instrument for mental health and convicted populations. 
https://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/?s=266

Responding to Offenders’ Needs Motivates Behavior Change
This video from the Washington State Department of Corrections looks at how the responsivity principle—including gender responsiveness—is being applied in prisons and in the community. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTYqigiPwOA

Influences on Criminal Behavior

Influences on Criminal Behavior web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 11:21

The role of community corrections practitioners is evolving (Lutze, 2014). Whereas community corrections officers are most known for their role in monitoring and enforcing conditions of supervision, they also are responsible for assessing individuals on supervision and helping them access services that will address their identified needs, help change behavior, and reduce their likelihood of recidivating. The role of community corrections officers as change agents is continuing to evolve, and officers in many jurisdictions are now being required to be more proactive in helping to manage the change process of the individuals they supervise. They must enhance their working relationship with the individuals on their caseload, using cognitive behavioral interventions within their regular interactions with offenders, and taking an active role in providing services to offenders to help them learn new skills.

Barbara Broderick, Chief Adult Probation Officer, Maricopa County Adult Probation Department

Barbara Broderick describes the competencies of an effective probation officer.

 

Community Corrections staff must be able to assess readiness for behavior change in the offenders they supervise. Change is a process defined by the stages depicted in the graphic below.

 

Stages of Change

stages of change graphic 1) Precontemplation Stage

 

"It isn't that we can't see the solution. It is that we can't see the problem"

Precontemplators usually show up in therapy because of pressures from others… spouses, employers, parents, and courts… Resist change. When their problem comes up, they change the topic of conversation. They place responsibility for their problems on factors such as genetic makeup, addition, family, society, destiny, the police, etc. They feel the situation is hopeless.

2) Contemplation Stage

"I want to stop feeling so stuck"

Contemplators acknowledge that they have a problem and begin to think about solving it. Contemplators struggle to understand their problems, to see its causes, and wonder about possible solutions. Many contemplators have indefinite plans to take action within the next few months.

"You know your destination, and even how to get there, but you are not ready to go yet"

It is not uncommon for contemplators to tell themselves that some day they are going to change. When contemplators transition to the preparation stage of change, their thinking is clearly marked by two changes. First, they begin to think more about the future than the past.

The end of contemplation stage is a time of anticipation, activity, anxiety, and excitement.

3) Preparation Stage

Most people in the preparation stage are planning to take action and are making the final adjustments before they begin to change their behavior. Have not yet resolved their ambivalence. Still need a little convincing.

4) Action Stage

Stage where people overtly modify their behavior and their surroundings. Make the move for which they have been preparing. Requires the greatest commitment of time and energy.

Change is more visible to others.

5) Maintenance Stage

Change never ends with action. Without a strong commitment to maintenance, there will surely be relapse, usually to precontemplation or contemplation stage.

Most successful self-changers go through the stages three or four times before they make it through the cycle of change without at least one slip. Most will return to the contemplation stage of change. Slips give us the opportunity to learn.

Taken from: Prochaska, J. O. & Di Clemente, C. C., (1982). Transtheoretical therapy: Toward a more integrative model of change. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 19(3), 276-288. Figure 2, p. 283.

Erika Preuitt, Adult Services Division Director, Department of Community Justice, Multnomah County, OR

Ericka Preuitt discusses the role of the probation officer as a change agent.

In this vignette you will observe a community supervision officer interacting with a probationer working towards the development of a case supervision plan.

The banner displayed throughout the video depicts demonstrated communication skills

As the evolution of community corrections practice from more a law enforcement driven approach to a more behavioral management approach (Taxman, Shepardson, & Byrne, 2004) gains more traction around the nation, community corrections leaders are looking for a different type of knowledge base and skill set in their employees. Leaders involved in APPA indicate they often find themselves hiring individuals with social work, psychology, sociology and other similar behavioral science degrees over individuals with criminal justice degrees. Why? Among the reasons are because those with strict criminal justice degrees are typically not getting as much exposure to the behavioral sciences within their degree programs. Therefore, the concepts and understanding of human behavior and motivation to change are less honed in criminal justice degree graduates. They also are not familiar with the change aspect of the work of community corrections and are more sensitized to the law enforcement side of the corrections field. As a result, agencies have to spend more time and allocate more resources to provide more extensive training and professional development once some of the criminal justice degree graduates are hired, which can be costly to agencies. Colleges and universities should incorporate more behavioral science courses into their criminal justice degree programs.

In general, community corrections leaders are interested in entry-level workers being educated about the expanded role of community corrections professionals as enforcers and as change agents. They want them to have an understanding of behavioral theories, theories of motivation, and the psychology of criminal conduct. They also want individuals to have exposure to the effect that trauma, substance abuse, brain impairment, and mental health issues have on the justice-involved population. While they don’t expect that undergraduates will have in-depth knowledge or exposure to effective interventions, they do feel they should be provided general knowledge about effective interventions with offenders, including knowledge about differential interventions for special offender populations (e.g., domestic violence, sex offenders, female offenders) as well as know how to locate resources and interpret research to determine what may be effective.

ICB Learning Objectives and Resources

ICB Learning Objectives and Resources web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:36

Goal

  • Criminal justice programs should incorporate more behavioral science courses.
  • We recommend that college advisors and professors encourage students to seek and get a certificate of study in diversity.
  • We also recommend that students learn a second language.

Sample Learning Objectives

  1. Describe common theories related to motivating behavioral change.
  2. Describe research related to adolescent brain development.
  3. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of psychological theories, sociological theories and biological theories related to criminal behavior.
  4. Explain the effect of trauma on the justice-involved population.
  5. Recognize the effect that mental illness has on offending and behavior change.
  6. Recognize the effect that substance use disorders have on offending and behavior change.
  7. Recognize the effect that brain impairment issues have on offending and behavior change.
  8. Identify common criminal thinking (i.e., cognitive) errors.
  9. Discuss types of cognitive interventions used with individuals on supervision.
  10. Identify methods practitioners can use to enhance an individual’s internal motivation.
  11. Explain the key aspects of probation/parole officers as change agents.
  12. Summarize differential interventions used for special populations of offenders (e.g., women offenders, sex offenders, domestic violence offenders).
  13. Describe how cultural competency of corrections professionals affects supervision outcomes and behavior change.

ICB Self-Paced Online Courses

ICB Self-Paced Online Courses web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:37

Surviving the Trenches: The Impact of Trauma Exposure on Corrections Professionals
Webinar broadcast: February 17, 2016.  Research suggests that constant exposure to disturbing aspects of human behavior and the pain and suffering of others can come with a price for professionals. This webinar examines secondary trauma and compassion fatigue as experienced by corrections professionals. It brings together the latest research on the physiological impact of trauma exposure with simple, realistic techniques that can mitigate the negative effects, improve personal well-being, and enhance professional longevity. 
http://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Surviving-the-Trenches-The-Impact-of-Trauma-Exposure-on-Corrections-Professionals--APPA-STITECP-JG.aspx

Adolescent Brain Development: Research Implications for Community Corrections
This is a recording of a webinar presented by Charlene Rhyne, PhD., Abbey Stamp, LCSW, Barbara Fletcher and Izzy Lefebvre on the subject of adolescent brain development and research implications for community corrections, brought to you by the APPA Research Committee. 
https://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Adolescent-Brain-Development-Research-Implications-for-Community-Corrections--CC-ABDRICC-CORR-APPA.aspx

Cognitive-Based Communication Skills with Individuals on Community Supervision
Community supervision officers are tasked with facilitating positive changes in the behavior of people who, for the most part, are reluctant to change their behavior. Many of the individuals on supervision are committing crimes or are involved in antisocial behavior because their criminal or antisocial behavior is justified by their way of thinking. In other words, antisocial thinking leads to antisocial acts. This course will provide supervision staff with background information on some of the common thinking errors and how antisocial thinking patterns drive criminal, delinquent, or disruptive behavior. You will also be introduced to four cognitive-based skill strategies that you can use to improve your interpersonal communication with individuals you supervise, leading to more positive outcomes. In addition to presenting information, this course includes interactive exercises and case studies to help reinforce what you learn. (cost: $27.00)
http://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Cognitive-Based-Communication-Skills-with-Individuals-on-Community-Supervision--EL-CBCOMM-CORR-APPA.aspx 

ICB Publications

ICB Publications web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:38

Motivational Interviewing (with a Criminal Justice Focus) Annotated Bibliography. 
https://nicic.gov/motivational-interviewing-criminal-justice-focus-annotated-bibliography

Thinking for a Change 4.0
https://nicic.gov/thinking-change-40

Tools of the Trade: A Guide to Incorporating Science into Practice. 
https://nicic.gov/ttgisp

A Trauma Primer for Juvenile Probation and Juvenile Detention Staff
Published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, this brief presents definitions of key concepts, overviews how children respond to trauma, and offers tips for juvenile probation and detention staff seeking to be more trauma-informed in their work.
https://www.ncjfcj.org/publications/a-trauma-primer-for-juvenile-probation-and-juvenile-detention-staff/(link is external)

The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction
National Institute of Mental Health.
This is a fact sheet from NIMH on teenage brain development.
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-teen-brain-still-under-construction/index.shtml (link is external)

Behavior Management of Justice-Involved Individuals: Contemporary Research and State-of-the-Art Policy and Practice. 
Authors: Madeline M. Carter and Center for Effective Public Policy 
There remains an endless “revolving door” of individuals who are placed on community supervision, engage in further problematic behavior, and return to correctional facilities to likely repeat the cycle again. This paper provides a policy and practice framework to support the development of effective behavior management systems that will increase the compliance and prosocial behavior of justice-involved individuals both during and following their community supervision. [Abstract from Introduction] 
https://nicic.gov/bmjiicrsap

Case Study: How Joe was Affected by His Officer 

Community corrections officers can have a significant influence on outcomes by the ways in which they interact with individuals on supervision. Much of the leading training models teach officers the proper skillset using cognitive-behavioral techniques that, when used properly, encourage both short- and long-term prosocial change among individuals under supervision. Here is one case study that explains this process in practice. Note the terms that are highlighted as references to this and other learning domains on this website. 

Joe is a 32-year-old, white man who lives in a rural part of Arizona. A couple of years ago, after losing his manufacturing job, he started using various pain killers on a regular basis, coupled with his continued alcohol use. He started stealing from friends and family members. Eventually, he was arrested on theft and drug charges and placed on probation for a period of two years. That’s when he first met Cliff, his probation officer. In their first couple of meetings together, Cliff laid out exactly what Joe had to do in order to get off probation: abide by his terms, attend drug treatment, and maintain employment, among others. At first, Joe didn’t like of any of what Cliff had explained to him. He didn’t think he needed treatment at all; he just got caught up with life by losing his job. He thought he could get back on his feet in no time. After a few months of being on probation, Joe kept using drugs, had a positive drug screen, and missed one treatment session. Cliff immediately addressed this with Joe in a constructive manner. Joe was expecting Cliff to berate him about his violations and possibly throw him in jail. However, Cliff gave Joe an opportunity to provide his side of the story of what’s going on in his life. Through that interaction, Joe realized that maybe he did need some help; much more than he realized before. Over the next several meetings with Cliff, which seem to generally be about 30 minutes each time, Joe actually began look forward to talking with Cliff. They talked about his progress, his problem areas, and ways that he still needed help. In Joe’s mind, Cliff was always firm, consistent, and always held him accountable, but he was also supportive and compassionate. After about six months, Joe became sober and found a good job that paid the bills and kept him out of trouble. What Joe didn’t know about Cliff is that he was trained in a particular program that provided him with the skills to enhance the quality of his interactions with probationers and encourage positive behavioral changes among probationers. It certainly seemed to be working, because Joe was on his path to becoming a changed man…in a good way.

 

The Science of Adolescent Risk-Taking: Workshop Report
The workshop discussions of biobehavioral and psychological perspectives on adolescent risk behavior alluded repeatedly to the importance of the cultural and social contexts in which young people develop. Presenters described research on the ways family, peers, schools, communities, and media and technology influence adolescent behavior and risk-taking. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53409/(link is external)

The Potential of Community Corrections to Improve Safety and Reduce Incarceration
Authors: Peggy McGarry, Alison Shames, Allon Yaroni, Karin Tamis, Ram Subramanian, Lauren-Brooke Eisen, Leon Digard, Ruth Delaney and Sara Sullivan
As the size and cost of jails and prisons have grown, so too has the awareness that public investment in incarceration has not yielded the expected return in public safety. This creates an opportunity to reexamine the wisdom of our reliance on institutional corrections—incarceration in prisons or jails—and to reconsider the role of community-based corrections, which encompasses probation, parole, and pretrial supervision. However, it could also be an opportunity wasted if care is not taken to bolster the existing capacity of community corrections. With this report, Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections provides an overview of the state of community corrections, the transformational practices emerging in the field (including those in need of further research), and recommendations to policymakers on realizing the full value of community supervision to taxpayers and communities. 
https://www.vera.org/publications/the-potential-of-community-corrections-to-improve-safety-and-reduce-incarceration-configure(link is external)

Risk Factors for Delinquency: An Overview
Authors: Michael Shader
Researchers in the field of juvenile justice have long been interested in understanding the factors that may lead a juvenile to engage in delinquent behavior. Prevention strategies in the field of juvenile justice have recently adopted a public health approach to combating delinquency, targeting risk factors for delinquency. The article defines risk factors and examines some of the major risk factors linked to juvenile delinquency and violence. Risk factors are defined as characteristics or variables that, if present in any given youth, increase the chance that they will engage in delinquent behavior. Risk factors for delinquency fall into three broad categories: individual, social, and community. Individual factors include psychological, behavioral, and mental characteristics; social factors include family and peer influences; and community factors include school and neighborhood characteristics. By studying these risk factors, researchers and practitioners are able to enhance prevention programs by targeting the very factors or characteristics that are known to lead to delinquency. This public health strategy offers a promising approach to the prevention of juvenile delinquency in at-risk youth. 
https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=207540(link is external)

Tools of the trade: A guide to incorporating science into practice. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections (2004)
Authors: F.S. Taxman, E.S. Shepardson & J. M. Byrne
The application of evidence-based research findings to the practice of offender supervision is explained. Sections of this manual include introduction -- supervision as a behavioral management process to reduce recidivism; behavior and change; assessment and planning; communication tools; information tools; incentives to shape offender behavior; service tools; offender types; and guiding principles. 
http://nicic.gov/ttgisp

Bourgon, G., Gutierrez, L., & Ashton, J. (2012). The evolution of community supervision practice: The transformation from case manager to change agent. The Journal of the American Probation and Parole Association: Perspectives, 36(3), 64-81. 

Gifford-Smith, Mary, Kenneth A Dodge, Thomas J.  Dishion, and Joan McCord. “Peer Influence in Children and Adolescents: Crossing the Bridge from Developmental to Intervention Science,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 33, no. 3 (2005): 255–265.
Considerable evidence supports the hypothesis that peer relationships influence the growth of problem behavior in youth. Developmental research consistently documents the high levels of covariation between peer and youth deviance, even controlling for selection effects. Ironically, the most common public interventions for deviant youth involve segregation from mainstream peers and aggregation into settings with other deviant youth. Developmental research on peer influence suggests that desired positive effects of group interventions in education, mental health, juvenile justice, and community programming may be offset by deviant peer influences in these settings. Given the public health policy issues raised by these findings, there is a need to better understand the conditions under which these peer contagion effects are most pronounced with respect to intervention foci and context, the child's developmental level, and specific strategies for managing youth behavior in groups.

Green, Amy E., et al. "Predicting Delinquency in Adolescence and Young Adulthood: A Longitudinal Analysis of Early Risk Factors." Youth Violence & Juvenile Justice 6, no. 4.
This study examined the ability of early risk factors to predict delinquency referrals. Significant risk factors included externalizing behaviors, prenatal smoking, parent marital status, and mother's education. Students with three or more risk factors had eight times the number of delinquency referrals than those with no identified risk factors.

Taxman, Faye. “Reentry and Supervision: One is Impossible Without the Other,” Corrections Today, April 2007, 69, 2: 98-101,105. 
The article focuses on the use of the supervision process to help an offender become a productive citizen. It cites the similarities between case management and supervision. It details the model of supervision that is focused on facilitating offender change. It mentions the selection criteria that have been used for the Proactive Community Supervision (PCS) project.

ICB Websites

ICB Websites web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:40

Cognitive Behavior Therapy 
"One form of psychotherapy stands out in the criminal justice system. Cognitive behavioral therapy reduces recidivism in both juveniles and adults. The therapy assumes that most people can become conscious of their own thoughts and behaviors and then make positive changes to them. A person's thoughts are often the result of experience, and behavior is often influenced and prompted by these thoughts. In addition, thoughts may sometimes become distorted and fail to reflect reality accurately. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been found to be effective with juvenile and adult offenders; substance abusing and violent offenders; and probationers, prisoners and parolees. It is effective in various criminal justice settings, both in institutions and in the community, and addresses a host of problems associated with criminal behavior. For instance, in most cognitive behavioral therapy programs, offenders improve their social skills, means-ends problem solving, critical reasoning, moral reasoning, cognitive style, self-control, impulse management and self-efficacy" (NIJ Journal No. 265, April 2010, p. 22).  The resources on this page have been hand-picked by the NIC Information Center team. 
http://nicic.gov/library/package/cbt

ICB Videos/Podcasts

ICB Videos/Podcasts web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:41

The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain 

Ted Talks video featuring Sarah-Jayne Blakemore.
Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically "teenage" behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain.[Abstract taken from TED Talks]
https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_jayne_blakemore_the_mysterious_workings_...

Correctional Practitioners as “Agents of Change,” Edward Latessa 
In this interview, Edward Latessa, Ph.D., Director of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati, discusses the skills and competencies needed for correctional staff—particularly probation and parole officers and case workers—to be agents of change. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJip3q3apa0

Probation and Parole Agents 
This is a YouTube video in which officers talk about what it’s like to work as a probation and parole agent for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPnRbAUXBe0

Walk in My Shoes: Probation/Parole Officer, Allison Stahl 
This YouTube video shows aspects of working as a probation/parole officer in Durham County, North Carolina.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVHEx7bJZnU

The Challenge of Parole and Probation from an Officer’s Perspective 
This podcast produced by DC Public Safety Radio focuses on the joys and difficulties of being a parole and probation agent (what they call Community Supervision Officers in Washington, D.C.). 
https://media.csosa.gov/podcast/transcripts/challenge-parole-probation-o...

Interventions

Interventions web_admin Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:43

As the evolution of community corrections practice from more law enforcement driven approach to a more behavioral management approach (Taxman, Shepardson, & Byrne, 2004) gains more traction around the nation, community corrections leaders are looking for a different type of knowledge base and skill set in their employees. Leaders involved in APPA, indicate they often find themselves hiring individuals with social work, psychology, sociology and other similar behavioral science degrees over individuals with criminal justice degrees.  Why?  Among the reasons are because those with strict criminal justice degrees are typically not getting as much exposure to the behavioral sciences within their degree programs.  Therefore, the concepts and understanding of human behavior and motivation to change are less honed in criminal justice degree graduates.  They also are not familiar with the change aspect of the work of community corrections and are more sensitized to the law enforcement side of the corrections field.  As a result, agencies have to spend more time and allocate more resources to provide more extensive training and professional development once some of the criminal justice degree graduates are hired, which can be costly to agencies. Colleges and universities should incorporate more behavioral science courses into their criminal justice degree programs.

In general, community corrections leaders are interested in entry level workers being educated about the expanded role of community corrections professionals as enforcers and as change agents.  They want them to have an understanding of behavioral theories, theories of motivation, and the psychology of criminal conduct.  They also want individuals to have exposure to the impact that trauma, substance abuse, brain impairment, and mental health issues have on the justice-involved population.  While they don’t expect that undergraduates will have in-depth knowledge or exposure to effective interventions, they do feel they should be provided general knowledge about effective interventions with offenders, including knowledge about differential interventions for special offender populations (e.g., domestic violence, sex offenders, female offenders) as well as know how to locate resources and interpret research to determine what may be effective.

The Role of Community Supervision in the Criminal Justice Process

The Role of Community Supervision in the Criminal Justice Process web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:43

Community corrections, specifically pretrial services, probation, and parole/aftercare, are among the criminal and juvenile justice systems least known and understood aspects by the public. NIC and APPA recommend that undergraduate criminal justice (and related degree) programs allocate more time and specific attention to community corrections courses and within the overall degree program as a means of raising student awareness, interest, and understanding of this important and growing component of the justice process and corrections industry.

car scales of justice

One of the many results in the era of criminal justice reform is criminal justice systems collectively working towards creating safer communities by employing strategies that improve/enhance public safety resulting in less crime and fewer victims. The community corrections field, guided by the research supporting positive offender outcomes, has seen the role of the community supervision staff evolve into a duel role of law enforcer and caseworker,sometimes, defined as a change agent consisting of combined skills and approaches that support the working relationship between the officer and offender. One such approach is the application of the tenants of motivational interviewing,enhancing communication strategies that help offenders resolve ambivalence about changing behaviors that are linked to criminal behavior. In supporting the role of the officer as enforcer of compliance of the conditions of supervised release, another approach is the application of contingency management principles: consistently identifying the selected behavior, addressing the behavior immediately, and reinforcing the behavior with either reward or sanction. The intended outcome of these approaches is to move the role of the community supervision officer from solely focusing on the terms and conditions of community supervision to include addressing the criminogenic needs of the offender to mitigate the risk of re-offending.
Combining Officer Supervision Skills: A New Model for Increasing Success in Community Supervision. Brad Bogue, Jennifer Diebel and Tom O'Connor

John Lizama, Chief Probation Officer, Judiciary of Guam

John Lizama talking about transforming the role of the probation officer in Guam.

Denise Symdon, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Division of Community Corrections Administrator

Denise Symdon talking about the role and responsibilities of probation officers within her organization.

 

Brian Lovins,PhD. Assistant Director, Community Supervision and Corrections Department, Harris County, TX.

Brian shares his thoughts on framing the conversation with clients to encourage success.

Learning Objectives and Resources

Learning Objectives and Resources web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:45

Goal

Allocate more attention to community corrections within the overall criminal justice curriculum.

Sample Learning Objectives

  1. Describe how pretrial services, probation and parole/aftercare fit within the overall juvenile and criminal justice systems.
  2. Identify the myriad of positions within each of the three main components of the corrections industry—i.e., community corrections, detention/jail, and institutions/prisons.
  3. Identify key decision points and involvement of community corrections practitioners throughout the justice system process.
  4. Map the flow of information through the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Publications

Publications web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:47

Miller, Joel. "Contemporary Modes of Probation Officer Supervision: The Triumph of the “Synthetic” Officer?" JQ: Justice Quarterly 32, no. 2 (April 2015): 314-336.
This article considers the continued relevance of law enforcement and social worker roles to probation officer practice, a central motif in community corrections scholarship. It also considers how these traditional functions are integrated into community-oriented supervision practices, increasingly emphasized in policy circles. Using Latent Class Analysis of data from a national community corrections survey, a four-class typology of probation officers was developed, based on their supervision practices. While classes vary according to the intensity of supervision, particularly in the engagement of third parties (family, community, and the police), there are no classes that correspond either to law enforcers or to social workers. Rather, officer classes are all “synthetic”—combining law enforcement and social work functions together in the same strategy. The analysis identifies a number of predictors of membership in more intensive supervision classes. These relate to ideological orientations, caseload characteristics, officer demographics, and agency progressiveness.

Criminal Justice System Flowchart

On its website, the Bureau of Justice Statistics features a flow chart illustrating the typical sequence of events in the criminal justice system.  

http://www.bjs.gov/content/largechart.cfm

 

Juvenile Justice System Structure and Process

This case flow diagram is featured on the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention website. It illustrates the stages of delinquency case processing in the juvenile justice system. [description from website] 

http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/case.html


Lovins, Brian, Francis T. Cullen, Edward J. Latessa and Cheryl Lero Jonson, "Probation Officer as a Coach: Building a New Professional Identity." Federal Probation 82. no. 1(2018): 13-19, https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/82_1_2_0.pdf

Textbooks

Textbooks web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:49
  • Alarid, L. F. (2016). Community-based corrections (11th ed.). Cengage Learning.
  • Barton-Bellesa, S. M., & Hanser, R. D. (2011). Community-based corrections: A text/reader. Sage.
  • Bayens, G., & Smykla, J. (2012). Probation, parole, and community-based corrections: Supervision, treatment, and evidence-based practices (1st ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Champion, D. J. (2007). Probation, parole and community corrections (6th ed.). Prentice Hall.
  • Hanser, R. D. (2013). Community corrections (2nd ed.). Sage.
  • Hemmens, C. Belbot, B., & Bennett, K. (2013). Significant cases in corrections (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
  • Latessa, E. J., & Smith, P. (2015). Corrections in the community (6th ed.). Routledge.
  • Lutze, F. (2013). Professional lives of community corrections officers: The invisible side of reentry. Sage.
  • Taxman, F. S., & Belenko, S. (2012). Implementing evidence-based practices in community corrections and addiction treatment.  Springer.

Websites

Websites web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:50

National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies

The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies’ (NAPSA) mission is to promote pretrial justice and public safety through rational pretrial decision making and practices informed by evidence. NAPSA’s core values include learning; transparency and open communications; objective standards; collaboration; dignity; respect; and professional integrity.  NAPSA’s core strategic approach is to provide evidence based standards and education to individuals and agencies.  NAPSA possesses the following supporting strategies:

  • refine and update standards;
  • educate diverse practitioners;
  • provide individual certification;
  • provide agency accreditation;
  • provide short-term training and technical assistance to jurisdictions in need; and
  • provide identified member services.

https://napsa.memberclicks.net/home

 

Discover Corrections

Discover Corrections was created as a collaborative effort of American Probation and Parole Association (CSG/APPA), the American Correctional Association (ACA), American Jail Association (AJA) and the Center for Innovative Public Policies (CIPP), with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). On October 1, 2014, federal funding for the website was expended, and the American Probation and Parole Association assumed management of the website without federal funding. Discover Corrections provides in-depth comprehensive information about entry-level and advanced careers in corrections. Employers are able to share relevant job posting information making it possible for job-seekers to locate job opportunities nationwide. Discover Corrections also offers a practical and concise overview of corrections for those who are interested in the field. In addition, Discover Corrections provides strategies to improve the effectiveness and retention of valuable correctional employees.

http://discovercorrections.com/

Videos/Podcasts

Videos/Podcasts web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:54

Olmsted County Community Corrections' Approach to Probation
02/28/2020, 8 minutes
Community Corrections has been on a journey to transform our practice of probation and parole. We interviewed parole officers as well as clients of DFO Community Corrections to get stories about their experiences. This short video shows the impact Olmsted County is making.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60TbR7isTRM&feature=youtu.be

Dr. Brian Lovins: Probation Coaches on Criminal Justice Office Hours.
10/17/2018, 33 minutes
Dr. Lovins is the Assistant Director for Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department. In this 33 minute podcast from the University of Cincinnati, he discusses changing the role of probation officers from that of a referee to a coach and the impact that could have on criminal justice outcomes. 
https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/criminal-justice/dr-brian-lovins-probation-7Z9Y8gt4avJ/

PBS NewsHour: A personalized approach to probation saved Arizona $461 million
04/07/2018, 8 minutes
Maricopa County Adult Probation Department is a leader in probation reform, in this video  probation officers are engaging with offenders providing a supportive, individualized approach to community supervision.
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/a-personalized-approach-to-probation-s...


The Difference Between Probation and Parole. 
This YouTube video was produced by Lawinfo.com. It briefly discusses the difference between probation and parole.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXUZhaWdc3c 

Sample Assignments

Sample Assignments web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:55
  • Have students visit the Discover Corrections website to learn about different aspects of the corrections industry.  Discover Corrections includes information on institutional corrections, detention, and community corrections.  Students can research different types of jobs and qualifications for jobs in each of these types of disciplines within the corrections field. This will help expose them to the variety of careers within corrections.
    http://www.discovercorrections.com/
     
  • Have students review “Stories from the Field” on the Discover Corrections website to review personal perspectives from people working in the field about why they chose this career path and what they enjoy about working in the field.
    http://www.discovercorrections.com/explore/stories-from-the-field

Universal Skills

Universal Skills web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:57

Regardless of what type of work someone ends up doing in the corrections industry, they will likely find themselves interviewing or talking with justice-involved individuals at some point and writing some type of report(s) (Arcaya, 1974; Nash, 2011; Williams, Dixen, Calhoun, & Moss, 1982). Effective oral and written communication skills are helpful for any corrections practitioner, but absolutely imperative for individuals interested in working in community corrections (Bracken, 2003). Every interaction with justice-involved individuals counts (from the intake process in a jail, cafeteria in a prison, or downtime on a cell block, to an office or home contact with a probationer or parolee) and presents an opportunity not only to monitor and enforce rules, regulations, and conditions, but also to challenge individuals’ decisions and help motivate and move individuals further along their change journey (Armstrong, 2012; Hartzler & Espinosa, 2011).

William Cash, EBP Implementation Specialist, Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice

William describes the role of the Change Agent.

Communication

Colleges and universities should include instruction on effective correctional interviewing and communication techniques and help students learn to write a report that would typically be used in a corrections setting versus a research-oriented paper.

Collaborate

 

In general, community corrections leaders are interested in entry-level workers who understand the importance of the collaborative relationship between community corrections officers and individuals on community supervision to achieve reductions in recidivism. They want them to recognize the influential role they have on the lives of justice-involved individuals, how to respect that influence, and how to leverage it wisely and effectively so they do no harm to those they are interacting with.

 

 

Report Writing

Reports to the court, paroling authorities, and more have a major effect on a justice-involved individuals' circumstances and life (Tata, 2010; Tata, Halliday, Hutton, & McNeill, 2008). Oral or written reports that are not well constructed and do not have adequate and complete information can lead to ineffective decisions about next steps for the individual. Therefore, it is important for professional in corrections, including community corrections, to be able to know where to find, how to gather, how to analyze/synthesize, and how to present information (orally or in writing) in an effective and concise manner.

Learning Objectives and Resources

Learning Objectives and Resources web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:17

Goals

Provide instruction on effective correctional interviewing techniques and field report writing.

Sample Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the common types of interviews and interactions conducted within community corrections.
  2. Explain research related to the therapeutic alliance/collaborative relationship within community corrections.
  3. Identify strategies that justice professionals can use to strengthen the collaborative relationship with individuals they supervise in the community.
  4. Identify the common types of reports used in community supervision.
  5. List common information gathered for reports used in community supervision.
  6. Identify common sources of information for reports used in community supervision.
  7. List qualities of a good report.
  8. Distinguish the differences between report writing and technical/research writing.
  9. Describe the influence of information in reports on decision making in the justice process.

Self-Paced Online Courses

Self-Paced Online Courses web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:18

Skills for Tribal Pretrial Services Practitioners: Interviewing Techniques
Developed by the American Probation and Parole Association, this online self-paced training course provides tribal community corrections professionals with an overview of the interview process, key interviewing skills, and ethical responsibilities of the pretrial interviewer. 
https://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Skills-for-Tribal-Pretrial-Services-Practitioners-Interviewing-Techniques--APPA-STPSPIT-G.aspx

The NIC Learn Center has classes on writing and grammar, computer skills, communication, project management, and corrections topics. All that it needed is to create a free account.
Click here for NIC Learning Center Registration

Cognitive-Based Communication Skills with Individuals on Community Supervision
Community supervision officers are tasked with facilitating positive changes in the behavior of people who, for the most part, are reluctant to change their behavior. Many of the individuals on supervision are committing crimes or are involved in antisocial behavior because their criminal or antisocial behavior is justified by their way of thinking. In other words, antisocial thinking leads to antisocial acts. This course will provide supervision staff with background information on some of the common thinking errors and how antisocial thinking patterns drive criminal, delinquent, or disruptive behavior. You will also be introduced to four cognitive-based skill strategies that you can use to improve your interpersonal communication with individuals you supervise, leading to more positive outcomes. In addition to presenting information, this course includes interactive exercises and case studies to help reinforce what you learn. 
https://appa.academy.reliaslearning.com/Cognitive-Based-Communication-Skills-with-Individuals-on-Community-Supervision--EL-CBCOMM-CORR-APPA.aspx

Publications

Publications web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:19

A Guide for Probation and Parole: Motivating Offenders to Change
Published by the National Institute of Corrections, this publication provides probation and parole officers and other correctional professionals with a solid grounding in the principles behind motivational interviewing and a practical guide for applying these principles in their everyday dealings with offenders. 
https://nicic.gov/motivating-offenders-change-guide-probation-and-parole

Tips for Building Rapport 
Handout created by the American Probation and Parole Association. This brief handout provides tips to influence and guide probationers to comply with their supervision.

Exploring the Perceptions of the Offender-Officer Relationship in a Community Supervision Setting
This study explores the influence of the Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS) model on offender perceptions of their collaborative working relationships with supervising probation or parole officers. 
http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/121424.pdf

Websites

Websites web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:20

Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers
This web site provides resources for those seeking information on motivational interviewing.  It is hosted by the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT), an international organization committed to promoting high-quality MI practice and training. 
https://motivationalinterviewing.org/

Videos/Podcast

Videos/Podcast web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:21

Motivational Interviewing in Corrections, National Institute of Corrections
This podcast was produced by DC Public Safety Radio.  The program interviews Bradford Bogue, Director of Justice System Assessment and Training and a motivational interviewer trainer since 1993, and Anjali Nandi, Program Director of the Center for Change. She has been a member of the International Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers since 2003. 
https://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/?s=motivational+interviewing

Resource Guide for College Educators

Resource Guide for College Educators web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:21

The goal of this guide is two-fold:

  1. To encourage criminal justice educators to recognize the importance of developing curriculum specific to community supervision, distinct from institutional corrections.
  2. Provide support to college educators who teach community corrections courses.

Further, surprisingly few criminal justice / criminology professors have received formal instruction on effective teaching strategies. This guide provides direction, including additional sources of information, for new educators in terms of community corrections curriculum content development as well as effective teaching practices.  

The guidance offered in this section is purely advisory. NIC and APPA recognize and respect the tenets of academic freedom and the autonomy of university faculty. In no way should anything contained in this report be misconstrued as a mandated function of a community corrections course or otherwise.

The authors encourage new faculty, as well as experienced faculty with an interest in community corrections, to peruse the guide and extrapolate those concepts and resources that are most beneficial to your instructional needs. 

Building Your Syllabus

Building Your Syllabus web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:23

The syllabus is the cornerstone of any college course and the first step toward class preparation. While Nilson (2010) identifies 23 recommended components of a syllabus, this guide will briefly focus on eight core areas:

  1. Course title
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course description
  4. Learning objectives
  5. Textbooks and other reading materials
  6. Grading scale and rubrics
  7. University and class policies
  8. Course outline

Course Title

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) defines community corrections as the supervision of criminal offenders in the resident population, as opposed to confining offenders in secure correctional facilities. Likewise, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) defines community corrections as programs that oversee the supervision of offenders outside of jail or prison. Community corrections encompasses probation and parole but can also be broadened to include pretrial supervision. Probation is typically regarded as correctional supervision conducted in the community in lieu of incarceration, whereas parole represents supervised release in the community from a prison. The term community corrections may also be used in reference to halfway houses, day reporting centers, and work release programs.

Various course titles have been used across universities including Introduction to Community-Based CorrectionsAlternative to CorrectionsProbation and ParoleCommunity Corrections, or some variation thereof. Simply Introduction to Community Corrections would be sufficient.

Prerequisites

Given the focus on introducing community corrections to undergraduate students, it is recommended that such a course is permitted to proceed immediately after completion of an Introduction to Criminal Justice class.

Course Description

Course Description web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:23

The following call-out boxes contain examples of course descriptions for community corrections classes. Many more can be located online with any available search engine. For universities in which an equivalent course is already present a description has likely already been created and established, potentially as a component of what is referred to as a “syllabus of record.” In such cases it may be necessary to get approval from the department chair or university administration to make changes.

The course description should include the rationale or justification for the course and major topic areas to be covered (Nilson, 2010). If using the term “community corrections,” it is important that it be well defined in the course description. As mentioned previously the term can be used in reference to probation, parole, halfway houses, work release programs, and even pretrial supervision (Hanser, 2014; Lutze, 2014). If the focus will be primarily on probation and parole supervision, it would be helpful to indicate that in the description. It is also beneficial to indicate the orientation of the class in terms of examining the correctional system (e.g., history, philosophy), the work of those with jobs in the system, and the lives of the individuals involved in that system (i.e., victims, defendants, probationers, inmates, parolees). Finally, if there is a focus on any specialized populations such as sex offenders, gang members, domestic violence perpetrators, it would be useful to indicate that as well.

The following are samples of course descriptions from community corrections courses from several colleges and universities.

American Public University’s Probation and Parole Course Description

Probation and Parole will guide students through comprehensive, up-to-date, evidence-based practices and research for probation, release from prison, and other community-based alternatives. Students will explore community-based correctional programs in their historical, philosophical, social, and legal context and integrate real-life practice to the greatest extent possible.

Mr. Donald Rallyson’s Spring 2015 Introduction to Community Based Corrections Course Description at WOR-WIC Community College

This course will focus on all forms of community-based corrections. The student will examine origins, organization and trends in current traditional corrections as well as focusing on non-traditional community corrections: electronic monitoring, house arrest, day-treatment, boot-camp and fines.

Dr. Faith Lutze’s Spring 2014 Community Corrections Course Description at Washington State University

U.S. policymakers have become increasingly punitive in the last 40 years resulting in the war on drugs, mandatory sentencing, and longer sentences resulting in extreme increases in our prison population. While attention is often focused on the record setting 2.5 million Americans incarcerated in our nation’s prisons and jails, the overwhelming number of offenders under state control is supervised in the community. There are approximately 740,000 offenders released from prison each year with approximately 5 million Americans serving time on probation or parole. This course will provide a review of the complex issues confronting the criminal justice system, corrections agencies, community corrections officers, offenders, and the communities in which we all live—both offenders and law abiding citizens. Be prepared to stop thinking about offenders as “those people” and begin thinking about them as “our people,” being released from “our prisons” into “our communities” where “we live, work, and play.”

Mr. Edward Mosley’s Fall/Spring 2013-2014 Community Corrections: Probation and Parole Course Description at Passaic County Community College

This course examines the relationship between institutional confinement and community-based supervision. Emphasis is placed upon probation, parole, pretrial release programs, and halfway houses. The application of these programs to special offender groups, as well as to the larger population of adult male offenders, is addressed. The overall effectiveness of community-based correction programs is also evaluated.

Dr. Martha Hurley’s Spring 2015 Community Based Corrections Course Description at Texas A&M University Commerce

A study of probation, parole, diversion, pre-trial release, and intermediate sanctions. A critical analysis of the statutes and policies relating to the administration of community-based correctional programs. Specifically, this course will highlight critical issues and trends in community-based corrections as well as evaluate the practice of community corrections nationwide. Special emphasis will be placed on exploring the development of community corrections, including probation, parole, intermediate punishments, special offenders in the community, and juvenile offenders in the community.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:27

The learning objectives will communicate to the prospective students why they are taking the course and what they can expect to learn from it. Further, it will also serve as a reminder to you, the instructor, what the key aims of the course were and help keep your course focused (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Again, like the course description, in some cases the university or others at your institution may already have mandated course objectives that must be included in your syllabus.

While it is understood that criminal justice programs and universities have the dual goals of promoting a broad liberal arts education in addition to meeting the vocational needs of the field (Baker, Holcomb, & Baker, 2016; Flanagan, 2000), this guide will naturally express some bias towards practical knowledge and skill areas for the students’ eventual workplace. However, recent research by Garland & Matz (2016) associated with this project demonstrated that both practitioners in the field and college faculty recognize the importance of universal skills such as critical thinking, verbal and written communication, and interpersonal skills.

As Svinicki & McKeachie (2014) explain, the learning objectives and goals of the course should reflect and “…facilitate student learning and thinking in general” (p. 8). Further, learning objectives may require different levels of complexity. Despite its age, Bloom’s taxonomy remains a useful resource for course objective development (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001; Bloom, 1956). The taxonomy is characterized by six levels of learning including knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The first level, knowledge, requires students to recall information; comprehension involves further interpretation; application requires students to use what they’ve learned to solve a problem; analysis includes the examination of assumptions and hypotheses; synthesis refers to the integration of numerous ideas into a single project; and finally evaluation concerns students' ability to assess and critique what they have learned. Anderson and colleagues (2001) later added “creation” as a seventh level. The following is a list of sample verbs associated with these levels of learning that may aid the development of new learning objectives (Nilson, 2010, pp. 22-23; Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).

Level Sample Verbs
Knowledge Define
Describe
Identify
Comprehension Explain
Paraphrase
Translate
Application Compute
Prepare
Illustrate
Analysis Compare
Contrast
Interpret
Synthesis Arrange
Assemble
Categorize
Evaluation Critique
Assess
Conclude
Creation Reorganize
Plan
Produce

The following are samples of learning objectives from community corrections courses from several colleges and universities.

Mr. Edward Mosley’s Fall/Spring 2013-2014 Community Corrections: Probation and Parole Course Learning Objectives at Passaic County Community College

  1. Explain how probation and parole relate to other components of the criminal justice system.
  2. Describe the types of sentencing schemes in use.
  3. Explain the history of probation in the United States.
  4. Differentiate between the medical model of treating offenders versus the rehabilitation model.
  5. Explain the principles which underlie the alternative dispute resolution concept.
  6. Describe the goals of community corrections.

Dr. Faith Lutze’s Spring 2014 Community Corrections Course Learning Objectives at Washington State University

  1. Defining the Problem through Statistics
    1. Provide a foundation of understanding based on social science research and statistics about the extent of offender supervision in the United States.
    2. Provide a clear understanding of the pattern and type of supervision utilized in the United States.
  2. Create an understanding of the social, political, and professional context of community corrections
    1. Provide a simple overview of the multiple frameworks influencing community corrections supervision.
    2. Develop a new paradigm to conceptualize the importance of community corrections to the success of the criminal justice system.
    3. Begin a discussion informed by science, theory, and personal/professional experience about evidence based practices in community supervision.
  3. Understanding the Experiential Context of Supervision
    1. Create an understanding of the social and personal context in which supervision takes place.
    2. Outline the importance of multiple interventions including sanctions, support, and treatment.
    3. Develop an understanding of community supervision as a “human profession.”
  4. Integrating Systems in Response to Community Supervision and Offender Needs
    1. Provide a framework for understanding how system level responses must be connected to the reality of professional contexts, communities, and offenders.
    2. Identify how complex problems require complex solutions and interagency collaboration.
    3. Provide the foundations for creating solutions to complex social problems.
  5. Achieving Change and Taking Action
    1. Learn how to translate social science into effective policy.
    2. Empower future professionals to implement evidence based practices.

Dr. Martha Hurley’s Spring 2015 Community Based Corrections Course Learning Objectives at Texas A&M University Commerce

  1. The student will obtain a basic understanding of community corrections concepts.
  2. The student will understand the policy implications of community corrections practice.
  3. The student will be able to put community corrections practice in a national context.
  4. The student will learn how to think critically about community corrections issues.

Mr. Donald Rallyson’s Spring 2015 Introduction to Community Based Corrections Course Learning Objectives at WOR-WIC Community College

  1. Describe the objectives of community based corrections.
  2. Describe and discuss various diversion programs in the criminal justice system.
  3. Identify and discuss various economic sanctions to include fines, fees, restitution, and community service.
  4. Understand and discuss the historical development, program planning, and operations of community residential centers (halfway houses).
  5. Describe pre-trial release, temporary release programs, and parole.
  6. Discuss special problems and need of female offenders.
  7. Understand and describe in detail various programs for juveniles, and the difference in criminal justice and juvenile justice.
  8. Identify special needs, problems, and concerns of drug and alcohol offenders.

American Public University’s Probation and Parole Course Learning Objectives

  1. Identify various types of community corrections programs.
  2. Explain the factors involved in the decision to release one from detention.
  3. Explain the purpose and contents of the presentence investigation report.
  4. Describe how probation is organized and operates.
  5. Identify the importance of caseload classification in identifying risk and needs.
  6. Identify the types of educational and character qualifications needed to manage a caseload of offenders.
  7. Identify how probation conditions are modified and under what circumstances.
  8. Identify the various types of residential community corrections facilities.
  9. Examine how restorative principles and practices differ from traditional criminal justice practices.
  10. Distinguish the roles of discretionary parole and mandatory supervised release.
  11. Examine the preparations needed for the reentry process while the offender is still incarcerated.
  12. Analyze the similarities and differences between the juvenile and adult justice systems.
  13. Describe how rights are lost as a result of conviction.

Textbooks

Textbooks web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:44

Especially at the undergraduate level, courses will almost always be organized around one or two key textbooks. There are several prominent publishers that provide textbooks covering community corrections. In most cases, review copies can be obtained by prospective educators directly from the publishers (at no cost to you).

The adoption of a given textbook often comes with a variety of supporting documents and tools for educators. These additions may include test questions, chapter outlines, class exercises, PowerPoints (PPT), audio and video clips, bibliographies, and more. While supplemental materials are also provided for students with their textbooks, these materials often go unused unless required by the instructor and therefore should weigh less in a professor’s decision-making (Berry, Cook, Hill, & Stevens, 2011). Note, textbooks typically include learning objectives within each chapter which can guide the day-to-day classroom curricula in addition to the higher-level syllabus. Indeed, the learning objectives and those contained within the selected textbook should be compatible (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). In addition, it is preferable that if you use a textbook you should generally plan on following the order of material as presented in the text. Students can find it frustrating and disorienting if the professor continually skips back and forth through book chapters.

Finally, consider the number and costs of the textbooks you will use. Books that have many editions but minor alterations may be more readily available and considerably cheaper than the newest edition or new first-editions. While costs shouldn’t drive your selection, students will experience less consternation if the books are at least moderately affordable, as books represent a significant portion of their financial burden in college (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).

Below is a sample of community corrections textbooks currently available from a variety of well-known publishers.

Alarid, L. F. (2016). Community-based corrections (11th ed.). Cengage Learning. Locate review copy information here.(link is external)

Bayens, G., & Smykla, J. O. (2012). Probation, parole, and community-based corrections: Supervision, treatment, and evidence-based practices (1st ed.). McGraw-Hill Education. Locate review copy information here.(link is external)

Champion, D. J. (2007). Probation, parole and community corrections (6th ed.). Prentice Hall. Locate review copy information here.(link is external)

Hanser, R. D. (2013). Community corrections (2nd ed.). Sage. Locate review copy information here.(link is external)

Hemmens, C., Belbot, B., & Bennett, K. (2013). Significant cases in corrections (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. Locate review copy information here.(link is external)

Latessa, E. J., & Smith, P. (2015). Corrections in the community (6th ed.). Routledge. Locate review copy information here(link is external).(link is external)

Lutze, F. E. (2014). Professional lives of community corrections officers: The invisible side of reentry. Sage. Locate review copy information here.(link is external)

Taxman, F. S., & Belenko, S. (2012). Implementing evidence-based practices in community corrections and addiction treatment. Springer. Locate review copy information here.

Other Syllabus Considerations

Other Syllabus Considerations web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 11:45

Assignments and Grading

The syllabus should include a listing of all assignments, homework, quizzes, exams, papers, and their relationship to the grading scale. While instructors may take numerous unique approaches to formulating their grade scale, it is important that it is clearly communicated to the student. In addition, if the professor intends to use a curve on exams or provide opportunities for extra credit these should be clearly articulated in the syllabus as well (for more on grading see Nilson, 2010, pp. 301-314; Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014, pp. 125-134).

Class and College Policies

Professors will want to outline class policies regarding attendance, tardiness, and incivility. The university or college may also have policies regarding attendance that must be adhered to. This is also the opportunity to state the policy for making up missed exams or assignments and any associated penalties with their delay. Other policies include any safety procedures, support services, disability accommodations, as well as academic dishonesty and plagiarism rules, in which case your institution likely possesses standardized language to be used in the syllabus (Nilson, 2010).  

Course Outline

Generally the last, but perhaps most useful, section of the syllabus will be the course outline. The outline can vary in detail by instructor, but generally it will contain a listing of the dates of the class, topics to be covered on a given date, and any readings, assignments, or exams associated with those dates. It’s important to recognize any holidays and breaks on the outline as well. 

In addition to the course title, professor contact, description, learning objectives, required textbooks, assignments, grading scale, policies, and outline; some may choose to include a bibliography of related readings, a legal disclaimer, and a copy of your biography and/or teaching philosophy (Nilson, 2010).

Recommended Readings

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Baker, W. M., Holocomb, J. E., & Baker, D. B. (2016). An assessment of the relative importance of criminal justice learning objectives. Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/10511253.2016.1172650

Grunert O’Brien, J., Mills, B. J., & Cohen, M. W. (2008). The course syllabus: A learning-centered approach (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Svinicki, M. D., & McKeachie, W. J. (2014). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (14th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Preparing for Class

Preparing for Class web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 12:10

About one month prior to the first class, Svinicki and McKeachie (2014) recommend outlining the content of your first few meetings. It is generally unrealistic to plan the entire course in advance down to the finest detail, but it is beneficial to plan for at least two or three class meetings to ensure the material is integrated and you have built-in sufficient opportunities for student involvement.

As part of this early planning process, consider what teaching methods will be utilized. The methods chosen should match the nature of the goals and objectives set for the course (Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, & Norman, 2010; Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). In addition, it is beneficial and more engaging for the students if the teaching methods are varied (Liu & Maddux, 2005), as well as any technological mediums used (e.g., PPT, videos). For example, a lecture can be more effective if accompanied by a class discussion. Teaching strategies will also reflect, to some extent, individual teaching styles. College professors should not try to force themselves to do or be something they are not. Instead, they should vary their teaching methods using strategies that fit the goals and objectives of the course but also their unique personalities (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). The following section provides a detailed listing of teaching strategies to consider.

In addition to outlining the early class meetings, also consider the extent to which technology will play a role in the course (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). For some the course may be entirely online, but even for those that are not, technology can still be used to give students access to grades, conduct exams and quizzes, share the syllabus, and provide other resources. Online class-management systems also allow you to send mass emails to your students. Consider sending an introductory message about a week before classes begin to introduce yourself and the course.

About two weeks before class conduct a final check of the syllabus (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Consider also asking a colleague to review. Check the classroom you’ve been assigned, ensure the technology in the room is working, that you are able to login, and then give the equipment a test run. Being comfortable and prepared will help alleviate some of the first-day jitters.

Though the focus of this report is community corrections curriculum development, college professors do more than teach classes, they may also need to balance research and service expectations (Benekos, 2016; Merlo, 2016; Pfeifer, 2016; Unnithan, 2016). For new professors, Merlo (2016) provides a helpful primer for those seeking tenure as well. While class preparation is important, college professors should also plan ahead for their other responsibilities, including how research and services activities will be organized around their classes or even integrated, if appropriate.

Recommended Readings

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Benekos, P. J. (2016). How to be a good teacher: Passion, person, and pedagogy. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 27(2), 225-237.

Merlo, A. V. (2016). The pre-tenure years: Survive, succeed, and thrive. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 27(2), 175-193.

Pfeifer, H. L. (2016). How to be a good academic citizen: The role and importance of service in academia. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 27(2), 238-254.

Svinicki, M. D., & McKeachie, W. J. (2014). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (14th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Unnithan, N. P. (2016). How to publish and develop a research agenda in academic criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 27(2), 212-224.

Teaching Strategies: Engaging Your Students

Teaching Strategies: Engaging Your Students web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 12:11

Five core areas for effective teaching are introduced in this section and include lectures, discussions, group-based learning, experiential learning, and writing. As mentioned previously, to be most effective professors will want to utilize a mix of strategies to maximize student involvement and learning.

Lectures

The lecture is often synonymous with teaching. Despite a recognition that other teaching methods have been shown to be more effective in influencing student retention of the material, lectures are still appropriate for 1) presenting up-to-date information not currently contained in textbooks or a single source, 2) summarizing material gathered from numerous sources, and 3) adapting the material to a specific context or framework (Nilson, 2010; Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). When using a visual aid such as PPT, it is best to mix in the use of diagrams, videos, and illustrations in lieu of (or at the very least in addition to) lengthy excerpts or copious presentation notes (Clark, 2008; Giers & Kreiner, 2009). Further, given students’ attention span has been shown to depreciate considerably after 15-minutes of lecture it would be wise to pause and engage in an alternative teaching strategy such as a discussion or student pairs to review the material at regular intervals (Nilson, 2010). 

Discussions

Discussions are useful for engaging students in the material and encouraging them to think more deeply about an issue or concept (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). It also allows the professor to assess student understanding and performance. To have a productive discussion, however, it requires that students be prepared to talk about the material. One means to ensure their preparedness is to issue a quiz at the start of the class. Others have used online discussion boards in which students were required to post a response and respond to another student’s post prior to class. Consider also setting ground rules for the discussion (e.g., order in which students will respond) and be prepared to refocus the group as needed when they deviate from the question or issue presented (Nilson, 2010).

Several approaches to starting a discussion can be utilized including the use of a common experience (e.g., from a video, excerpt in the textbook), identifying a controversy (e.g., in the news), identifying a problem, or posing a question. Questions can be factual, require application and interpretation, concern connective and causal effect, comparative, evaluative, or critical in nature (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).

Finally, consider the benefit of student-led discussion groups in which groups of students discuss the material independent of the professor’s input. Research has shown that students are more open to engaging in discussions when they are not confronted by the presence of an expert (i.e., the professor) (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Such an approach can also be conducted using online discussion boards.

Group-Based Learning

While lectures and discussions are useful for introducing information, they are not the best for demonstrating “how” to actually do something. Active learning remedies this need by encouraging students to work through problems with their peers (Jones, 2006). Peer tutoring for example enhances learning by allowing the student to teach the material (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Another approach is the “learning cell” in which students take turns asking and answering questions (Goldschmid, 1971). An alternative approach is known as Think-Pair-Share. In this case, the professor asks the class a single question and students get into pairs to form an answer, sharing their response with the entire class.

Another strategy is known as syndicate-based peer learning in which students are broken into teams of four-to-eight individuals (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Each group (or syndicate) is given a separate assignment of about four questions with a list of readings. The group may determine they would like to split the workload. Their findings are then presented to the class. The “jigsaw” approach is similar in terms of groupings and assignments, but instead of presenting to the class, one member from each group forms a new group (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). The students teach each other their respective sections of the assignment and then present a comprehensive overview to the entire class.

Such group learning approaches can be adapted for use in an online environment as well through email and discussion boards (Romiszowski & Mason, 2004). One advantage of online groups is that the discussions can occur synchronously (at the same time) or asynchronously (students can contribute at different times), allowing for greater flexibility in participation (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). This is particularly useful for working professionals who are taking classes. Other large group-based models to consider include team-based learning and learning communities (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). 

Experiential Learning

A common criticism of colleges and universities is that what they teach in the classroom doesn’t translate to application in the field. To remedy this dilemma a greater effort has been placed on experiential learning opportunities. Teaching options include the case method, problem-based learning, simulations, and field experiences (Nilson, 2010; Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Adapted from the business and legal fields, cases represent written descriptions of real-world problems. Students review the case briefs and attempt to come up with solutions, often associated with numerous potential outcomes and considerations. Problem-based learning can be considered an extension of the case method. Whereas the case method may have no discernable real-world outcome, problem-based exercises include a full account of the issue and the solution that was implemented. Typically professors provide students only with enough information to propose a solution and reserve the actual solution and outcome for later discussion.

Simulations may also be available that allow students to role-play in an interactive environment. For example, firearms training simulations place officers in difficult decision-making positions in an attempt to replicate real-world interactions with individuals. Finally, field experience is highly regarded in criminal justice and includes internships, observations, community service, and service-learning opportunities (Davis, 2015; George, Lim, Lucas, & Meadows, 2015; Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).

Writing

Even among practitioners, effective writing has been identified as one of the most important skills that students should obtain from college (Garland & Matz, 2016). While some associate writing with 15-page class papers, there are numerous alternative methods that can be used to reduce the burden on students and professors while still developing better writing abilities. These alternatives can be divided between high-stakes and low-stakes assignments (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).

High-stakes writing assignments contribute considerably to a student’s overall grade and may include lengthy term papers. Professors can improve student writing by requiring students to write multiple papers and multiple drafts (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Ideally, the assignment of multiple shorter papers or assignments offers greater opportunities for development than one large term paper. Rubrics are useful resources for providing feedback and can help focus a professor’s attention on important areas. Indeed, professors’ time for reading and reviewing papers will be limited and a strategy will be necessary to do so effectively. For some, it may be useful to separate a content review from a spelling and grammar review. 

Low-stakes writing assignments are often ungraded and may consist of “minute papers,” journals, or online discussion board contributions (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Such assignments help students explore the course’s content, contemplate the issues discussed in the course, and also improve the writing on higher stakes writing assignments. Finally, it’s good practice for the students and requires little follow-up or review by the professor if discussed in-class.

Recommended Readings

Clark, J. (2008). PowerPoint and pedagogy: Maintaining student interest in university lectures. College Teaching, 56(1), 39-44.

Davis, J. (2015). Engaging criminal justice students through service learning. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 26(3), 253-272.

George, M., Lim, H., Lucas, S., & Meadows, R. (2015). Learning by doing: Experiential learning in criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 26(4), 471-492.

Giers, V., & Kreiner, D. (2009). Incorporating active learning with PowerPoint-based lectures using content-based questions. Teaching of Psychology, 36(2), 134-139.

Jones, M., & Bonner, H. S. (2016). What should criminal justice interns know? Comparing the opinions of student interns and criminal justice practitioners. Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/10511253.2016.1143519

Jones, P. R. (2006). Using groups in criminal justice courses: Some new twists on a traditional pedagogical tool. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 17(1), 87-102.

Odom, S., & Helfers, R. C. (2016). Improving criminal justice students’ writing outcomes through systematic writing instruction. Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/10511253.2016.1148749

Svinicki, M. D., & McKeachie, W. J. (2014). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (14th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Resources

Resources web_admin Thu, 12/16/2021 - 12:12

Survey and Results

Survey and Results web_admin Thu, 12/09/2021 - 15:04
Image
man taking a survey on a tablet device

Incorporating Community Corrections Material in Undergraduate Criminal Justice Programs

What depth and breadth of academic coverage is necessary to prepare college students adequately for the community corrections field? Perhaps they should have stronger writing and interpersonal skills, improved knowledge of evidence-based practices, and/or increased exposure to topics related to clients, programming, and treatment? These questions largely drove the need for the development of Community Corrections Academic Resources (CCAR) Microsite.

A web-based survey was distributed to practitioners and academics to determine what core competency areas were most in need and adequately covered in the classroom. Unsurprisingly, there was a notable gap in expectations between practitioners and academics. However, the two groups agreed in that universal skills and knowledge areas were the most needed including good writing skills, verbal communication, organization skills, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills.

Survey Results

The survey instrument can be provided upon request.

The survey findings were used to select five high-priority practice areas that require greater attention in undergraduate curricula. They are ordered below by their relative importance as determined by the results of the survey.

  1. Increased knowledge of criminal justice research and evidence-based practices.
  2. Improved awareness and understanding of risk and needs assessment and classification.
  3. Increased knowledge of influences on behavior and methods for changing behavior.
  4. Increased awareness of the community corrections component of the criminal justice process.
  5. Increased understanding of the principles of correctional interviewing and report writing.

 

Skills and Knowledge Relevant to Community Corrections

This document shows the skills and knowledge relevant to community corrections as identified by the survey.

 

Preparing Community Supervision Officersthrough Undergraduate Education: A Study ofAcademic and Practitioner Expectations

Brett Garland and Adam K. Matz

The other sections of this website introduce each of these core areas, including recommended learning objectives, and sample resources that academicians may want to refer to when seeking to add content on these topics in the courses they teach. Please note: The resources listed here are not meant to be an exhaustive list. Rather, they represent a sample of resources available to use when incorporating information in your classes to achieve the sample learning objectives outlined for each topical area. NIC recognizes the autonomy that academicians have when creating their courses and coursework. Therefore, the aforementioned is provided to offer assistance and is not meant to suggest that it is the only way to introduce and teach these subjects.