An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.
Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock (
) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.
Step 2 - Assess Probation Department’s Readiness to Implement the Dosage Probation Model
The dosage probation model requires a probation agency with deep knowledge and skill in implementing evidence-based practices (EBP). Exposure to EBP alone is insufficient. Strong, active leadership and an infrastructure that ensures fidelity and continuous quality improvement are crucial to implementing and sustaining evidence-based policies and practices.
A critical step in conducting your dosage probation readiness assessment is ensuring your probation agency is well-positioned to implement and sustain the dosage probation model effectively. This section guides you through assessing your probation agency's readiness for implementation.
Complete the probation agency readiness assessment rating form
Conduct a dosage probation orientation session
Complete the Readiness Assessment Rating Form for Your Probation Agency
You may begin completing the Dosage Probation Readiness Assessment: Probation Agency Rating Form (.doc)anytime. However, it is recommended that you ensure your jurisdiction has the express authority to grant early termination from probation before allocating the time and resources to fill out the form. The rating form consists of eight parts, each containing questions to help you assess your probation agency’s preparedness in critical implementation areas, including leadership, departmental morale and organizational culture, evidence-based practices, and data management.
As you complete the rating form, you may want to take additional information-gathering steps to fully answer the questions. For example, to accurately assess departmental morale and organizational culture, you may wish to conduct a staff survey to learn more about their EBP attitudes/beliefs or knowledge. You may want to complete random case file reviews to determine whether staff realistically integrate EBP into their daily work, such as administering risk/needs assessments according to policy or developing and updating case plans with the necessary components. You may also wish to observe how well staff apply EBP to their interactions with people on probation, such as using cognitive behavioral interventions, motivational interviewing, or effective responses to compliance or noncompliance. Additionally, you may need to meet with staff responsible for collecting and analyzing probation data (whether they are internal or external personnel) to learn more about their capacity to conduct data management and the capabilities of automated information systems to collect data related to the implementation of dosage probation.
Prepare and Conduct Your Dosage Probation Orientation
Another step in assessing your probation agency's readiness is to conduct an orientation to dosage probation. Probation staff should have already received a preliminary introduction to dosage probation and expressed their initial support as you prepared for your readiness assessment.
The orientation serves several purposes. It is an opportunity for probation staff to learn about the dosage probation model and what to expect from the implementation process and readiness assessment. It is also an opportunity for your team to come together in one place and time to receive accurate and consistent information about dosage probation and why leadership is interested in implementing the model. It also prepares staff to engage in readiness assessment activities as may be needed, such as case file reviews or observations, as mentioned above.
Decide Whom to Invite
It is highly recommended that you invite all probation personnel to the orientation, including leadership, supervision staff regardless of caseload, intake or support staff, and others who may be responsible for in-house cognitive behavioral programming, coaching/staff development, and data collection and management. It is also recommended that agents who may supervise people on parole or supervised release, juveniles on probation, or people on pretrial release attend.
While not all attendees may ultimately supervise people eligible for early discharge through dosage probation, the orientation can help ensure everyone is unified in understanding and supporting your agency's vision for change. It can also make future cross-training and coaching in evidence-based practices much easier.
An important lesson learned from the dosage probation pilot sites is that dosage probation is most effectively implemented as a probation-wide model of adult supervision for people with a moderate or higher likelihood of recidivism.
In other words, everyone on probation meeting those criteria, regardless of their eligibility for early discharge, should receive effective intervention and supervision according to the dosage probation model. Likewise, all adult probation supervision agents should deliver effective case management and intervention according to the dosage probation model, regardless of their caseload.
Establishing dosage-specific caseloads or units in the pilot sites had several unintended consequences:
Siloed implementation created division among staff. Those carrying a dosage probation caseload felt they were subject to greater expectations and more rigorous standards of practice. In contrast, those with a non-dosage caseload felt left behind and that their counterparts were favored by leadership.
As select staff members received specialized training and coaching in evidence-based practices, staff across the agency lacked a shared vision and language for delivering probation services.
Dosage-specific caseloads or units created inequities in service. People assigned to a non-dosage caseload were not consistently offered, and thus could not benefit from, the same behavior-change opportunities as people assigned to a dosage caseload.
Overall, the approach resulted in a counterproductive atmosphere among staff and leadership.
Review and Customize the Orientation Materials
You may start preparing for the orientation by reviewing the Dosage Probation Orientation for Probation Staff Agenda Template (.doc). It includes the recommended meeting goals, topics, and discussion points to be covered and the time frames for each, totaling two hours. You must customize the [bracketed] information and may make further adjustments to meet the needs of your probation agency.
You may also begin by reviewing the Dosage Probation Orientation for Probation Staff Presentation Template (.ppt). The presentation follows and expands on the information in the agenda and contains suggested talking points and approaches to discussions and activities. You must customize the slides with [bracketed] information and may make further adjustments to meet the needs of your probation agency. The modifications you make to the presentation may require changes to the agenda and vice versa.
Consider creating a shared electronic folder to house all dosage probation information for easy reference. A centralized location for all dosage probation materials will come in handy during implementation
Consider the following questions to help you complete a successful orientation. You may need to address other issues specific to your probation agency.
Who is best suited to deliver the orientation? Does it make sense to have co-presenters? Who best represents your agency (or other entity) spearheading the readiness assessment? Who is most knowledgeable about or skilled in applying evidence-based practices? Who is most enthusiastic about or supportive of dosage probation? Who can best field concerns and questions from staff?
If you have co-presenters, which sections will each person cover? What other responsibilities might each person have in preparing for or delivering the orientation (e.g., coordinating the orientation time and logistics, reaching out to participants, preparing materials)?
Do you anticipate hearing specific concerns or questions from staff? If so, how do you plan to address or resolve them? How will you ease potential anxiety about the change process? If you have particularly vocal staff, what strategies will you use to dissuade them from discouraging participation or morale among other staff? If you have particularly quiet staff, how will you engage their participation to convey the collaborative team effort needed for implementation?
How will you notify staff about the orientation to communicate its importance and ensure the best attendance? Would an email suffice? Would staff benefit from face-to-face interaction? Or, would it be best to notify staff in both ways?
How will you determine the orientation's date and time to ensure the best attendance? Are there weekdays that work best for staff? Are there calendar conflicts or common staff vacation times to avoid? Do you want to "poll" staff for their availability?
Will you record the orientation for future reference, such as for those unable to attend or to serve as a resource when onboarding new staff?
How will those unable to attend be caught up to speed to ensure they understand and have an opportunity to share concerns or questions about dosage probation? If several staff cannot participate, does it make sense to conduct another orientation?
Who from your agency will be the point(s) of contact to address staff members’ concerns or questions during the readiness assessment process? What other strategies might you use to ensure staff receive consistent information and messaging about dosage probation (e.g., regular staff meeting updates, email updates or reminders, FAQs)? To manage the “rumor mill”?