Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

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.

Look online to find inspiration for your staff survey, if you choose to conduct one. There are many organizational or cultural readiness surveys available. You may also reference the National Institute of Corrections' Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM) Starter Kit for more information about Conducting an EBP Knowledge Survey (.pdf) .

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.

Lessons Learned: Implement Dosage Probation Agencywide

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.

The following handouts supplement the information in the agenda and presentation: Dosage Probation: Rethinking the Structure of Probation Sentences (.pdf) , Dosage Probation: A Prescription Based on Two Pilot Sites' Experiences (.pdf) , Dosage Probation Model Fundamentals (.pdf), and Dosage Probation Implementation Checklist (.pdf)[JM6]. Share these materials with staff to familiarize themselves with the information before the orientation.

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