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TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Effective Practices in Correctional Supervision Paula Smith, Ph.D. School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati Presented.

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Presentation on theme: "TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Effective Practices in Correctional Supervision Paula Smith, Ph.D. School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati Presented."— Presentation transcript:

1 TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Effective Practices in Correctional Supervision Paula Smith, Ph.D. School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati Presented at the annual meeting of IACCAC November 2012

2 Previous Research Solomon, Kachnowski, & Bhati (2005) –Results indicated no statistical difference between the rearrest rates of offenders who were assigned to mandatory release, discretionary release and unconditional release conditions. Bonta et al. (2008) –Meta-analysis did not support the effectiveness of community supervision in reducing offender recidivism. General recidivism: r =.022 (k = 26, n = 53,930) Violent recidivism: r =.004 (k = 8, n = 28,523)

3 Some Problems withTraditional Community Supervision Insufficient dosage Length of community supervision Caseload size Unknown risk of offenders Availability and quality of community referrals Content of interaction with offenders Focus on external controls Other policy and procedural issues

4 Previous Research Bonta et al. (2008) –A research agenda was initiated to develop and assess the Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICS). Bourgon et al. (2010); Bonta et al. (2010) –Preliminary results indicated that use of core correctional practices by STICS trained officers was associated with reductions in recidivism.

5 Overview of EPICS Model Applies the RNR framework to community supervision Trains officers on core correctional practices Includes measures of fidelity and coaching sessions Involves on-going research studies to examine the relationship between officer characteristics and offender outcomes

6 Risk Principle Identify higher risk offenders with an actuarial assessment. Higher risk offenders should receive more intensive services, treatment and supervision. Avoid targeting lower risk offenders as it may increase their risk and failure rates.

7 Translating the Risk Principle Probation and parole officers focus on higher risk offenders. A deliberate effort is made to increase dosage through the use of more frequent case management meetings as well as increased supervision and community referrals.

8 Need Principle Identify and target criminogenic needs: –Antisocial attitudes, values and beliefs –Procriminal peer associations –Personality ________________________________________________________ –Education/employment –Family –Substance abuse –Leisure and recreation

9 Translating the Need Principle Probation and parole officers are trained to target criminogenic needs (e.g., antisocial cognitions and social skills).

10 Specific Responsivity Principle Remove or address potential barriers to treatment. Match the style and mode of service delivery to key offender characteristics.

11 General Responsivity Principle Use cognitive-behavioral strategies as these techniques are the most effective in changing attitudes and behaviors.

12 Translating the Responsivity Principle Probation and parole officers use role clarification and other relationship skills to establish a strong collaborative working relationship with offenders (see Skeem et al., 2007; Trotter, 2006). EPICS uses a structured, active approach to changing antisocial attitudes and behaviors. –Defining themes and characteristics of cognitive-behavioral model –Core correctional practices

13 Structure of EPICS Session Each EPICS session should be structured to include the following four components: 1. Check-In 2. Review 3. Intervention 4. Homework

14 Pilot Project The original pilot project was conducted in Grant County, IN. –Northeastern Indiana, population of 69,825 –Predominantly white (90.3%) –Per capita income $25,756 (with a below poverty rate of 13.7%) –Education: High school diploma (80.9%), BA degree or higher (12.4%) –Unemployment rate of 7.0% Community corrections serves adults and juveniles, as well as offenders convicted of both felonies and misdemeanors.

15 Sample of Probation Officers A total of 6 probation officers were selected to be trained on the EPICS model (4 males, 2 females). In order to support implementation and ensure fidelity, trained officers attended bi-monthly coaching sessions with UC research associates. A total of 4 probation officers were assigned to the control group (1 male, 3 females).

16 Sample of Offenders Each probation officer was asked to recruit five offenders to participate in the pilot project. –Higher risk on the LSI-R –Minimum of six months on community supervision Sample included both males and females, adults and juveniles.

17 Research Design Probation officers recorded three sessions with each offender after 1, 3, and 6 months of supervision. All tapes were coded by the University of Cincinnati in order to compare trained versus untrained officers on their use of core correctional practices.

18 Research Design Offenders also completed two measures after the first session, and then again after six months of supervision. –Criminal Sentiments Scale-Modified (CSS-M) –Dual Role Inventory (DRI) Collection of outcome data is on-going, and includes the results of urinalysis as well as technical violations, re-arrest, re-conviction, and re-incarceration.

19 Results A total of 93 audiotapes were coded (52% first session; 31% second session; 17% third session). The experimental group submitted a total of 57 tapes, whereas the control group submitted a total of 36 tapes.

20 Results Trained were more likely to spend time discussing criminogenic needs rather than probation conditions and/or non-criminogenic needs.


22 Results Trained officers were more likely to make effective use of social reinforcement as a result of training on the EPICS model.


24 Results Trained officers were far more likely to identify antisocial thinking, but struggled with strategies to challenge (or replace) these cognitions.



27 Results Trained officers reported that their comfort level with structured skill building (i.e., role playing) was relatively low. As a result, this technique was specifically targeted in coaching sessions. There was evidence that use of social skill building increased slightly over time.


29 Results Trained officers made adequate use of structuring skills generally, and were more likely than untrained officers to assign homework.


31 Recent EPICS Research Projects Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) –Research with three adult parole regions –Designed to pilot the use of EPICS model with parole officers Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) –Research with three adult agencies and one juvenile agency Franklin County Adult Probation Hamilton County Juvenile Probation Hamilton County Adult Probation Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

32 Recent EPICS TA Projects We have more than 40 sites that have trained officers on EPICS and participated in subsequent coaching sessions.

33 EPICS Performance and DRI Score DRI Score Below AverageAbove Average EPICS Score% (n) Below Average58.5 (38)41.5 (27) Above Average41.1 (23)58.9 (33) ϕ =.17, p <.10

34 Common Barriers to Implementation EPICS requires officers to spend more time with higher risk offenders (and this may create the need to realign workloads). Officers need to learn and practice new skills – and this requires training and coaching! In order for successful implementation to occur, supervisors must be part of the process.

35 Common Barriers to Implementation Its too time consuming. –Evidence in the pilot project that time decreased slightly as officers became more proficient in the model. Its too difficult to conduct EPICS session in the field; it is so much easier to do in the office. –It can be difficult to conduct sessions with parents, siblings and other distractions in the home or school environment. I already do it – just not the way UC prefers.

36 Common Barriers to Implementation Im not a therapist or counselor; I refer them to treatment services. It isnt my job and Im not qualified. –EPICS is not intended to replace other treatment services and community referrals. –Some probation and parole officers do not view themselves as agents of change. Why bother to do all of this? I know that all offenders lie. This might work with other offenders, but my specific caseload is unique.

37 Strengths Most probation and parole officers (both trained and untrained) regularly monitor for compliance and exhibit some relationship skills. In general, trained officers are able to make effective use of social reinforcement.

38 Areas for Improvement While probation and parole officers can identify antisocial thinking, they often do not challenge it. Most officers continue to be uncomfortable with some aspects of structured skill building (i.e., role playing). Many homework assignments are not meaningful. Coders routinely note several missed opportunities to target criminogenic needs.

39 Conclusion EPICS appears to enhance adherence to RNR model. –Officers focus more on criminogenic needs. –Trained officers use more cognitive-behavioral strategies in comparison with untrained officers. This model is not intended to replace more intense interventions to address specific criminogenic need areas.

40 Contact Information For more information, please contact: Paula Smith, Ph.D. Director, Corrections Institute School of Criminal Justice University of Cincinnati

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