CorrectTech Community Corrections Blog

Mindset Matters: Appreciative Thinking in Times of Crisis

Posted by Alexandra Walker, PhD on 3/25/20 11:12 AM

Dr. Alexandra Walker has over 20 years of experience in the field of criminal justice and reentry. I have had the honor of being trained by and later working with and for Alex while at Time to Change community corrections.  We would like to share this article she wrote during these difficult times and hope you will find it helpful.  ACJI has a free training webinar this Friday that is sure to be very helpful for all you community corrections practitioners right now!


WOW… This last week or two has been grueling for everyone. Put aside the fact that we, as humans, don’t like change in general, the COVID-19 pandemic has really taken us out of our comfort zones and placed us squarely in one of the most uncertain times of the last decade or more. After last week’s events, my colleague, Glenn Tapia, and I were able to spend some time together to share our perspectives on the crisis, and how it is impacting the work of community and justice organizations within our system. As a leader in the justice space, Glenn shared a lot of great wisdom with me about what it has been like for him to support his staff through the uncertainty as well as being responsible for some unprecedented and arduous decisions. I shared my perspective on how this crisis has been impacting our clients and the systems we work within and the multitude of emails we have received asking for support and advice. I found our discussion immensely helpful for me. It has impacted my approach to the crisis in a positive way which has had a measurable impact on those around me. I thought I would share some of our thoughts and perspectives about this crisis with you in hopes that it provides some comfort and strategies that will help you moving forward. I hope this is helpful and that you will share your thoughts and perspective with us as well. 

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Topics: Community Corrections Professional, Implementation, Crisis, Appreciative Thinking

Adapting CBT for Justice-Involved Clients - Check out the Blog Series!

Posted by Raymond Chip Tafrate, PhD, Damon Mitchell, PhD, & David J. Simourd, PhD on 3/13/20 8:00 AM


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Topics: Assessment, Community Corrections Professional, Addiction, Relapse Prevention, client development, Developing a practice model, coaching community corrections clients, reentry, client needs and values, risk, EBP, Justice-Involved Clients, jic

How Full is Your Bucket?

Posted by Lisa Sayler on 12/6/19 2:24 PM

“I don’t get a candy bar every time I do my job, why should a client get something for doing what they are already supposed to do?”  Have you ever thought or heard something like this when discussing positive reinforcement with clients in community corrections?  When research shows positive reinforcement is more effective in long term behavior change, why is it that we tend to default to punish only?  

In my experience managing clients, managing staff, being a mother, wife, mentor and coach, I can attest that it can be easier to sigh, moan and complain about the performance of others.  Every time I find myself pulling out my hair, I realize I haven’t been using one of my best tools, positive reinforcement.  And guess what, when I start using it (or increase my use of it), I see improvement and I feel happier. It is all too easy to only notice what is going wrong and completely pay no attention to what is going right.

Let me offer some tips for success when implementing a positive reinforcement program in your agency.

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Topics: Community Corrections, Evidence Based Practices, Positive Reinforcement, Community Corrections Professional, client development, reentry, EBP, Justice-Involved Clients

What’s Behind the Box?

Posted by Raymond Chip Tafrate, PhD, Damon Mitchell, PhD, & David J. Simourd, PhD on 10/18/19 12:13 AM

Risk Assessment is Not the Same as Case Formulation

We would like to start with a story. Picture a courthouse in a struggling industrial town in Connecticut. The adult probation department is situated in the basement of this courthouse. We are beginning training with a new cohort of probation officers, teaching them how to incorporate forensic CBT techniques into their work. To start, one of the officers describes a current case and reviews the available assessment information. A quick review of the risk assessment reveals this is a high-risk case; a major area of concern is antisocial companions. We ask the officer to explain how friends and companions specifically influence criminal behavior for this justice-involved client (JIC). We get crickets! We ask, what role did friends play in the most recent offense? Again, an awkward silence permeates the room. While the officer certainly knows that antisocial companions is a risk factor for reoffending, she has not explored the nature of the JIC’s relationships and discussed with the JIC the specific role of companions in his offense history and daily routines. Unfortunately, this is a common training scenario when we begin.

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Topics: Assessment, Developing a practice model, coaching community corrections clients, client needs and values, risk, Justice-Involved Clients, jic

Making Sense of the Interrelationship Between Criminal Risk Domains and Mental Health Symptoms

Posted by Raymond Chip Tafrate, PhD, Damon Mitchell, PhD, & David J. Simourd, PhD on 10/11/19 12:36 AM

In earlier blogs, we discussed some of the advantages of case planning from a risk-reduction perspective. One of the key challenges in operating from a risk perspective is answering a critical question, Where do mental health symptoms fit when working with justice-involved adolescents and adults?

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Topics: Community Corrections, Evidence Based Practices, Assessment, Risk Principle, Practice Models, responsivity, reentry, high risk client

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