EBP Simplified

With all of the emphasis on Evidence Based Principles (EBP), it seems worthwhile to actually define the various elements involved.  In other words, what exactly is EBP?

Evidence that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief, proof.

In other words, it is no longer acceptable to just “wing it” ….

Based:  a fundamental principle or groundwork; foundation; basis.

When proven interventions (i.e., evidence) are part of the foundation of a treatment program, it is impossible to identify where treatment begins and ends. Treatment is not an event, or even a …..

Practice:  habit, repeated performance; the action or process of performing or doing something.

Large segments of community corrections have long endorsed the ideas of EBP. It all makes sense, and as it gains political momentum, it is making more and more sense.  Learning the language of EBP is important, but...    Read More…

In this section, we have outlined what we consider a “simplified” and “applied” look at the 8 principles of effective intervention established in the excellent white paper, “Implementing Evidence-Based Principles in Community Corrections: The Principles of Effective Intervention.”  The primary author, Brad Bogue, and his co-authors do an outstanding job of defining the necessary principles for an effective treatment program.  After years of explaining these principles to audiences and employees we have found three “laws” per principle, or sub-principle that help non EBP gurus really grasp the ideas and apply them in their important work in community corrections.

Assess Actuarial Risk/Need

All interventions must begin with an assessment of what is wrong and the most appropriate intervention.  What exactly is “actuarial” anyway?  Actuarial simply refers to a set of statistics that calculate probabilities of a specific event.  The reason probability statistics are emphasized is because human judgment of the risk of future crime is typically quite bad, in part because emotions and other biases get in the way.  When you think about the risk, need, and responsivity concepts in terms of visiting a medical doctor, it is simple to understand.     Read More…

Enhance Intrinsic Motivation

This principle is often misunderstood and read as “increase motivation.”  The “intrinsic” part is vital.  An offender’s environment rarely cooperates with interventions and therefore strong internal motivation is necessary.  This principle assumes (rightfully, in most cases) that offenders have good reasons to change but need help tipping the scales in favor of change.      Read More…

Target Interventions

The first principle of effective intervention was about appropriate assessment.  It would seem obvious that the results of said assessment would naturally translate to the specific interventions that are ultimately chosen. However, human nature being what it is…    Read More…

Skill Train with Directed Practice

Learned behaviors, like riding a bicycle or hitting a golf ball, take time and practice.  Book or class learning do not help us adopt such learned behaviors, so why do we invest so much time and energy in having our offender population sit through yet another “anger management” class?  What our clients need are tools that help learn alternative behaviors and develop new habits through directed practice.  Automatic, overlearned behaviors are usually the source of the problem, and thus must be the focus of how we develop and deliver skills training.      Read More…

Increase Positive Reinforcement

This is one of those principles that everyone agrees with in theory, but deep down tend to believe that punishment is more effective. Perhaps we are hard wired that way. Perhaps years of the “get tough” on crime policies have brain washed us.  Either way, “catching them being good” is a real challenge for most of us.   Read More…

Engage On-Going Support in Natural Communities

There are multiple reasons for the need to involve the local community in an offender’s transition treatment. Primary among them is the offender needs new role models and needs to feel accepted by a prosocial group of people.     Read More…

Measure Relevant Processes/Practices

Ideally, every process in a community corrections program directly or indirectly leads to greater offender success. Measuring results in a program is more than just measuring success rates.  Knowledge of the interventions and characteristics that correlate with success is the most important information available to you.  Read More…

Provide Measurement Feedback

Data analysis is not just for PowerPoint presentations and annual reports.  Ultimately, predictive statistics (i.e., what correlates with success), should inform training, policies, and employee feedback.  Read More…

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