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Harris Childers

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Risk: A “Four-Letter Word”

Posted by Harris Childers on 5/30/19 10:06 PM

We corrections professionals love to drop the r-bomb. I’m not talking about responsivity, although it is a critical component of EBP that is often neglected if not outright ignored. I’m talking about RISK, that four-letter word that precedes need every time we talk about supervising justice-involved individuals. Assessing criminogenic risk is fundamental to our mission; that’s a given. But what message do we send when we say someone is high risk? Are we poisoning the well, compounding the stigma, and adding barriers to achieving those other coveted “r-words” - rehabilitation, reintegration, and recidivism reduction?

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Topics: Evidence Based Practices, Risk Principle, responsivity, risk, EBP, Criminal Justice Reform

To test, or not to test, that is the question. Or is it?

Posted by Harris Childers on 4/26/19 4:03 AM

As more states fire up debate on the legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use, the practice of drug testing in Community Corrections is coming under closer scrutiny.  In February, the Philadelphia City Council convened for a hearing on bias and the ethical and practical implications of testing parolees and probationers for a substance that is fast-becoming decriminalized in many jurisdictions. Not long after that, the New York City Council passed bills prohibiting testing most job applicants for marijuana and, (hold on to your test cups) banning the testing of probationers for the substance as well.   

The Philly debate questioned the legitimacy and fairness of testing for a legal substance, and punishing those who obtain it through illegal means, while giving a pass to persons who have the means to obtain a physician’s legal prescription.  The dividing line between these two groups?  Race and class. If marijuana is legal, why test for it at all?  Eliminating testing for a legal substance might be a partial solution to ending bias and discrimination, but is it the best response?   Read More

Topics: opiod testing, drug testing, marijuana testing, Brian Lovins

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