EBP: How Good is Your Aim?

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 1/8/15 11:54 AM

This is the 5th of a 12 part series on Evidence Based Principles.  Subscribe to our blog and get the series delivered right to your inbox.

Principle 3a: Target Interventions 

CorrectTech EBP Princinple - Targeting Interventions

In the progression of "ready", "aim", "fire", the relationship, assessment, and motivation collectively provide the "ready". Focusing the "aim" is the next step. The assessment results, formal and informal, provide the foundation, but putting all the ingredients together can be a challenge. With a collaborative relationship and sufficient motivation, deciding what to target may involve some negotiation, but that is a logical and reasonable part of the process. While public safety must come first, even the most resistant clients goals and values should be reflected in the game plan to some extent.

The most important concept is that the assessment is not just a set of documents to check off and file away. Developing the plan is part art and part science. 

Who and what to target is a matter of science (see below). How and when to target the various concerns involves science, relationship and creativity. Do you target the most important area first even if it is the area that creates the least motivation for the client? How do you prioritize the top needs since working on everything at once would be overwhelming and possibly counterproductive?

Prioritize higher risk clients for intense interventions but don't ignore lower risk clients.  Low risk does not mean "no risk".

What: While some research results prioritize the list differently, the list below is generally accepted as:

Top Tier Targets: 

Second Tier Targets: 

  •  Antisocial Attitudes
  •  Substance Abuse
  •  Antisocial Associates
  •  Employment
  •  Antisocial Personality
  •  Leisure/Recreation
  • Family/Marital Relationships


Focus: The goal is to decrease public safety risk.  Focus on decreasing the behaviors that lead to crime.
Symptoms:  Sometimes a symptom (e.g. substance abuse) must be addressed before a top priority target can be the focus.
Measure Behavior:  Many offenders are expert at "doing time."  Prescribed dosage must be based on measurement of specific effort or behavioral progress, not simply measurement of time.


In our next blog in this series, we will address Principle 3b, Collaborate on a Treatment Plan. Subscribe to our blog and get the series delivered right to your inbox.

Evidence Based Principles: Simplified White Paper

This a 12 part series. Here are all 12 blogs in the series:

  1. An Introduction to Evidence Based Principles (EBP)
  2. EBP: Building the Therapeutic Relationship
  3. Community Corrections Interventions Must Begin with Assessment
  4. To Be or Not to Be: Framing Offender Motivation
  5. EBP: How Good is Your Aim?
  6. Discovering Values in Collaboration
  7. Practice Makes...Habit
  8. Structure & Accountability Still Matter!
  9. Catch Them Being Good!
  10. It Takes a Community to Transition an Offender
  11. What Works Anyway? Prove it!
  12. Feedback Please!
To request more information or schedule an online demonstration of our Community Corrections Software, click here. We offer integrated software and support services for Probation/Parole, Residential and Reentry programs. Our Program Foundation Platform and twelve robust modules were designed by community corrections professionals to guide organizations toward a powerful EBP implementation, relieve them of strenuous paperwork and manual processes, and enable them to focus on what matters - people! 

Topics: Community Corrections, Evidence Based Practices

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