CorrectTech Community Corrections Blog

Developing a Practice Model

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 12/28/16 3:02 PM

This blog is a continuation of the EBP Practice Models blog series started by this blog’s author Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. and other industry leading authorities on practice models, Brad Bogue, Matt Moore and Tom O’Connor.

When Brad Bogue first suggested we work on a “practice model” I was embarrassed to admit I had no idea what he was talking about. After a bit of research I realized that, while the term was foreign to me, the concept was not that complicated and was a logical extension of our agency’s evidence-based practices (EBP) training. I learned that practice models structure the use of various EBPs into a logical, coherent process to help practitioners identify the next necessary step in the intervention sequence.

Armed with lots of knowledge about EBP, but without a framework to identify and organize what techniques to use when, we recognized we did, indeed, need a practice model. Since I am writing this blog during the Christmas season, it seemed that we had lots of ornaments and tinsel but no tree on which to hang them. It became clear that without a practice model we would remain knowledgeable about EBP but unskilled in their delivery.

I looked at several of the prepackaged practice models available but found all of them lacking. They were either incongruous with my clinical experience (e.g., the importance of building motivation was essentially ignored) or contradicted my philosophy of the change process (e.g., they followed a manual but left little room for situational flexibility). With Brad at my side challenging my assumptions every step of the way, we decided to develop a practice model in house. We facilitated the process while our capable staff of case managers merged research with their experience and theory with reality.

It was a vital learning experience for me. I thought I needed to teach the case managers to think; turns out, I simply needed to create the space and let them think.

We started with the necessary requirements for the practice model:

  1. It must include a variety of interventions.
  2. It must include evidence-based, evidence-informed or promising practices.
  3. It must be coherent.
  4. It must be simple but powerful.
  5. It must include situational flexibility.
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Topics: Policy, Practices, Change, Community Corrections Client Services, Developing a practice model, Evan C. Crist

The Evolution of the Security Role in Community Corrections

Posted by James Jenkins on 4/21/16 12:11 PM

Bringing Down the Hammer 

The primary job responsibility of security staff in community corrections focuses on maintaining safety both inside facilities and in the community.

As a former Correctional Technician in a community corrections program, I understand the importance of having a strong security staff in your program. Fortunately I worked in a program that believed in more than just catching clients being bad. But sometimes I had to be the bad guy; it wasn’t easy. Making a decision that could send a client back to prison is difficult. You want them to succeed but community safety is a top priority.

Inside facilities, security staff’s responsibilities historically include completing house counts, maintaining a clean facility, monitoring for contraband and completing client drug and alcohol monitors. They hold clients accountable for daily tasks by producing incident reports and inspecting daily chores and other tasks.

While clients are in the community, the security staff is responsible for completing community whereabouts calls with potential employers, supervisors, and clients themselves. They are also responsible for tracking clients and ensuring they arrive and leave locations at designated times.

In short, security staff has been a rule enforcer.

The Shift in Thinking

As thinking and training have evolved in community corrections, so have the job responsibilities of security staff.

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Topics: Community, Practices, Change

It's a Hard Knock Life - File Room Terrors

Posted by Lisa Sayler on 3/24/16 1:34 PM

If your fairy godmother appeared today, what’s the one part of your workday you would ask her to wave her wand at?

Maybe it’s a task at work that you want to avoid at all costs.

Maybe it’s something that you know you need to do but can’t seem to find the time.

For me, it was facing the disheartening and down right frightening task of filing those darn manila folders.

Living in Harry Potter’s Cupboard

Before CorrectTech came on the scene, I was a Case Manager Supervisor and Program Coordinator at Time to Change Community Corrections (TTC) with an office that served partially as a file room.

The stacks of manila folders (with “to be filed” discharged client files, staff meeting notes, fire drill reports, etc., etc.) would stare me down daily, giving me a constant reminder of the terror that came with tracking and storing them. I think the nightmares and cold sweats have finally stopped.

Discharge Wasn’t the End… It Was the Beginning of the Filing Crusade

In community corrections, we are required to store client information following discharge. At TTC, we had to store our paper client files for SEVEN years. For us that meant seven years of historic files occupying real estate in our already overcrowded filing room plus the accumulation of new files.

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Topics: Community Corrections, Practices, Change

Parenting Teenagers and Supervising Community Corrections Offenders: Control vs. Choice

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 12/3/15 1:12 PM

As the father of two teenage girls, any article about parenting tends to catch my attention. I found this article Parenting Style and Its Correlates by Nancy Darling particularly interesting both as a parent and as an administrator for a community corrections facility. While there is not much new information in this article about which parenting style typically results in well-adjusted children, it is a great summary. What was new for me in reading this article is the parallel that I see in working with offenders.

A Couple Key Definitions

Parenting: It is assumed that the primary role of all parents is to influence, teach, and control their children. A parenting style is the overall pattern of the extent and focus of control.

Psychological control: "You should adapt my values, goals, and judgments."

Behavioral control: "You are expected to play by the rules of this family."

Parental responsiveness refers to "the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion by being attuned, supportive, and acquiescent to children's special needs and demands."[i] I refer to this characteristic in the table below as “fosters psychological independence.”

Parental demandingness refers to "the claims parents make on children to become integrated into the family whole, by their maturity demands, supervision, disciplinary efforts and willingness to confront the child who disobeys."[ii] I refer to this characteristic in the table below as “demands behavioral compliance.”

Can you start to see the parallel between parenting and our work in supervising offenders?

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Topics: Community Corrections, Practices, Community Corrections Professional

It's a Hard Knock Life... As a Community Corrections Staff: Reporting Nightmares No More

Posted by Lisa Sayler on 10/15/15 1:30 PM

Reporting Nightmares No More

"You want to report on all that hard work you do with your client, right?" Words our unsung hero, the case manager, loathes hearing. Of course we know reports are important. Of course we know that done correctly, reports are vital to our clients’ progress and our success as case managers. But it’s hard to be convinced that we should take joy in completing intake, monthly or termination reports.

Reporting on a client’s progress (or lack thereof) is very important, yet community corrections case managers continually struggle with keeping up with paperwork type responsibilities, deadlines and having enough time to meet with clients in a quality fashion.

Even the best case managers aren’t able to spend the time they should with their clients because they must also keep up with compliance and paperwork requirements. You know what it is like to have to locate everything you, and others, have already done and put it into a report… every time a client intakes... every month… every incident… all of the treatment… all of the drug test outcomes… and of course every time a client terminates… and usually all of the above.

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Topics: Community Corrections, Practices, Software

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