CorrectTech Community Corrections Blog

Community Corrections: Risky Business

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 3/5/15 11:14 AM

This is the 1st of a 7 part series on The Risk Principle Simplified.  Subscribe to our blog and get the series delivered right to your inbox.

The Risk Principle Simplified

Risk: The possibility of an adverse event.

“Risk” is a central theme in community corrections. In fact, I’ll bet that the first four concepts you learned when you entered the community corrections field were something like this:

  • Assessment of criminogenic risk is vital
  • An objective risk assessment should be utilized
  • Intervention intensity should match risk level
  • Over-treating low risk clients can make them worse

If you entered this field due to your desire to provide treatment to offenders, you may have grown tired of the emphasis on risk with this population. As a clinical psychologist who has dedicated his life to developing and implementing offender treatment programs, I understand your frustration. It can be difficult to focus on treatment in a corrections setting that emphasizes actuarial risk more than individual potential. However, risk is not just an academic concept, and the focus on risk is not ancillary to the treatment goals of community corrections. In fact, the purpose of community corrections revolves entirely around risk. 

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Topics: Community Corrections, Evidence Based Practices, principles

To Be or Not to Be: Framing Offender Motivation

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 12/30/14 10:35 AM

This is the 4th of a 12 part series on Evidence Based Principles.  Subscribe to our blog and get the series delivered right to your inbox.

Principle 2: Enhance Intrinsic Motivation 

Which of the two statements feels more inspiring to you? 

  • I have a good relationship with my son again 
  • I haven’t been incarcerated for six months

It is critical to understand that there are two different types of motivation. Most offenders come to us motivated to “stay out of prison” or “not use drugs.” While both are admirable goals, it is vital to help the client tap into what they are motivated FOR. There is a significant difference between being motivated to say “no” to something and being motivated to say “yes” to something. In general, motivation to achieve something (e.g., be a better parent) is stronger than motivation to avoid something (e.g., stop using drugs). After all, getting up every day to work toward something is much more inspiring than getting up with the hope of avoiding something. Help the client define WHO THEY ARE vs. WHO THEY ARE NOT. 

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Topics: Community Corrections, Evidence Based Practices, principles

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