EBP Simplified

An Overview

With all of the emphasis on Evidence Based Practices (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” and base offender interventions on “my own personal experience” or “what seems to make the most sense.” Fortunately, there is a growing group of EBP experts who publish findings and explanations on a regular basis. The amount of proof is growing!

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 series of events, if it is fundamental, every activity, every decision and every moment is part of the treatment process.

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 unfortunately, that is where many agencies stop. They have maintained their current practices but now use EBP language to refer to various components. It does not work that way! Ultimately, EBP is not just about believing, using lingo, or preaching. It is about practicing, doing something that is fundamentally based on proof of efficacy.