The Principles of EBP

Expanding the Original Eight Principles for Better Applied EBP

Working closely with a number of CorrectTech customer agencies, notably Time to Change Community Corrections in the Denver area (under contract for more than 400 beds in three facilities), with the guidance and direction of Evan C Crist, Psy.D., we have developed an expanded set of principles that are essential to real-world applications of EBP.

We are big fans of the research Brad Bogue and his companions did that led to the development of the original EBP Principles in 2005 - Implementing Effective Correctional Management of Offenders in the Community: Outcome and Process Measures.

In addition to adding four new applied principles, we have further defined and outlined some key thinking in how practitioners can view the principles of EBP in this updated take on putting them to work at a community corrections agency.

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Introducing the new principles: Relationship, Accountability, Plan and Transition.

  • Build the Therapeutic Relationship – change depends on a client trusting that your case manager truly cares for their best interests. Success rarely follows a tough-as-nails PO dictating the course of action to “fix the clients problems.”
  • Establish Behavioral Accountability and Structure – this practice was not ignored in the original EBP work, but due to its absence from the original eight EBP principles we have seen many practitioners and stakeholders come to believe that accountability and structure are no longer called for in an EBP world. To make room for good decisions, saying no to old habits through structured expectations is a first step. Since old habits rarely die easily, swift, measured and appropriate consequences are essential to transitioning out the old to make way for the new habits.
  • Collaborate on Case Plan – in practice, this principle is tied closely to the Target Interventions principle, but takes things to a more literal and practical step. The need for a well written, well understood, and truly collaborated on case plan for every client creates positive goal-by-goal and step-by-step approaches to changing behavior. No one ever ate the elephant in one bite!
  • Transition Plan – most practitioners do some level of transition planning, but often times as an afterthought. When a client has spent three, six or 12 months in an intensive community corrections program under a tight leash, intensive interventions and ongoing treatment, there hasn’t been much opportunity to act and behave independently; this is where it all comes together. The transition plan is key to giving clients the chance to spread their wings and demonstrate their news skills while still having the support from and relationship with their case manager.

Not only have we added these four principles to the original eight, we have ordered them for practicality, easy application as a reusable process and prioritized program fidelity. For example, when measurement is listed as the next to last principle on a list, it might appear to be an item that can come later (or maybe never).

For a program pursuing EBP with repeatable processes and fidelity, we advocate starting with identifying measurement points and processes as the first step. Using measurement as a stepping-stone to help develop your agency’s capacity to adopt and execute the next 11 principles. We recommend viewing each principle as a step towards reliable and consistent EBP implementation for every client relationship. After your program has defined your measurement points and processes, we believe the first step in establishing the right environment for client behavior change is to build the therapeutic relationship. From there, many of the practices common to all EBP-infused programs (such as assessment, targeted treatment, and positive reinforcement) take place via individualized case planning. Afterwards, review your collection of measurements and results and provide your meaningful information as feedback to staff for continuous improvement.

More Information and tools on the processes and practice models in community corrections.

EBP Principles from CorrectTech

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