- Development of the Pennsylvania Adult Probation and Parole Evidence-Based Practices Strategic Plan.
- Selection of two validated, actuarial risk/need tools (ORAS and LS/CMI), supported across the state.
- Publication of a blueprint for EBP Implementation.
- Development of a clear definition of recidivism and a plan to promote its consistent use.
- Roll out of an EBP training plan including certified motivational interviewing processes.
What is EBP?
- Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the application of science into operational practice for services and programs for offenders. The goal is to use practices that have been empirically tested and have been shown to reduce recidivism among offenders.
- Based on numerous studies and meta analyses of offender rehabilitation programs, researchers have outlined a set of principles to guide the implementation of EBP.
- The evidence-based principles for effective services and interventions with offenders are:
- Conduct an assessment of offender risk and needs using an actuarial instrument and determine the drivers of criminal behavior;
- Enhance intrinsic motivation through use of constructive communication techniques, such as motivational interviewing and goal setting;
- Apply risk, need, and responsivity principles (i.e., target high-risk offenders, focus on changing criminogenic factors, provide services that match needs.) provide the appropriate dosage of services; and, deliver treatment and other services as part of the sentencing and sanctioning process;
- Employ programs and practices grounded in scientific evidence (i.e., cognitive behavioral therapy) and delivered by trained staff
- Utilize community support networks to reinforce pro-social behaviors and help offenders establish prosocial contacts in the community
- Routinely monitor and assess offender and staff performance
Pennsylvania Adult Probation and Parole Evidence-based Practices
Strategic Plan 2016-2018
With over 86% of the total community-based offender population under the supervision of county adult probation and parole departments, and the costs of managing offenders on the rise – with well over 50% of the funding of county offender supervision borne by the county – the restructuring and enhancement of county probation and parole is at a critical juncture. The implementation of effective, research-based supervision practices provides a roadmap to improve supervision strategies, which will lead to improved public safety.
During the strategic plan development stages, we were able to identify many challenges that could potentially pose roadblocks to the forward movement of this initiative. We prefer, however, to look at these challenges as stepping stones that will lead us to a more enhance system.
The strategic plan is the beginning of a multi-year effort to achieve better outcomes in community-based offender recidivism rates. We believe the strength of our strategic plan lies in the support and collaboration of county adult probation and parole partners and key state stakeholders.