Core Correctional Practices

Core Correctional Practices
Paula Smith, Ph.D.
School of Criminal Justice
College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services
University of Cincinnati
Presented at the
Annual Meeting of the IACCAC
Indianapolis, IN
November 2012
Correctional Paradigms
Rehabilitation Paradigm
Rehabilitation should be undertaken as part of a
coherent paradigm and consists of three components:
Theoretical Framework (Criminological)
Empirical Support (Correctional)
Tools for Practitioners (Technological)
Theoretical Framework
Psychology of Criminal Conduct
The psychology of criminal conduct is based on
principles of human behavior that are rooted in
behavioral, cognitive and social learning theories.
This approach seeks to provide an theoretical,
empirical and practical understanding of criminal
The Contributions of Meta-Analysis and the
Principles of Effective Intervention
Principles of Effective Intervention:
The RNR Framework
Deliver more
intense intervention
to higher risk
Target criminogenic
needs to reduce risk
for recidivism
Match mode/style of
service to offender
The Risk Principle
If you intend to reduce recidivism, then it is critical to focus on the
offenders who are most likely to re-offend!
Assess and identify higher risk offenders.
Deliver greater dosage of treatment to higher risk offenders.
The Risk Principle
Avoid including lower risk offenders in more intense (or restrictive)
services as it is likely to increase recidivism rates.
We disrupt protective factors.
We expose them to higher risk peers.
We also force them to interact with us…
The Need Principle
Criminal History
Antisocial Attitudes/Cognitive-Emotional States
Antisocial Peers
Temperamental and Personality Factors
Family and Marital Factors
Education and Employment
Substance Abuse
Leisure and Recreation
The Responsivity Principle
Use cognitive-behavioral strategies to decrease antisocial behaviors
and increase prosocial behaviors.
Match the style and mode of service to key offender characteristics
and learning styles.
Taking Stock of the
Principles of Effective Intervention
Smith, Gendreau and Swartz (2009)
There are more than 40 published meta-analyses of
the correctional treatment literature.
Results have been replicated with remarkable
consistency; there is considerable support for the
RNR framework across quantitative reviews of the
Core Correctional Practices
Gendreau, Andrews and Theriault (2010)
Effective Reinforcement
Effective Disapproval
Effective Use of Authority
Cognitive Restructuring
Anti-Criminal Modeling/Structured Skill Building
Problem Solving
Relationship Skills/Motivational Interviewing
Relationship Skills in Mandated Treatment
Skeem et al. (2007)
Relationship Skills in Correctional Settings
Spiegler and Guevremont (2010)
…the therapist-client relationship is a necessary but not
a sufficient condition of treatment (p. 9).
Core Correctional Practices
Staff members should view themselves as
agents of change and support the goals
of offender rehabilitation.
Technology Transfer and the
Diffusion of Innovation
Demonstration Projects vs. Routine Programs
Previous research has found a difference in the
average effect size for demonstration projects vs.
routine programs in corrections.
– Egg et al. (2000)
– Lab and Whitehead (1990)
– Lipsey (1999)
– Lowenkamp et al. (2006)
– Ortmann (2000)
Demonstration Projects vs. Routine Programs
The UC database now contains more than 680
evaluations of individual programs/correctional
Unfortunately, the vast majority (64%) do not receive
a passing grade.
UC Program Evaluation Research:
Adult Residential Programs
We examined the program level characteristics
correlated with outcome in three major studies
involving several hundred programs and more than
40,000 offenders.
Adult Residential Programs:
1. Criminogenic needs are targeted.
2. Cognitive-behavioral approaches are used.
3. Facilitators use structured skill building exercises with clients.
Modeling and role playing skills
Graduated rehearsal
4. Offenders are supervised in treatment and the community.
5. Intensity and duration of services are varied by risk and need.
Adult Residential Programs:
1. The program collects recidivism data on participants.
2. The program has conducted an outcome evaluation.
3. External quality assurance protocols have been established.
4. File reviews are regularly conducted.
5. Offenders complete pre/post tests to document change.
Adult Residential Programs:
Overall Results
• Results indicated that there was a strong correlation
between program level characteristics and reductions
in recidivism (r = .60).
• All the areas matter, but assessment, treatment and
implementation were particularly important.
UC Program Evaluation Research:
Adult Community-Based Programs
We examined the program level characteristics
correlated with outcome in more than two hundred
adult community-based programs and 13,000
Sample included both misdemeanants and felons
under community supervision.
Specific programs included day reporting centers,
work release, ISP, and EM.
Adult Community-Based Programs:
Program Level Characteristics
Director caseload
Director experience
Staff value/skill
Staff input
Staff experience
Staff meetings
Community support
Caseload size
Pre/post test
Outcome eval
Tx model
Process eval
# of groups available
Exclusionary criteria
Exclusions followed
Length of program
Separate groups by risk
Hours of tx per week
Manual followed
Offender input
Quality aftercare
75% of referrals for tx
Success rate
Higher risk sample
Adult Community-Based Programs:
Four Factors
Proportion of higher risk offenders in program (at least 75% of
offenders in programs were moderate or high risk)
Level of supervision for higher risk offenders (averaged longer
periods of supervision than lower risk)
More treatment for higher risk offenders (at least 50% more time
spent in treatment)
More referrals for services for higher risk offenders (at least 3
referrals for every 1 received by lower risk)
PROGRAM INTEGRITY – In all three studies…
• It can be changed.
• Good programs (based on sound theory) can
substantially reduce recidivism. However, the same
program poorly implemented can actually increase
Program Implementation
Evidence-Based Practice
Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment
“They know the words but not the music.”
Edward Latessa (2010)
Program Implementation
“What Works”
“How to Make It Work”
Specific Gaps in Program Implementation
ALL corrections professional should view themselves
as agents of change.
It is critical to understand that short-term compliance
does not necessarily translate into long-term behavioral change.
It is critical to take advantage of teachable moments
in order to encourage offenders to generalize skills
beyond the treatment setting.
Specific Gaps in Program Implementation
Administering a risk assessment ≠ Using the results
Identifying a domain ≠ Generating an individualized treatment plan
Implementing a structured treatment manual ≠ CBT program
Training staff ≠ Proficiency in skills related to service delivery
Overview of Implementation Projects
Phase I:
Curriculum Development/Program Design
Phase II:
Phase III:
Phase IV:
Quality Improvement
Phase I:
Curriculum Development/Program Design
A Multidisciplinary Implementation Team (MIT) is established at
each site to plan and monitor the implementation of new program
The MIT should incorporate at least one member from each
discipline/job title that has regular contact with program
Clinicians and group facilitators
Case managers
Security staff
Training and/or quality assurance coordinators
Phase I:
Curriculum Development/Program Design
Sub-committees are
implementation areas:
Assessment and case management
Structured treatment curricula and program schedule
Behavior modification system
Training and quality assurance
The UCCI plays an active role in this process to ensure that
planned changes are consistent with evidence-based practices
and the program model.
Phase II:
Training hours and topics vary based on program needs.
The UCCI provides the majority of the training, but the MIT assists
with instruction on specific program elements.
Phase III:
Implementation and Coaching
During this phase, modified program components are piloted with
staggered implementation.
On-site and videoconference coaching are provided on a regular
basis (weekly to monthly, depending on phase and need), and
includes observation of service delivery with feedback.
Implementation teams meet regularly to monitor progress and
provide feedback.
Phase IV:
Quality Improvement
MIT continues to meet in order to review progress and sort out
logistics and make further modifications if needed.
On-site and videoconference coaching sessions continue to be
provided at this stage.
The UCCI focuses on individuals responsible for supervision and
oversight of the program in order to ensure fidelity over time.
Phase IV:
Quality Improvement
Several feedback mechanisms are also established:
Surveys of participant and staff satisfaction
Exit evaluations
Standardized assessments to measure client progress in treatment
Structured staff evaluations of skills associated with service delivery
Contact Information
Paula Smith, Ph.D.
Director, Corrections Institute
Center for Criminal Justice Research
University of Cincinnati
(513) 556-5836
[email protected]

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