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Evidence-Based Policies and Practices

The NYC Department of Probation (DOP) is in the midst of incorporating evidence-based policies and practices into virtually everything we do, from supervision to training to community outreach. DOP is reviewing all of our policies, practices and programs in a systematic, deliberate way to identify the evidence that supports these practices and adjust as necessary.

We are continually meeting with our local, state, and national colleagues to ensure that we are aware of the latest research.


What are Evidence-Based Policies and Practices?

Evidence-based policies and practices (EBPP) use current research and the best available data to guide decisions and produce the outcomes that our stakeholders—probation clients, victims, and communities—expect.

EBPP involve research-tested principles that guide intervention. They also refer to specific intervention models that are proven to lead to good outcomes.

EBPP embraces the use of all available tools, from internal DOP practices to community-based programs to intensive treatment to incarceration.

EBPP is based on the proven premise that the most effective interventions are those that reduce the chance that a probation client will re-offend, which leads to greater public safety.


Evidence-Based Principles Promote Public Safety

An evidence-based approach is not “soft” on crime—in fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Often, requiring a client to confront and change his or her mindset and behaviors is more intimidating than letting him or her “do time” or coast through traditional community supervision.

That being said, DOP recognizes that no single evidence-based intervention is guaranteed to succeed with all target populations, and certainly not in isolation. Helping clients make better choices and take advantage of opportunities is a complex process that depends on a variety of variables. DOP is constantly seeking out new and innovative policies and practices.


Eight Evidence-Based Principles
  1. Assess Risk and Needs
  2. Build Motivation
  3. Target Interventions (Including Treatment and Sanctions) Based on Risk and Needs
  4. Use Cognitive Behavioral Techniques to Teach and Practice New Skills.
  5. Increase Positive Reinforcement
  6. Engage Ongoing Support in Natural Communities
  7. Measure Relevant Processes/Practices
  8. Provide Measurement Feedback

These eight principles reinforce each other.

DOP firmly believes that resources have the most impact when they are focused on moderate to high-risk clients, rather than low-risk clients. This principle is based on a strong foundation of evidence.


Evidence-Based Practices Reading List

Author: eHow
ArticleDifference Between Theory Guided Practice & Evidence Based Practice
Description: EBPP in nursing.

Author: Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable
ArticleFrequently Asked Questions: Evidence-Based Practices in Criminal Justice Settings
Description: An outline of Travis County’s implementation of EBP with identified outcomes.

Author: Crime and Justice Institute and the National Institute of Corrections
Article: Implementing Evidence-Based Policy and Practice in Community Corrections
Description: A study of EBPP implementation.

Author: Public Safety Canada
Article: Translating “What Works” into Sustainable Everyday Practice: Program Design, Implementation and Evaluation
Description: Explains “What Works” in everyday settings.

Author: Pew Center on the States
Article: Policy Framework to Strengthen Community Corrections – Evidence-Based Practices

Description: How to use the “Recidivism Reduction Act” as a framework to strengthen community corrections.  The article provides examples of jurisdictions implementing EBPP within their specific legal framework.