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Moving EBPs Into Practice. Danielle S. Rudes Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) George Mason University Department of Criminology, Law and Society. Presented at OAR of Fairfax, 13 February 2013. What are EBPs ?. Evidence-based practices are…

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Moving ebps into practice

Moving EBPs Into Practice

Danielle S. Rudes

Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!)

George Mason University

Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Presented at OAR of Fairfax, 13 February 2013

What are ebps

What are EBPs?

  • Evidence-based practices are…

    • Scientifically studied workplace practices that have been shown effective through rigorous research. Started in the early 1990s with the term “evidence-based medicine.”

    • The contemporary definition of EBP is “The integration of the best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient [client] values" (Sackett, et al. 2000, p. x).  

Slide courtesy of Dr. Faye S. Taxman

Understanding the science

Understanding the Science

  • Evidence:How is it obtained?

  • Translation:From another discipline (law enforcement, psychology, business, etc.) to corrections and crime prevention

  • Decision Making:Move away from sensationalized politics (reactionary) and gut-level decisions


Slide courtesy of Dr. Faye S. Taxman

Moving ebps into practice

Ways to Create Science

  • #1: Examine only research studies that use randomized field experiments as the “Gold Standard”

  • #2: Examine ALL available research (regardless of design) on a particular topic

  • #3: Conduct a nonscientific review, simply say“evidence based” & then offer your own listing of best practices or use a subset of all available research based on liberal or conservative ideology.

Slide courtesy of Dr. Faye S. Taxman

Implementation is a process not an event

Implementation is a Process, not an Event

  • It is not just about an idea (EBP)

  • It is more about:

    • How you take an idea and make it work (DRIVE)

    • The people that you involve in making it work (RELATIONSHIPS)

    • The willingness to learn together (LEARN)

    • The ability to set criteria to judge “impact” (FIT)

    • The coming together to create the values and norms within a community (GOAL SETTING)

Common ebps in corrections

Common EBPs in Corrections

  • Risk/Needs Assessment Instruments

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Some cognitive behavioral programming/treatment

What works ebps vs what we do

What Works (EBPs) vs. What We Do?

The majority of correctional programs fall into these areas.

  • Intensive Supervision

  • Boot Camp

  • Case Management

  • Incarceration

  • Non-Directive Counseling

  • Directive Counseling

  • TASC

  • Diversion to Treatment (DTAP)

  • Treatment with Sanctions

  • Outpatient Treatment in Supervision

  • Emotional Skills

  • Moral Reasoning

  • 12-Step with Curriculum

  • In-Prison Treatment & Aftercare

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions

  • Drug Treatment Courts

  • Contingency Management

  • Therapeutic Communities (in prison)

  • Focus on High Risk Offenders or Offenders with High Needs

Slide courtesy of Dr. Faye S. Taxman

Source: Taxman, 2009. Evidence-Based Practices in the United States.

The current evidence

The Current Evidence

  • Risk & Needs Assessment Should Drive Program Participation: High risk (not need) offenders should receive more rehabilitative programs

  • Sentencing & Program Placement Should Address Criminogenic Needs: Not all needs are criminogenic

  • Treatment Quality: Treatment and programs should be of sufficient duration and certain content to change behavior.

  • Procedural Justice: Clarifying expectations with clear and precise rules of program participation and rules for program completion are likely to lead to improved outcomes. Also creates trust and rapport for building commitment to change.

Slide courtesy of Dr. Faye S. Taxman

Aligning ebps with existing system s

Aligning EBPs with existing system(s)

  • Every system has its own processes

  • Align, refine and fit but make sure to

    • Keep the core principles

    • Know when “it” is no longer “it”

  • Ensure support from sister/collaborating agencies and other stakeholders

An example of ebp implementation contingency management in a criminal justice setting

An example of EBP implementation: Contingency Management in a criminal justice setting

  • Evidence-based treatment

  • Shape behaviors through rewards

  • Focus on a social contract for behavior

  • Technique to replace immediate “drug using”; structured rewards


  • Fit to Environment

  • Include Sanctions

8 main cm principles

8 Main CM Principles

  • Positive incentives w/ point system

  • Clear guidelines about earning points

  • Emphasize abstinence

  • Early incentives

  • Point escalation

  • Integrating point system into existing system

  • Bonuses

  • Focus on no more than 3 behaviors at a time

Site overview

Site Overview


OneDrug Court--

TwoDrug CourtReentry Court

ThreeDrug CourtReentry Court

FourRegular Caseload--

FiveUndeterminedHalfway House & Drug Court*

*Started with one ideas regarding implementing in one location/program but realized program not far enough along for CM. When program was ready they added it back into JSTEPS.

Moving ebps into practice

Year 1: MOU, software design, baseline site visits, org survey

Year 2:Adoption & implementation processes moving toward sustainability

Study Design with Continual Feedback Loops

Research development phases

Research development phases

Phase 1 Phase 2Phase 3

0 6 12 18 24


Wrap up site visits & phone calls

Site visits at S1, 2a, 2b, 3a, 4, Learning Meeting & Org survey

2nd learning meeting

Follow up phone calls & feedback reports

Site visit at S5, follow-up TA, feedback reports & telephone calls

Follow up site visits at S1, 2a/b, 3a, 4 &5; site visit S3b, TA, feedback reports & follow up phone calls

Site development phases

Site development phases


0 6 12 18 24









What we learned from adoption phase

What we learned from Adoption Phase…

  • Acceptability (unobjectionable) & Feasibility (suitable)

    • Yes, acceptable/feasible but some challenges include: 1) too many behaviors in CM model; 2) intra-org challenges, and 3) balancing sanctions with rewards

    • (Rudes et al. (2011) Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment)

  • Adaptability (understandable)

    • Mostly acceptable with little difference between social & material rewards. Female and non-PO more accepting.

    • (Murphy, Rhodes & Taxman (2011) Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment)

Site development phases1

Site development phases

0 6 12 18 24


S1 I

S2a I


S3a I


S4 I


S5b I

What we learned from implementation phase

What we learned from implementation phase…

  • Probation Officer Roles

    • PO roles matter greatly for court and adoption/implementation processes. POs use three types of power 1) informational; 2) technical, and 3) relational to sway decisions to a certain end.

    • (Rudes & Portillo, 2012)

  • Transportability of EBPs

    • EBP transportability is processual with front-line CJ workers adapting EBPs by first adopting EBP language (loose coupling) with few adjustments to work activities. These processes have both positive and negative potential/implications.

    • (Portillo, Rudes & Taxman, in progress)

More learning from implementation phase

More learning from implementation phase…

  • Judicial Roles & Decision Making in PS Courts

    • Role judges take affect collaboration and decision making regarding court and adoption/implementation processes.

    • Portillo, Rudes, Viglione, Nelson & Taxman, Victims & Offenders 2013)

  • Redefining the Win

    • Problem-solving court attorneys often work to achieve the courts’ collaborative goal using covertly adversarial processes in a therapeutic jurisprudence environment including: 1) battling; 2) insider trading; 3) silent treatment, and 4) evidence as a weapon. This action affects court and adoption/implementation processes.

    • (Rudes & Portillo, under review at Law & Social Inquiry)

Site development phases2

Site development phases

0 6 12 18 24










What does this all mean

What does this all mean?

  • Stay true to core principles of EBPs

  • Do not use a one-size-fits-all approach, individual organizational context matters

  • Use mixed method design to study both process & outcome simultaneously and long-term

  • Follow implementation from adoption to implementation to sustainability

  • Account for fidelity

  • What else?



Dr. Danielle S. Rudes

Thank You!

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