Evidence-Based Practices and Approaches

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Evidence-Based Practices and Approaches

In Problem-Solving Courts – and Beyond

A basic truth confirmed by more than two decades of correctional and criminogenic research is that lasting human change is an inside job, best achieved with programs that blend appropriate sanctions and rewards attached to offender behavior. Without carefully considered case plans and a top-down commitment to implement and monitor them, most offenders revert to the same lifestyle choices they engaged in previously – and consequently, more than one half of them end up returning to the courts and correctional systems. Sadly, these people, their families and friends, and often entire communities are profoundly affected by the continuation of illegal and unhealthy activity.

It’s clear that something has to change. Promoting lasting, positive change, while holding those under court or correctional supervision accountable for their choices, is now proven to reduce recidivism and improve long-term public safety and general wellbeing. Fortunately, courts and other justice agencies can use research to guide their practices and deliver programs that lead to better behavior and safer communities.

An evidence-based practice relies on the use of actuarial assessment data as its foundation, carefully blended with human judgment, to inform decision-making. Developed by our Northpointe division, COMPAS is a state-of-the-art, fourth generation risk/needs assessment tool that uses sophisticated statistical models to accurately assess both static risk factors (those things, such as prior criminal history, that can’t change) and dynamic risk factors (those things, such as criminal thinking and attitudes, that can change).

Accurately assessing and interpreting static and dynamic risk factors tells us who are at highest risk to recidivate (the risk principle), what their greatest crime-producing issues are (the needs principle), and suggests how we might craft an intervention that works to successfully address those issues, surmounting whatever barriers that might stand in the way of positive change (the responsivity principle). Getting good data up front is critical to achieving successful outcomes.

With Northpointe services and the COMPAS solution you can:

  • Identify levels of risk and target for intervention those criminogenic (crime-producing) needs that tend to make offenders riskier. These are the “dynamic” factors that are responsive to effective interventions.
  • Become skilled in communication techniques that serve to enhance the intrinsic motivation of offenders to change for the better.
  • Apply the right dosage of treatment for the degree of need suggested as a result of the assessment.
  • Make plans for intervention based on the whole person, their cultural orientation, their learning style and their unique challenges/barriers.
  • Increase positive reinforcement through creative incentives, and establish graduated sanctions that teach as well as control.
  • Enter into a collaborative effort with treatment providers, the offender’s family and community members to lessen the likelihood of recidivism.
  • Measure and evaluate all components of the supervision process and strive to improve outcomes through a never-ending process of learning.

COMPAS can stand-alone or be interfaced with our JWorks CMS for streamlined access to all case, person, and activity history within the court.

Contact us today for more information or to schedule a demonstration of the Northpointe COMPAS assessment and case manager tools.