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- Providing Incentives – Evidence-based practice
Summary of the Evidence
- Incentives are a way to change behavior by rewarding clients for addressing pre-determined goals and complying with supervision conditions.
- Incentives are effective with diverse populations.
- Incentives are generally found to be more effective than sanctions at changing behavior; it is recommended to give four incentives for each sanction (4:1 ratio).
- Supervision staff and people involved in the criminal legal system (the “criminal justice” or “legal” system is referred to as the criminal legal system in this document) generally support the use of incentives.
- Supervision staff particularly favor the use of incentives with medium- and high-risk clients.
Special Considerations When Using Incentives with Subpopulations
|Gang-Involved||Gang-involved clients may have concerns that receiving incentives may be seen by other gang-involved peers as cooperating with law enforcement and may result in retaliation. Officers should help gang-involved clients to navigate these issues, explain to peers the purpose of incentives, and stay safe.|
|General Violence||Incentives (and the possibility of losing incentives) may help decrease violent behavior and get individuals to think about and reconsider violence before committing it.|
|Intimate Partner Violence||Incentives can help address behaviors (like alcohol or narcotics use) that may contribute to intimate partner violence.|
|Serious Mental Illness||Incentives are usually effective with people who experience mental illness and may be a way to encourage participation in a treatment program.|
|Substance Use Disorder||Contingency management with rewards for abstinence from drugs has been studied extensively and is an evidence-based practice.|
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