Major Projects

Developing Practice Guidelines for Supervision Agencies

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)’s Patient Placement Criteria (PPC) provides treatment recommendations based on an individual’s severity of substance use disorder. ASAM is now used by 30 states, and these guidelines have improved treatment outcomes. Community supervision agencies handle challenging populations (e.g., severe mental health disorders, substance dependence disorders, gang involved, etc.) and agencies develop their own procedures, often driven by resources or tradition. The supervision field lacks clear, guided practice statements regarding how best to manage individuals in the community. This contributes to inconsistency across agencies, and perceptions of unfair and illegitimate practices. This project proposes to use a modified RAND/University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Appropriateness Method (RAM) process to create Practice Guidelines in six areas: Violent or Gang-Involved, Mental Health Disorders, Young Adults, Intimate Partner Violence, Driving While Intoxicated, and Substance Use Disorders. The RAM is an open source method that will be modified for this project. An expert panel consisting of five supervision officials, seven researchers, and two individuals with lived experiences will be convened for a total of 12 individuals on the panel. We will conduct literature reviews to understand the current state-of-knowledge, survey the field, conduct discussions with key opinion leaders, and analyze data of over 300,000 probationers to develop real-world scenarios. The real-world scenarios will be used to create appropriateness statements that articulate: 1) the type of conditions that should be used for different risk-need profiles, and 2) different responses that are appropriate for handling non-compliance to required conditions for different risk-need profiles. The Expert Panel will rate the statements on three occasions to develop a consensus. The consensus statements will be packaged into Practice Guides, one for each area, and disseminated to the field. The overarching goals are to accelerate the use of evidence-based practices for different risk-need profiles, to create more fairness in how noncompliance to conditions of supervision are handled, and to improve successful outcomes from supervision.

Key Staff: Faye S. Taxman, Ph.D. (George Mason University); JoAnn Lee, Ph.D. (George Mason University)

Funding Source: Arnold Ventures

Study Location(s): National

Major Goals:

  • Use Delphi methods to develop consensus about different methods to supervise probationers in the community
  • Develop practice guidelines for substance abuse probationers, individuals with mental illness, violent probationers, gang-involved probationers, young adult probationers
  • Develop standards for programs that can be operated by probation and parole agencies.