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  Research: Adult & Juvenile Corrections  
ACE! researchers bring their expertise to many projects on the adult and juvenile corrections systems, ranging from randomized trials to implementation research and technology transfer.
 
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  Current Projects icon Current Adult & Juvenile Corrections Research  
 

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Risk, Need, Responsivity (R-N-R)

The evidence-based practices (EBP) framework emphasizes that offenders should be matched to services and programs based on their risk and need factors (“the RNR principle”). The effective use of risk and need assessment principles is hamstrung because:

  1. the available services for offenders in the community are often not consistent with risk and needs of offenders; and

  2. competing issues exist that make it difficult for policy makers to consider how best to simultaneously manage the offender in the community, ensure public safety, contain or reduce costs, and reduce individual offender recidivism.

This project, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, will develop a RNR Simulation Tool that can assist local, state, and/or federal agencies to use the risk-need-responsivity approach in practice through defining the type and nature of correctional options available in their jurisdictions. This RNR Simulation Tool will help jurisdictions 1) assess their current systems; 2) identify gaps; and 3) prioritize both services and controls (drug testing, electronic monitoring, etc.) based on desired outcomes. The RNR Tool will be web-based to allow jurisdictions to modify the parameters of the model based on the unique features of their jurisdictions. The proposed work complements efforts to advance the use of EBPs by helping jurisdictions strategically review their existing correctional and treatment services and then make choices based on maximizing different outcomes (i.e., costs, offender change, and public safety) in their jurisdiction. For more information on this project, please visit the R-N-R research page.

Evidence Based Practices in Corrections: Maryland Division of Parole and Probation

The Pre-Release Centers of Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) are transforming from prison-based to community-based facilities. GMU and the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation have established a memorandum of agreement to work together to improve correctional practices through provision of research, evaluation and educational services that bridge the gap between the academic and practitioner environments. As part of the new mission, goals, and objectives for these pre-release units, the agency is embarking on an organizational change strategy to adopt evidence-based practices. The objectives of this study are to: 1) measure the impact of a structured change process; 2) design and test an evidence-based communication skills training for staff; 3) measure staff commitment and understanding of organizational change, and 4) measure the impact of the new mission on offender outcomes.

EBP in Corrections. EBP in corrections is designed to address the organizational climate of the pre-release facilities of Maryland. We are involved in identifying how to translate core research findings into operational processes in a prison setting. Organizational surveys are being administered to assess the readiness for change of staff and administrators to modify practices. Surveys will be conducted periodically to assess change in the organization. We will implement procedures to monitor the translational process and then work on how to measure impact on offender and correctional system outcomes.

The Change Process.
The piloted change process within 2 pre-release facilities begins with the 2-day communications training focused on building staff communication skills. In-house change agents act as peer trainers to assist in enhancing the learning environment for these skills. A professional skills trainer provides on-site monitoring and assistance to staff. Through this continuous training model, the goal is the creation of a more open environment of team learning and to improve communication in order to increase safety and improve the outcomes of the offenders.

nida

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Motivational Assistance Program to Initiate Treatment (MAPIT)

 

In this National Institute on Drug Abuse funded project, ACE! is working with Dr. Scott Walters and research staff at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. MAPIT examines the impact that In-Person Motivational Interviewing (MI) versus a Motivational Computer Program (MC) has on outcomes of probationers with court determined drug and alcohol conditions as compared to standard probation. This is a randomized, multi-site experiment with the intent to capture outcomes throughout the probation process and as such, will follow each probationer over a 12-month period. As part of this study, we will be analyzing data on cost as well. Learn More.
SOARING 2

ACE! is working with Ralph Serin of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada on a new project funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. In this study, we will develop tools to assist correctional agencies in translating research into practice and to train agencies in evidence-based practices.
Listed below are some earlier studies on adult and juvenile corrections, conducted by Faye Taxman and other members of the ACE! team.

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JSTEPS – Using Rewards in Justice Treatment Programs: Technology & Contingency Management

This research project aims to guide each participating court through the implementation of an individualized Contingency Management (CM) protocol. CM interventions use systematic reinforcement with rewards (or punishment) to alter problem behaviors, usually substance use, in offenders. Rewards have been widely used in clinical treatment programs. They have been shown to successfully change targeted behaviors of substance abusers, including decreasing the number of positive drug tests and increasing treatment attendance. The process of developing and implementing such an intervention in criminal justice settings takes several steps. In this study, ACE! assists each court through the implementation from the formation of a local multidisciplinary team to the utilization of new technology tools, and the formation of a larger supportive network of courts also implementing a rewards system. For more information, visit the JSTEPS Study Resource Page.
jarpp

Technology Transfer in Juvenile Justice: Juvenile Assessment and Referral Services in the Juvenile Justice System (JARPP)

NIDA funded this study (with Doug Young of the University of Maryland) to assess the impact of three different training and staff development protocols on the utilization of assessment, treatment planning, and service case management procedures by line staff at Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). The staff development protocols are designed to improve service utilization of community-based substance abuse and/or mental health services by juveniles under DJS supervision. We will determine whether staff that are involved in regimented, structured development will use the assessment, treatment planning, and case management strategies more than staff that receive other trainings. The goals are to:

  1. assess the impact of a new juvenile assessment, referral and placement strategy on youth utilization of services;

  2. assess the impact of different training and staff development components; and

  3. analyze the impact of a new case management component on youth outcomes.

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Manualized Treatment

Manualized Treatment in a Seamless System of Care is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This project is a randomized block experiment to test the effectiveness of different models of the seamless criminal justice/treatment system and traditional criminal justice supervision on reducing recidivism and drug use, and improving social adjustment among offenders. Objectives of the study include:

  1. understanding the intervention’s impact based on offender risk factors (e.g., likelihood of engaging in further criminal behavior) on criminal justice outcomes;

  2. determining whether differences found between seamless and traditional system participants are moderated by offender risk level;

  3. understanding differential treatment and social adjustment outcomes (e.g., treatment progress, employment status) of different types of offenders participating in various treatment services; and

  4. examining levels of systems integration between the criminal justice agency and substance abuse treatment providers pre- and post-intervention and measuring the impact of systems integration on outcomes over time.
reentryLearn more What Works in Residential Reentry

This study, through a cooperative agreement with the International Community Corrections Association, focused on residential re-entry centers (RRCs) contracted by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There are 250 Residential Reentry Center contractors who are responsible for nearly 24,000 federal offenders each year. In this study, the experiences of 9 RRC sites and nearly 40,000 individual case histories were examined with the goal of providing details concerning the services and performance of the RRCs. The results of this project are reported in seven different monographs as well as an executive overview.

Action Research to Advance Drug Treatment in the Criminal Justice System

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This was a six-year project from October 1, 2002-August 30, 2008. As the national coordinating center for the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s research network on treatment for the criminal justice-involved addict, the cooperative involved eight other centers: the University of Miami (Howard Liddle, Ph.D.), University of California, Los Angeles (Michael Prendergast, Ph.D.), Brown University (Peter Friedmann, M.D.), University of Delaware (James Inciardi, Ph.D.), Texas Christian University (Kevin Knight, Ph.D.), National Research Institute and Development (Harry Wexler, Ph.D., Stan Sacks, Ph.D., and Nancy Jainchill, Ph.D.), and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services/University of Connecticut (Linda Frisman, Ph.D.). This network was involved in implementing studies to develop new instruments for better management and treatment of the offender population, to implement clinical trials to test new strategies and interventions for improving outcomes from offenders, and to implement process studies to examine how criminal justice policy makers and practitioners affect offender and system outcomes. The network was also responsible for mentoring new students and faculty in criminal justice-drug treatment issues. Related studies included:

CJ-DATS National Survey of Criminal Justice Treatment Practices. This was a multi-level survey of senior executives, administrators, program directors, and staff in correctional and drug treatment organizations. The survey involved a census of all 50 states and a nationally representative sample of counties/cities. The survey was designed to provide a systematic assessment of the availability and types of treatment provided to substance-abusing offenders throughout the criminal justice system. Surveys were collected from over 1,000 organizations on treatment and organizational issues.

CJ-DATS Step’N Out.This randomized trial was implemented in a Probation and Parole Office in Richmond, VA along with three other CJ-DATS sites. The study involved the use of positive reinforcements and contingency management protocol to engage the offender in treatment services and improve outcomes. The protocol was a collaborative behavioral management approach to parole and substance abuse treatment where the parole officer, treatment counselor and client meet to work out a contract of graduated incentives and sanctions.

HIV Prevention for Reentry Offenders. This randomized trial was implemented in two prisons in Virginia. The study examined the efficacy of a DVD focused on gender and culturally sensitive behavioral techniques to learn to manage risky behaviors. The protocol was intended for implementation in four CJ-DATS sites.

Evaluations of Prison Culture

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator (with James M. Byrne) on this project, sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections. This was a cooperative agreement from October 1, 2003-September 30, 2006. The study evaluated four different organizational strategies to change the culture of problem-prisons.
Developing Reassessment Tools for Probation and Parole

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project, funded by the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. This project was from October 1, 2003-February, 2005. This project developed a reassessment protocol for probation and parole agencies in Maryland.
Drug Courts in Maine: A Test of Effectiveness

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Co-Principal Investigator (with Donald Anspach, University of Southern Maine) on this project, sponsored by the Maine Alcohol and Drug Agency. The grant examined the treatment provided in drug courts in Maine and the impact on offender outcomes. The project was from January 1, 2002-December 30, 2004.
Treatment in the Drug Court

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Co-Principal Investigator (with Donald Anspach, University of Southern Maine) on this project, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. This naturalistic study reviewed the composition of drug courts in four areas. The study was from October 1, 2000-December 2002.
Action Research for Reentry Partnership Initiatives

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project, funded by the National Institute of Justice. This project ran from October 1, 2000-March 30, 2002. The study conducted a process evaluation of eight new reentry programs.
Using Motivational Interviewing in Supervision

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project, sponsored by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. This was an emphasis on examining the use of motivational interviewing in the supervision system. This project ran from March 2000-March 2002.
Evaluation of the Seamless System for Offenders

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This five-year study examined the costs and benefits of a systemic case management structure and the traditional supervision for offender populations. This project ran from January 1, 1999- December 30, 2003.
Implementing Adult Correctional Programs

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project, funded by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. This project was from September 1, 1999-August 30, 2004.
Systematic Case Management Practices in Maryland

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project, sponsored by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration. This seven-year project was to implement systemic case management practices using technology in agencies interacting with drug treatment services. This project ran from July 1, 1999-June 30, 2006.
ADAM-Washington, DC

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project as well as a, subcontractor for ABT Associates. This was a grant to conduct drug testing and interviews at booking in Washington, DC. This project ran from January 1998-November 1999.
Continuation of Technical Assistance for Pretrial Processing in Baltimore City, Maryland

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principle Investigator on this project, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. This project was a grant to understand the pretrial processes and develop a pretrial risk-screening instrument. This project ran from July 1, 1998-June 30, 2001.
Evaluation of Break the Cycle Process and Outmode Evaluation for the First 7 Sites

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principle Investigator on this project, funded by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. This project was a grant to conduct a process and outcome study for seven sites in Maryland implementing Break the Cycle (systemic case management approach). The project was a five-year project from September 1998-August 2003.
Understanding Supervision in the District of Columbia

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principle Investigator on this project, sponsored by the Offender Supervision Agency of the U.S. Department of Justice (District Government). This project was a grant to examine the performance of the supervision system in the District of Columbia in 1996 and 1997.
Treatment in the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA project

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principle Investigator on this project, sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy of the Office of the President of the U.S. This project involved demonstrating a systemic case management approach for treating hard-core offenders consisting of two levels of treatment (e.g., continuum of care), testing, enhanced supervision, and sanctions. Twelve jurisdictions in the Washington Baltimore region participated in the project. The grant provided for a process evaluation of the 12 sites and a randomized experiment in eight sites. This project ran from January 1994-June 1999.
Evaluation of a Quality Case Review Process in Baltimore City, Maryland Criminal Justice System

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principle Investigator on this project, funded by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The project analyzed pretrial processing in Baltimore City, Maryland. The goal was to implement an experimental design to assess the improvements in case processing procedures and pretrial detention based upon changes in policy and procedures. This project ran from September 1994-June 1998.
Jail Addiction Services (JAS)

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Principal Investigator on this project sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and the Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission. This project, which was an evaluation of the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment in a jail setting in Montgomery County, Maryland, was funded by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services from October 1993-May 1996.
Project Force

Dr. Faye Taxman served as Evaluator on this project that assessed a prevention program for juveniles. The evaluation examined the attitude changes of participants in the program. The grant was from the Maryland Governor’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission from September 1990-August 1992.
 

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