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«Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS) By Edward Latessa Professor and Director School of Criminal Justice University of Cincinnati ...»

Effective Practices in

Community Supervision (EPICS)


Edward Latessa

Professor and Director

School of Criminal Justice

University of Cincinnati



Current we are testing a new model for

Case Managers and POs called EPICS

• Effective Practices for Community


• Most has been done with POs

• Recently trained Caseworkers

• We are also piloting a version with families

Traditional Officer-Offender Interactions are

often not Effective because:

 They are too brief to have an impact  Conversations focus almost exclusively on monitoring compliance conditions (and therefore emphasize external controls on behavior rather than developing an internal rationale for pro-social behavior)  Relationship is often more confrontational and authoritarian in nature than helpful Rationale for the EPICS Model


• Dosage

• Caseload size

• Availability and quality of community referrals

• Content of interaction with offender

• Focus on external controls

• Other policy/procedural issues Rationale for the EPICS Model Strongest theory of human behavior is social learning, so…..

Important to teach POs and caseworkers how to use structured social learning and CBT in one-on-one interactions with offenders Rationale for the EPICS Model


The most current research is suggesting that the relationship with officer and what is discussed is important.

Rationale for the EPICS Model


A study on case management practices in Manitoba probation found that the development of supervision plans was based more on what the court mandated than what the assessments indicated.

 in number of topics discussed,  in recidivism Bonta, Rugge, Seto and Coles (2004) Rationale for the EPICS Model


Research on the Dual Role Relationships InventoryRevised has suggested that relationship quality in mandated treatment involves caring and fairness, trust, and an authoritative (not authoritarian) style.

Skeem, Eno Louden, Polaschek, and Camp (2007) Rationale for the EPICS Model


The work of Chris Trotter (2006) has also underscored the importance of role clarification and the use of problem solving (as well as other core correctional practices) in working with involuntary clients.

Rationale for EPICS Training


• Translate the results of assessments

• Supervise/intervene

• Target criminogenic needs

• Provide evidence-based interventions

• Provide graduated incentives and consequences Case Management Match offenders to services and programs

–  –  –

• Provide interventions during face-to-face meetings

• Interventions are chosen based on client risk and need

• Interventions are evidence-based

• Targets are criminogenic

• Quality assurance to ensure fidelity Structure of EPICS Meeting


• Each session should be structured in the

following way:

1. Check-In

2. Review

3. Intervention

4. Homework Structure of EPICS Meeting CHECK-IN

CHECK-IN is an opportunity to:

1. Determine if the offender has any crises/acute needs

2. Build rapport

3. Discuss compliance issues Structure of EPICS Meeting REVIEW

The REVIEW portion of the meeting should focus on:

1. The skills discussed in prior session

2. The application of those skills

3. Troubleshooting any continued problems in the use of those skills

4. Discuss progress in attaining short- and longterm goals Structure of EPICS Meeting



1. Identify continued areas of need

2. Identify trends in problems that the offender experiences

3. Teach relevant skills

4. Target problematic thinking Structure of EPICS Meeting



1. Model any skills taught during the intervention

2. Have the offender role play the new skill BEFORE leaving your office, and offer feedback Structure of EPICS Meeting HOMEWORK


1. Assign the offender homework that focuses on applying the new skill

2. Give instructions for the offender to follow before the next session Rationale for EPICS

Preliminary Data from Canada:

Trained officers had 12% higher retention rates in comparison with untrained officers at six months.

Also found reductions in recidivism

–  –  –

Robinson, Vanbenschoten, Alexander, and Lowenkamp, Forthcoming, Federal Probation, Sept.


Rationale for EPICS Training


Elements of Effective Correctional Practice and Recidivism 0.5 0.4

–  –  –


• EPICS is a three day training for probation/parole officers or case managers and supervisors.

• Additional training is required for supervisors only.

• The training for supervisors begins the process of how to provide supervision and support to the officers implementing these skills.

EPICS Training Requirements


• Approximately one month after an offender is enrolled in the study, probation officers will begin audio taping sessions.

• Each audio tape will then be reviewed by UC researchers and information will be coded concerning the relationship, session content, use of reinforcement, use of disapproval, use of authority, problem solving skills, cognitive restructuring, and referrals.

EPICS Training Requirements


In order to ensure adherence to the model and to train the supervisors as coaches, five video conference sessions are included as part of the training.

Session 1 & 2: UC staff will review audio tapes and specific cases with trainees.

Session 3 & 4 Probation supervisors partner with UC staff to conduct the session.

Session 5: Supervisors will conduct the session, with UC staff providing support.

EPICS Training Requirements


• Pre/post tests are available to assess relationships, changes in attitudes, and other intermediate measures.

Current EPICS Research Projects

• Grant County, Indiana (both adult and juvenile)

• Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) – Pilot research study with 3 adult parole services regions – Aimed to pilot the use of EPICS model with parole officers

• Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) – Pilot study with 3 adult agencies and 1 juvenile agency

• Franklin County Adult Probation

• Hamilton County Adult Probation

• Hamilton County Juvenile Probation

• Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Pilot of the EPICS Model


% of audiotapes Pilot of the EPICS Model


% of audiotapes Pilot of the EPICS Model


% of audiotapes Pilot of the EPICS Model


% of audiotapes Pilot of the EPICS Model


% of audiotapes Pilot of the EPICS Model


% of audiotapes On-Going Quality Assurance Projects


Several sites have now participated in EPICS training and on-going coaching sessions:

– Franklin County, OH Juvenile Probation – Hancock County, OH Juvenile Probation – Ohio Department of Youth Services Parole Division (also piloting Family Version) – Ottawa County, OH Juvenile Probation – Westchester County, NY Adult Probation – Williams County, OH Juvenile Probation – South Dakota Department of Juvenile Corrections – South Dakota Department of Adult Corrections – Summit County, OH Juvenile Probation – San Joaquin County, CA Juvenile Probation – Cuyahoga Co, OH Juvenile Probation – Lucas Co, OH Juvenile Probation – Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice – Multnomah Co, Oregon, Adult Probation – Marion Co, Oregon Salem, Adult and Juvenile Probation – Oregon Douglas Co, Oregon, Juvenile Probation – Clackamas Co, Oregon, Juvenile Probation – Humboldt County, CA – Adult and Juvenile Probation – Inyo County, CA – Adult and Juvenile Probation – Rites of Passage Juvenile –Case Manager Version Implementing the EPICS Model


Requires spending more time with higher risk offenders (need to realign workloads) Officers need to learn and practice new skills (requires training and coaching) Supervisors must be part of the process (trained on model and as “coaches”) Implementing the EPICS Model


It’s too time consuming.

- Evidence in the pilot project that time decreased slightly as officers became more proficient in the model It’s too difficult to conduct EPICS session in the field, easier to conduct in the office.

- It can be difficult to conduct sessions with parents, siblings, and other distractions in the house I already do it, just not in the way UC prefers.

Implementing the EPICS Model


It is enough to say good job; there is no need to weigh the pros and cons of engaging in a prosocial choice.

I am not a counselor; I refer them to counseling services.

It’s not my job.

Implementing the EPICS Model STRENGTHS

• Most POs demonstrate strong relationship skills

• Most POs regularly monitor compliance

• Most POs use verbal praise consistently and appropriately

• Most POs display effective use of authority skills Implementing the EPICS Model


• Recognizing antisocial thinking

• Teaching clients how to challenge/replace the thoughts

• Teaching clients new skills

• Using role-play techniques

• Assigning homework designed to provide additional practice opportunities for clients (i.e., not “have your mom call me,” “go to Medicaid office,” etc.)

• Using effective reinforcement and disapproval Implementing the EPICS Model


Sometimes officers have a hard time seeing the big picture/purpose of EPICS. Specifically, they understand the idea that EPICS is geared to reduce recidivism, but they don ’ t always understand their role.

Stressing that the officers’ goal is to teach the clients how to use cognitive restructuring and the various prosocial skills and techniques on their own is imperative.

Implementing the EPICS Model


These are not skills officers learn overnight; the training is the first step in learning the skills, but the coaching sessions and practice are just as important. Coaching sessions are only as useful as the officers make them. Practice and use is key to mastering the skills.

Coaching and QA from the supervisors and department is extremely important. Without both, the EPICS model has a small chance of being fully adopted.

In Closing…

• The EPICS model is not intended to replace more intense cognitivebehavioral treatments to address specific domains, but rather it is an attempt to more fully utilize community supervision officers as agents of change by providing structure and purpose to face-to-face interactions with clients.

“The feedback I am getting on EPICS is phenomenal.

Several people have said of all the What Works training, this is the one most valuable because it provides concrete strategies that they can use in their everyday work.

People are already sharing with each other their experiences with the skills.”

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