Focus group sought to provide feedback on programs designed to reduce recidivism

The American Probation and Parole Association, in collaboration with the Council of State Governments Justice Center, is looking for focus group participants to provide feedback on the tools necessary to successfully implement evidence-based practices in an effort to reduce recidivism.

According to organizers, participants will help design the scope and structure of the tools to ensure they meet the needs of corrections agencies.

The focus group is part of the APPA’s involvement with the CSG’s Statewide Recidivism Reduction Project, which was created to offer guidance on the best practices in reducing recidivism and to provide tools for enhancing communication with policymakers, state corrections directors and reentry staff.

The project features three checklists aimed specifically at policymakers, corrections directors and reentry coordinators that includes actions related to measuring recidivism and setting reduction targets and practices that have been shown to reduce recidivism.

The project builds upon the State Leaders’ National Forum on Reentry and Recidivism held in 2011 in Washington D.C. in which corrections and state leaders from all 50 states met to design a plan that would result in concrete recidivism reductions throughout the United States.

One method state and local correctional agencies are using to combat recidivism is to implement day reporting centers like those run by GEO Reentry Services. Day reporting centers utilize evidence-based practices to help participants successfully reenter society by helping to give them the tools to become productive members of their communities.

GEO Reentry-run DRCs require participants to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy to target the root cause of their criminal behavior, as well as providing life skills courses so participants are given the tools to acquire and maintain work and careers. In some instances, participants also undergo substance abuse treatment as studies have found that criminal behavior and substance abuse is often linked.

Learn more about the practices behind GEO Reentry’s day reporting centers.

The afore-mentioned focus group is scheduled to occur at the APPA’s upcoming Annual Training Institute in New Orleans on Aug. 3. Anyone interested in being a part of the group should contact Nathan Lowe at [email protected].