Evidence Based Practice Packets Now Available

Feb. 7th

Reentry Court Practitioners have available to them an eleven part  education series  that enhance their ability to implement evidence based practices in their courts. The Center for Effective Public Policy and its partners, The Urban Institute and The Carey Group, developed this free educational program now available to criminal justice professionals and their partners interested in enhancing their implementation strategies.

Too often, practitioners have been  encouraged to use research based strategies such as “Evidence Based Practices”, but find the can only access highly conceptual education materials, that provide little guidance for implementation in the real world. On the other hand, each of the eleven Coaching Packets provided in this series, provides an overview of a key topic related to successful offender reentry, concrete strategies and key steps for enhancing practice in this area, and a “self assessment tool” that jurisdictions can use to evaluate their strengths and challenges in the particular topic area discussed. The packets are organized in three series:

  • Series 1 provides a blueprint for an effective offender reentry system;
  • Series 2 addresses key issues related to the delivery of evidence-based services to offenders; and
  • Series 3 provides guidance and tools to ensure that reentry efforts achieve their intended outcomes.

Though not specifically designed for Reentry Courts, I would encourage Reentry Court Practitioners to investigate this important educational series (especially the “Implementing Evidence Based Practices Packet”), and decide for yourselves.

A Woman’s Reentry Court

“A Woman’s Journey Home: Challenges for Female Offenders and Their Children”, written in 2002, is an excellent publication, from the Urban Institute (published by the Dept of HHS), devoted to the challenges facing women returning from prison. Written by Stephanie S. Covington, PhD, LCSW, then Co-director of the Center for Gender & Justice, this study focuses on women’s issues and the inherent bias that effects women in prison and when returned to the community.

It should be noted that a number of Drug Courts and other Problem-Solving Courts have developed special tracks, both in the courtroom and treatment and rehabilitation programs in the community, that recognize the special needs and  interests of women. The first such program that I became aware of was established in 1993, by Judge William Schma,  a drug court pioneer, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Judge Schma, was a powerful advocate for the separation of women from men in Drug Court. He argued that women become invisible in the presence of male participants, and the ability of both sexes to focus on their rehabilitation was compromised. I believe that he is and was correct on both counts.

In the field of Reentry Courts, one program stands out in this regard. The Second Chance Women’s Re-entry Court program in Los Angeles, established by Judge Michael Tynan, is an exceptonal program serving over 200 women in Los Angeles County.

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