U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Street-Level Decision Making Acceptability, Feasibility, and Use of Evidence-Based Practices in Adult Probation

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 44 Issue: 10 Dated: 2017 Pages: 1356-1381
Date Published
26 pages
Using over 1,000 hours of observation and interview data with probation staff, this study examined how probation staff understand and use evidence-based practices (EBPs).

Growing empirical research finds that a correctional system devoted to punishment is ineffective and can produce criminogenic effects. As a result, justice organizations, including probation, are encouraging managers and staff to adopt evidence-based practices (EBPs), supported by scientific evidence, such as validated risk and needs assessments and cognitive-behavioral therapies. Implementation of EBPs falls heavily on street-level workers, such as probation officers (POs) as they implement policy; yet, little attention has been given to whether and how EBPs align within the traditionally authoritarian justice environment. The findings of the current study indicate that probation staff continue to make discretionary decisions regarding with whom they can use EBPs and in which situations EBP use is appropriate. Findings have significant implications for the acceptability, feasibility, and transportability of EBPs in criminal justice environments. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017