Smarter Sentencing Instructional Video Series

In addition to providing live seminars and on-site technical assistance on "smarter sentencing" and applying the research to pretrial and correctional settings, the Justice Management Institute has also put together a series of videos for individual use and as resources for leaders and practitioners to use as part of their own training efforts.

In addition to providing live seminars and on-site technical assistance on "smarter sentencing" and applying the research to pretrial and correctional settings, the Justice Management Institute has also put together a series of videos for individual use and as resources for leaders and practitioners to use as part of their own training efforts.

Below we offer three series of videos:

 

For more information about smarter sentencing and evidence-based practice, feel free to with your questions. You may also want to review our publications under Resources: Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems and the Smarter Sentencing to Reduce Recidivism Participant Guide.

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Setting the Stage for Smarter Sentencing

In these opening video resources, Franklin Cruz, Senior Program Manager at the Justice Management Institute, discusses the national trend of rising correctional spending while recidivism rates have remained consistently high over time. It is this context of financial crisis and poor criminal justice outcomes that has led many systems in the United States to look for a different approach to criminal justice, both at the post-disposition stage and during adjudication.

 

Research-Based Practice: Risk, Need, and Responsivity

The following series provides a brief overview of the lessons from the research -- the Risk, Need, Responsivity (RNR) Principles. These principles, first defined by researchers Andrews and Bonta in 1990, have provided the basis for much of what we now know as "smarter sentencing" and has been influential in enhancing pretrial services and other justice system interventions. The first of these principles – the Risk Principle – affirms that highly effective criminal justice interventions will focus on those individuals with the highest criminogenic risk (or highest likelihood to reoffend). The Need Principle states that interventions should address the needs that are most related to likelihood to reoffend. The major needs include association with antisocial peers, antisocial temperament, antisocial thinking, poor relationships with family, severe substance use disorder, etc.

The Responsivity Principle reminds criminal justice leaders and practitioners to provide the best conditions for individuals to succeed, by individualizing services to gender, culture, learning style, mental health needs, etc. In the final video in this series, Cruz discusses the importance of providing incentives to promote behavioral change, of responding swiftly, certainly, and proportionately, and of using the right doses for treatment.

Researchers have found these factors to be most associated with highly effective interventions that reduce recidivism among offenders.

 

 

 

Change Management: Aligning Criminal Justice Systems with Research-Based Practice

The process of introducing evidence-based or "smarter sentencing" practices into criminal justice systems is a change management process. It is at its foundation a process of realigning the incentives, processes, and expertise of the criminal justice system to a new paradigm grounded in the risk, need, and responsivity principles. Effective change management shares a five major characteristics, each of which is discussed in this video series. First, change management begins with building a clear vision among a cross-disciplinary group of stakeholders. Second, galvanizing invested and engaged stakeholders is essential. Third, criminal justice systems need to identify dynamic leaders and facilitators who can build consensus and sustain coalitions. Fourth, the cross-disciplinary groups leading the change must clearly define how they are governed and make decisions. Fifth and last, effective change management always features intentional planning for action, which includes implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

For all of these videos and more coming in the future, check out JMI's YouTube channel, justicemanagement.