New Training for Probation Employees

A press release from the McHenry County Circuit Court:

22nd Judicial Circuit Department of Probation and Court Services Seeks to Implement Evidence Based Practices

The seal of the 22nd Circuit Court.

The seal of the 22nd Circuit Court.

The Department of Probation and Court Services is seeking to enter into a contract with Core Correctional Solutions, LLC, for specialized training and consulting services in order to implement evidence based behavioral intervention strategies which will enhance the other evidence based practices already in place.

Further these practices will build upon the remarkable foundation set by the hard work and dedication of the current and past Probation and Court Services employees.

The strategies would be utilized by probation officers for individuals who have been convicted of a criminal violation and sentenced to a term of probation.

Integrated Behavioral Intervention Strategies (IBIS) consists of a set of supervision techniques that probation officers can use daily in their interaction with clients.

This program is the integration of two evidence based correctional approaches: motivational interviewing and effective practices in community supervision.

The IBIS skills help probation officers

  • develop rapport, increase motivation to change
  • provide intentional interventions aimed at changing offender behavior
  • identifying and addressing skill deficits.

IBIS represents a collaborative and individualized evidence-based approach to target current factors that put the client at risk for future criminal behavior.

These skills can be implemented for both adult and juvenile criminal offenders.

Director Walt Pesterfield said,

“Integrated Behavioral Intervention Strategies is the most advanced training for probation officers available. The skills provide officers with the tools necessary to assist in behavior change of criminal offenders.

“The implementation of the skills will decrease recidivism, and increase motivation for behavioral change in effort to rehabilitate people into pro social productive citizens in our society.

“Further, we have an outstanding work force in The Probation Court Services Department and our goal is to have the best outcomes in the State of Illinois, which equals a safer place to live for our citizens.

“We are excited to be leaders in the State of Illinois and bring the most advanced evidence based practices to McHenry County.”

Research shows that probation officers utilizing the IBIS skills can reduce recidivism.

A recent meta-analysis of the existing research on the use of core correctional practices in the community supervision settings identified 10 distinct evaluations which evaluated the use of these practices in probation, parole or pretrial settings. The analysis indicated that officers trained in these practices had caseload recidivism rates that were 10% lower than officers who were not trained.

“The goal of community supervision is to divert low risk criminal offenders from local jails and prisons by utilizing proven strategies in order to modify anti-social behaviors and improve outcomes.

“Taking this step on a departmental wide level is a monumental achievement for the health and safety of our communities.

“After many years and exhaustive research of the data, we have finally learned that locking people up for low degree offenses and hoping that incarceration will modify behaviors, simply does not work,”

said Dan Wallis, Trial Court Administrator

“People who commit violent crimes or are dangerous to society need to be incarcerated, however for those offenders who do not fit in that category, we can do a better job modifying behaviors on the local level, have better long-term outcomes, that cost the taxpayer considerably less than the prison system.”

Over the past 5 years Core Correctional Solutions, LLC has worked with over 25 agencies in the implementation of these evidence based practices. The implementation has varied by jurisdiction including federal, state, county and local entities. They have also trained adult and juvenile probation officers as well as correctional officers and institutions. To date, more than 2,000 front-line probation officers have been trained across the country.

The cost of the training will be $84,610.00, or $2,115 per probation officer and will last a year.

Included with the training is a “train the trainer” segment which will allow the Department of Probation Court Services to train new probation officers in these evidence based practices and bring continuity to the initiative.

All costs associated with this contract will be paid by fees collected from individuals who have been sentenced to probation, not McHenry County General Fund dollars.

A resolution to accept the contract went before the McHenry County Board at their July 21, 2015 meeting.

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