Probation’s major objective is to get the clients in line, rehabilitate them towards becoming well-adjusted individuals in society, and mitigate the risk of re-offense. Coconino County Adult Probation decided to ensure that this goal is realized through the creation of the ASSET special unit (Advanced Supervision Strategies and EPICS II Team).
Joining the webinar as the resource speaker for the ASSET program are Tiffany Marsitto and Chris Greenway of the Coconino County Probation Department. Chris Greenway started as an intern for the agency and is currently a probation officer handling both standard and high-risk intensive cases. Meanwhile, Tiffany Marsitto has been working in adult probation since 2011, likewise working on standard and high-risk intensive probation. She is a supervisor in the Coconino County Probation, an experienced coach in EPICS II skills and is the facilitator of their cognitive behavioral program.
Tiffany and Chris will take turns explaining the program and providing examples of how they handle different cases and clients in the program. They also discussed the following points in the webinar:
- The creation of the Advanced Strategies and EPICS II Team (ASSET), and the team comprising this unit.
- A brief introduction to EPICS II as a supervision technique that develops rapport and changes client behavior through daily interaction and a collaborative approach to the community or the institution.
- Why using a balanced approach to handling probation clients that combines accountability and rehabilitative methods results in the best client outcome.
- The core components of EPICS II that combine relationship skills, assessment skills, bridging skills and cognitive intervention skills.
- Why ASSET highlights relationship skills are the most important aspect of the program that yields the expected results out of the clients.
- Historical programs that were used as reference and basis when developing the Advanced Strategies and EPICS II Team.
- The important elements of foundation, accountability and cognitive work that together makes the program and the team effective in getting the desired outcome out of the probationers.
- The tasks involved in a probation officer’s day.
- How the cognitive work uses a accountability and reinforcement to elicit desired behavior out of the clients
- The length of the Intensive and Standard probation programs, and the pertinent success-measuring statistics.
- The combination of EPICS II, swift, certain and fair sanctioning; motivational interviewing, incentives, building rapport, treatment and resources as the winning formula utilized by the ASSET unit.
- A case study that illustrates how the program works.
- Poll questions asked the audience of their knowledge of the EPICS II communication techniques and the attendees’ thoughts on the jail sanctions.
The webinar participants used the Q&A segment to seek clarification on subjects like:
- The assessment tool that the courts, pre-sentence investigator, and probation officer used to determine if a case is high-risk or low-risk.
- The preference for the term probation clients instead or probationers.
- The availability and use of other sanctions that aren’t jail time.
- The inclusion of the deferred jail time in the terms of the probation sentencing, and the procedure when there is a need for deferred incarceration.
- The average length of times clients are placed under the program, and the number of clients under it.
- The process of creating the unit and getting other stakeholders' buy-in on the program.
- Felony cases as the condition IPS, and how to adjust the program for misdemeanor cases.
- A separate probation unit especially for sex offenders.
- Using motivational interviewing in the program.
- The zero-tolerance rule applied in the program that ensures the clients do not deviate to the terms of their probation and prevent re-offense.
- The procedure they employ when sanctioning for drug use during probation and how building relationship is critical in getting clients to admit to offenses before subjecting them to tests for confirmation.
- Reinforcing relationships between probationers and law enforcement.
- Using the probation clients’ circle of influence to manage behavior and track non-compliance.