Learn how Lee County Probation (Florida) implemented a series of targeted programs to achieve remarkable outcomes that include reductions in both recidivism and new law violations over 15-percent, along with significant client gains. The webinar will discuss how implementing differentiated case supervision, motivational interviewing, skill building, and risk and needs assessments has increased success rates and reduced recidivism in Lee County. This webinar provides information about how the County uses risk assessments to differentiate probationers by risk level and specific needs to enable emphasis on high-risk probationers and ensure appropriate resources are tailored to the probationer. The session will also discuss how Officers are trained to use a needs assessment and provides insight into how Lee County incorporates motivational interviewing and skill-building techniques to identify probationer needs and motivate positive change.
Too often, probation is associated with conditions and rules. However, at the core, probation’s goal is to ensure that an individual does not end up on the same road, getting arrested and re-offending. Having conditions and rules, unfortunately doesn’t get the job done fully. Recidivating can only be prevented through a shift in the individual’s values, motivations, behavior, and beliefs.
Lee County Florida’s Probation Department implemented a series of initiatives that are designed to address the challenge of reducing recidivism while also managing the department’s caseloads and success rate. To talk about the intricacies of the programs are: Doug Jaye, the Deputy Director of Lee County Probation Department, Probation Supervisor Ashlee Whitewood, and Probation Officers Oscar Ferrer and Bridget Washburn.
Specifics that were covered during this webinar include:
- A brief introduction to Lee County Florida and their probation department, including its mission, vision, make-up and functions.
- The situation that Lee County Probation Department found themselves in with high and unbalanced caseload, low success rate, high recidivism and probation officers who lack meaningful contact with their clients.
- Working towards a solution by examining the current conditions, conducting comparative research with other jurisdictions, and reviewing APPA optimal standards.
- The primary solution they put into place to manage the caseload by advocating for an additional probation officer.
- Looking at evidence-based practice to probation that considers risks, needs and responsivity, and the lessons learned from this approach.
- Implementing evidence-based practices to Lee County Probation Department in segments.
- Putting Motivational Interviewing in place to make interactions with probationers change focused to addresses their challenges on success rate, recidivism, and rapport.
- Securing a Bureau of Justice Grant to employ the expertise of the Carey Group.
- Implementing a Needs Assessment to determine what must be dealt with to reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
- Utilizing Skill Building that addresses the deficits identified in the Needs Assessment.
- The recommendations and solutions from the Carey Group.
- Utilizing the Proxy Risk Instrument to understand the existing population which includes policy and procedure development on the use of the tool as well as staff training.
- Employing a Differentiated Case Supervision Plan developed through a committee of probation officers, which entails a shift in paradigm and protocols through segmented supervision standards and expectations based on risk level.
- The Needs Assessment Tool which addresses both criminogenic and non-criminogenic needs.
- Using Cognitive Skill Building Worksheets that reviews and addresses the probationers’ decision-making, problem-solving, peers, automatic responses and thinking traps.
- A checklist during interactions with specific points to do to from check-in, review, intervention and their take-home assignments.
- A walk-through of what a meaningful interaction and effective skill building session is like.
- The results of the implementation of the Lee County Probation Department’s program of increased success rate and reduced recidivism.
- The roadblocks faced, lessons learned and making the program a success through experts who shared best practices and concepts, and trained, empowered, and engaged staff.
- Updates and plans for the program.
- Webinar attendees raised their inquiries on:
- Acquiring the skills building worksheets.
- Insights from working with the Carey Group.
- Referrals to service providers.
- The timeframe of the development and implementation of the program.
- Securing the grant with the Bureau of Justice.
- Whether mental health is a criminogenic need.
- The statute that allows referrals to treatment in lieu of violation.
- Getting the staff’s buy-in to apply Motivational Interviewing.
- How the probation officers were divided.
- Frequency of refresher course training.
- Unexpected benefits of the program.
- Using the program for juvenile justice.
- Advice to agencies considering the same approach and program.
- “Our agency seems to be following the same skill-building techniques to promote positive change in our probationers.” –Natasha
- “Our agency is moving towards this model and it provided and nice outlook of what we have to look forward to.” –Aleyna
- “I think it was interesting results in [discussing to] treating [the probationer] as a person and not the crime.. the results were good as far as them learning from the experience or probation period.” –Regina
- “Great presentation. Good overview but also provided a thorough discussion.” –Nicole