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Working with the Criminal Justice Populations  

This special population section of the AMH EBP webpage has been created to inform treatment providers about appropriate curriculum, treatment practices, references and resources that improve outcomes for people involved with the criminal justice system.

Criminogenic Risk Factors - What is it?

The Oregon Department of Corrections develops a corrections plan for each inmate. The corrections plan is based on mitigating seven criminal risk factors that research indicates predict future criminal behavior. The seven criminal risk factors are: 

  • Associates
  • Substance Abuse
  • Community Functioning
  • Education and Employment
  • Emotional and Mental Health
  • Marital and Family Life
  • Attitudes 

The department provides targeted programs and services to mitigate these risk factors during incarceration and community supervision. When offenders transition successfully back into their communities there is less likelihood that they will commit new crimes.

Principles of Effective Interventions

1. Assess risk. Offender risk/need assessments drive effective programs. Use objective, standardized, and validated assessment of client risk and need factors.

2. Target treatment to risk level of offenders. Use proven treatment interventions that target known predictors of crime and recidivism to prepare offenders for success in the community.

3. Develop and implement evidence-based programs. Programs that scientifically designed research has demonstrated as effective in reducing recidivism.

4. Use cognitive behavioral and social learning approaches in treatment services. Systematic use of behavioral contingencies including rewards and/or incentives is an integral component of all treatment services. Train skills with guided practice (i.e., modeling, behavioral rehearsal, performance feedback, etc.).

5. Conduct interventions in an appropriate setting, matching client and interventions based on an assessment of risk, need, and responsivity.

6. Ensure fidelity of program to evidence-based model. Well-trained staff implement programs. Staff deliver services as designed, beginning with assessment and continuing through aftercare. Staff receive ongoing training and clinical supervision.

7. Address responsivity. Treatment services and staff are matched to the needs and abilities of the client, including motivation, personality characteristics, identity characteristics (age, gender, race, and ethnicity), and cognitive/intellectual abilities.

8. Plan for reintegration. Support offenders toward completion of treatment. Involve families, provide continuity in programming, and structured support during transitions in treatment, placement, and/or supervision level. Ensure client receive specific aftercare services (e.g. relapse prevention, safety plans, etc.) and ongoing support in home communities.

9. Evaluate programs and control quality. Measure relevant practices and provide feedback to ensure quality. Conduct evaluations to establish evidence of reduced recidivism and replicate programs that produce the desired outcomes.

10. Make certain programs are supported by qualified and involved leadership and staff, and community partners and stakeholders who understand program objectives.

(These principles are summarized from the Correctional Program Checklist developed and researched by Edward Letessa)


Correctional Program Checklist- What is it?

The evidence-based Correctional Program Ch​ecklist (CPC) is a tool developed to assess correctional intervention programs. It is used to ascertain how closely correctional programs meet known principles of effective intervention. The CPC is divided into two basic areas; content and capacity.

Drug and Treatment Courts: What are they?

Drug and Treatment Courts are judicially-supervised court dockets that strike the proper balance between the need to protect community safety and the need to improve public health and well-being; the need to engage in treatment and the need to hold people accountable for their actions.

Drug and Treatment Court Participants are:

  • Drug-addicted criminal defendants
  • Required to stay clean
  • Required to lead productive lives
  • Held accountable by the judge
  • Randomly tested for drug use
  • Receive rewards and sanctions 

Drug Court Resources:

Effective Curriculum for Youth Offenders

Effective curriculum and interventions for youth offenders have sound evidence of effectively targeting criminogenic risk and needs for youth offenders in various settings; addressing offender cross-cultural needs and other responsivity factors.

Adult criminal justice resources:

Criminal Justice Transition

Transition Partners:

Criminal Justice Partners:

**Bibliography of Criminal Justice Research 

Additional Resources