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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education

Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2011

IU School of Education center and state Department of Correction hold major conference

"Summit on Evidence-Based Practice and Risk Assessment" today and Friday in Indianapolis

May 19, 2011

Bloomington, Ind.-- Representatives of the Center for Evidence-Based Practice (CEBP) at Indiana University, the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) and community corrections personnel from around the state and region will be in Indianapolis today and Friday (May 19 and 20) for the "Summit of Evidence-Based Practice and Risk Assessment."

The event is the latest event to focus on evidence-based practice in community corrections, a method of evaluating practices in community corrections to determine which ones produce best outcomes. The CEBP has held a few conferences since forming in 2009 as a collaboration between the IDOC and the Center for Adolescent and Family Studies (CAFS) in the IU School of Education. It is an effort combining ongoing research into best practices with in-field assistance and professional development for those conducting community corrections programs.

"Our ongoing collaboration with the Indiana Department of Corrections is making significant progress in understanding what works in community corrections in Indiana and the ways in which these effective methods can be translated to community settings," said Tom Sexton, CAFS director. "What we now know is that there are certainly practices that can improve the outcomes of justice-based interventions in helping both adult and juvenile offenders reduce the likelihood of reoffence, improve their individual and family functioning, and do so in cost-effective ways that help reduce the burden on state and community budgets. By pursuing evidence-based practice, Indiana is moving into the forefront among other states in pioneering new and effective ways to help individuals, protect the community and save money."

The conference is co-sponsored by CEPB, IDOC, and the Indiana Judicial Center -- the agency of Indiana state government that provides training and technical assistance to probation departments and oversees the certification requirements for probation officers.

Sessions over the two days will focus on a variety of topics, including recidivism and using evidence-based practices in different areas of community corrections. Judge Roger K. Warren, president emeritus of the National Center for State Courts, will deliver a session called "Evidence-Based Sentencing to Improve Public Safety and Reduce Recidivism."

A concluding session on Friday will be a town-hall meeting titled "Enhancing Collaboration between Community Corrections and the Judiciary" and will include state Rep. Ralph M. Foley, R-Martinsville, chair of the Indiana House Judiciary Committee; Randy Koester; deputy commissioner for re-entry at the IDOC; as well as Indiana judges and probation officers.

"Our goal is to bring together the core players in the community justice system to help refocus on new and different ways of working," said Sexton. "The Center for Evidence Based Practices at IU helps by providing cutting edge research to help improve practice and Technical Assistance to local communities."

The Center for Adolescent and Family Studies works to bring scientifically based information to communities, families, and mental health and youth service professionals. CAFS disseminates best practices to professionals across the country. Last year, the National Institute for Mental Health awarded a $3.8 million grant to CAFS and Vanderbilt University to study methods to improve mental health services. The five-year project will examine how to improve mental health services for youth and families in community mental health settings through a project in Orange County, Calif.

More about the conference and the Center for Evidence-Based Practice and the conference is available on the CEBP homepage.