State of Nebraska
BOARD OF PAROLE
The Division of Parole Supervision has adopted the Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS) model from the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute (UCCI). EPICS offers a number of advantages to our agency, our officers, and our clients. In a big picture sense, EPICS is attractive because it is based on well accepted social science research. EPICS draws heavily from 2 well established Evidence Based Practices (EBP): The 8 Principles of Effective Intervention and Core Correctional Practices (CCP). CCP is a system developed by Dr. Edward Latessa and Dr. Christopher Lowenkamp to instruct corrections professionals in the use of cognitive behavioral interventions with their clients. The effectiveness of CCP is supported by dozens of studies. This research laid the foundation for the development of EPICS. EPICS takes the tried and true methods from CCP and applies them specifically to a community setting. The 8 Principles of Effective Intervention were published by the National Institute of Corrections. They are a set of principles that, when reflected in policy, procedure, and day-to-day work, best position an agency to reduce recidivism and change client behavior. EPICS reflects 6 of the 8 principles: Enhance Intrinsic Motivation; Target Interventions; Skill Train with Directed Practice; Increase Positive Reinforcement; Measure Relevant Processes; and Provide Measurement Feedback.
In a more practical sense, EPICS is exciting for us because it fills a need that has existed for many years. EPICS provides our officers with a systematic, structured way to conduct one-on-one meetings with our moderate and high risk clients. An EPICS session is divided into 4 parts: a check-in on how things have been going since the last meeting; a review of the last session and any homework or treatment progress; an intervention; and homework to complete for the next meeting. Even more importantly, EPICS provides our officers with proven tools to address client situations and improve the outcome of similar situations in the future. Most often, the root cause of criminal behavior, or even just general noncompliance can be traced to either a lack of motivation, problematic thinking, a skill deficit, or poor problem solving. The EPICS model has 4 basic interventions: The Cost Benefit Analysis; the Behavior Chain; Structured Skill Building; and Problem Solving. Officers are also trained to use Effective Authority, Effective Disapproval, and Effective Reinforcement. These skills are helpful in addressing noncompliance and highlighting success.
Our officers received their initial training in EPICS in January of 2017 and subsequently completed 6 months of follow on coaching with a master instructor from UCCI. Parallel to this, all of our supervisors were trained as EPICS coaches and they picked up where UCCI left off. We started off small and gradually built up our officers’ skill level before requiring that EPICS be used with all moderate and high risk clients in August of 2017. This was a massive change in how we conduct our day-to-day business and the road to full implementation was a long one. In September of 2017, 9 staff were selected to receive additional training to become EPICS trainers. This is a challenging process, requiring a week of training, observation by a master instructor from UCCI, and demonstrations of coding and coaching ability. Once the trainers complete their certification process in May of 2018, our agency will be fully self-sustaining on this critical piece of our goal to become an evidence-based agency. This puts us right on track with the normal timeline for an agency to fully implement Evidence Based Practices