Implementing Policy/Practice Reform in U.S. Corrections Agencies

Danielle S. Rudes

As organizations move scientific, scholarly research into work environments, our knowledge of implementation processes grows. However, scholars still know little about how managers and staff acquire knowledge about evidence-based or evidence-informed practices (EBPs/EIPs), how much they understand them and how they are used. This study examines how organizational actors understand, negotiate and implement reforms including EBPs in community corrections agencies (adult and juvenile probation/parole within federal, state and local systems). Using data from over 1000 hours of qualitative observations of and interviews with 114+ community corrections senior and middle managers and street-level staff in adult and juvenile probation/parole and problem solving courts this project extends current scholarship by combining focusing explicitly on definitions, sources, understandings and uses of scientific and scholarly research for practice and policy decisions. It also expands existing data by analyzing in-depth, follow up interviews with community corrections workers to elicit detailed narratives specifically about how community corrections managers and staff: 1) define EBPs; 2) seek/gather information regarding EBPs, 3)understand EBPs and their role in their agency, and 4) adapt/adopt EBPs to fit within existing agency policies and practices. Ultimately, this research will enhance existing knowledge about the implementation, dissemination, translation and sustainability of reforms within community supervision settings.

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