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Use of Engagement Skills in Community Corrections for High-Risk Offenders

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 77 Issue: 3 Dated: December 2013 Pages: 21-25
Natalie Pearl; Karyn Milligan; Michael Hall; Mack Jenkins
Date Published
December 2013
5 pages

This research examined the effectiveness of engagement-focused supervision for high-risk offenders.


The primary purpose of this research was to determine the benefit to community corrections agencies in the use of engagement-focused supervision for high risk offenders. The study found that officers who received training in engagement-focused supervision felt that the training should have been more hands-on and less theoretical and that the skills that were learned in the classroom did not translate well to the work environment. The study also found that officers who received the training immediately after being hired were not yet ready to use the new skills, and that officers assigned to institutions found the skills to be of limited use. A significant number of officers also reported that were already skilled in the use of these techniques and that the training did not provide any new concepts or ideas. Data for the study were obtained from informal focus groups of deputy, senior, and supervising probation officers who were responsible for community corrections supervision of offenders in San Diego County, CA. Discussion in the focus groups centered on three areas: how the training impacted the officer; how the officer used the new skills during office visits; and how the officer used the skills during field visit. The findings from the focus groups were used to develop a set of recommendations aimed at bridging the gap between training and implementation of the engagement model.