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83 Fed. Probation 3 (2019)

handle is hein.journals/fedpro83 and id is 1 raw text is: 
June 2019                                                                                                                       3


          Heather Toronjo
George Mason University


America's community corrections systems must reflect and embody the normative values
                    of the wider democracy in which they reside:

    We will not achieve these ideals through piecemeal tweaks to the current system,
       no matter how rigorous the science or how well intentioned the reformers.

                   -Executive Session on Community Corrections


HUMAN SERVICE FIELDS including
social work, psychology, nursing, and teach-
ing increasingly embrace (at least nominally)
a continuous and experiential approach
called coaching to improving staff use of evi-
dence-based practices (Archer, 2010; Barbee,
Christensen, Antle, Wandersman, & Cahn,
2011; Ervin, 2005; Falender & Shafranske,
2014; Joyce & Showers, 2002; Kadushin &
Harkness, 2014). And implementation schol-
ars recognize coaching as a core driver of
effective change efforts in human service
organizations (Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, &
Friedman, 2005). Coaching is an intentional,
ongoing, on-the-job process that differs from
traditional one-shot or classroom-based
training. Organizations that effectively use
coaching support the effort with structures
such as observations and feedback pro-
cesses and a coaching service delivery plan
(Kampa-Kokesch & Anderson, 2001; Kreflow
& Bartholomew, 2010; Milne & Reiser,
2017). They may use peer coaches (Joyce &
Showers, 2002), a supervisor coaching model
(Kadushin & Harkness, 2014), or outside
clinical supervisors (Falender & Shafranske,
2014), but variations in approaches aside, the
focus of coaching remains on building specific
skills and improving competency. Despite
the proven efficacy of coaching to improve


skill use (Jones, Woods, & Guillaume, 2016;
Theeboom, Beersma, & Vianen, 2014), many
human service fields struggle with the same
barriers to implementing best practices. These
include poor support from the organization,
too few resources, non-supportive organi-
zational culture, and poor staff perceptions
of the practices (Aarons & Palinkas, 2007;
Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace,
2005; Mota da Silva, da Cunha Menezes
Costa, Garcia, & Costa, 2015; Mullen, Bledsoe,
& Bellamy, 2008). Decades of research on
implementing evidence-based practices in
these human service fields makes it clear that
effectively integrating EBPs must combine
staff training with organizational develop-
ment efforts including shifting climate and
culture (Aarons, Ehrhart, Farahnak, & Sklar,
2014; Glisson & Schoenwald, 2005; Mullen et
al., 2008). One method of shifting culture is to
develop the deontological argument for why
an organization does what it does. In other
words, practices cannot be simply a means
to an end, but should be guided by values
that help determine their essential rightness.
This article argues that the evidence-based
movement in community corrections must
be accompanied by such a shift and that
coaching, so widely heralded in other human
service fields as a method for improving


competency, is one vehicle to help fulfill this
larger ideal of organizational development.
   In the field of community corrections, the
Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model has
introduced human service into the justice
context, and change efforts in the field have
centered on implementing the RNR mod-
el's various components (Chadwick, Dewolf,
& Serin, 2015; Taxman & Belenko, 2012;
Taxman, Cropsey, Young, & Wexler, 2007).
The RNR model is considered the standard
for what officers should work on with indi-
viduals on their caseloads (e.g., criminogenic
needs) and how they should do it (e.g., core
correctional practices). Table 1 details the
15 principles comprising the RNR model.
The 15th principle notes the importance
of coaching (referred to as clinical supervi-
sion). RNR architects James Bonta and Don
Andrews, influenced by a background in
clinical psychology, recognized the impor-
tance of coaching in developing practitioner
competence in these types of human service
skills. Thus, all current RNR-based supervi-
sion models (e.g., STICS, STARR, EPICS,
SUSTAIN) and their various offshoots aim to
improve officer adherence to the RNR prin-
ciples through a coaching mechanism (Bonta
et al., 2011; Chadwick et al., 2015; Labrecque
& Smith, 2017; Robinson et al., 2012).

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