Volume 3 Issue 2: December 2015 - Evidence based practice



Evidence based practice: What does it mean for us?

The Department’s frameworks for the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders are based on the evidence of ‘what works’. This issue of Practice contains a number of themes and principles that are well-recognised as being successful in the reduction of re-offending.

To acknowledge the Department’s 20th anniversary, Peter Johnston gives us some insight into how the Department’s approach to offender rehabilitation has evolved over the years. The article highlights many changes that have come into effect as a result of using evidence based research from New Zealand and around the world.

Principles such as targeting interventions towards offenders’ needs and aligning the intensity of these interventions with assessed risk are paramount in creating change. These principles of Risk and Need must, of course, be coupled with Responsivity. The articles by Kathy Foster, Nick Wilson, and Julie Sach and Rachel Smith illuminate the importance of these principles.

Previous editions of Practice have focused on collaboration and motivational interviewing, and we re-visit these themes in this issue. The article by Mike Howson, Alexandra Green, Gill Roper and Megan Stenswick explores how a multi-disciplinary team is working in action and the benefits this has for offenders. Jill Bowman presents a multi-disciplinary team in a different context, showing similar positive outcomes.

Motivational interviewing is internationally accepted as effective to encourage and maintain change. As highlighted by Nick Wilson and Glen Kilgour’s article, Marianne Bevan’s article, and the article by David Lewis, Kerry Consedine and Janice Hickey, building motivation in offenders is important if they are to change and sustain that change.

Woven throughout many of the articles is the evidence based principle of risk assessment, which is vital in mitigating risk. However, at times, mitigation of risk requires more than rehabilitation interventions; sometimes the public need extra protection. This issue is explored in the article by Michael Herder, who introduces us to public protection orders.

We also touch on how, as an organisation, we need to use people’s experience and knowledge to continue making a difference. Darren Johnson discusses learning cultures, and Uarnie More looks at our new way of recruiting the right people for the job.

I hope this issue of the journal enriches your practice, and encourages you to always act on the evidence.

Sarah Symonds

Director Case Management
NZ Department of Corrections