The EPICS (Effective Practices in Community Supervision) model was developed in 2008 by researchers from the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute (UCCI). EPICS is research informed and heavily grounded in Social Learning Theory.
EPICS helps probation and parole officers (PPOs) apply principles of effective intervention and core correctional practices to their supervision practices. The model encourages the following principles:
- Frequent intensive training for corrections professionals
- Regular assessments of interactions between PPOs and their clients
- Emphasis on establishing a relationship and building rapport
PPOs engage in EPICS during every interaction with adults on their caseload. There are four components of an EPICS session.
- Check-In: Officer determines if the individual has any acute needs. Builds rapport and discusses compliance issues.
- Review: Focus on the skills discussed in the prior session. Determine successful the application of those skills. Troubleshoot any continued problems in the use of those skills.
- Intervention: Focus on a high criminogenic need area. Use a structured cognitive behavioral intervention.
- Homework: The individual practices new skills with a homework assignment. Instructions to follow before the next visit are given.
The EPICS model is not intended to replace existing programming and services. It adds to existing resources while more fully utilizing DCJ staff in the change process. It decreases the amount of staff time spent on monitoring individuals. It increases the amount of time spent on skill-building and supporting behavior change.
EPICS training begins with three days of skill based training. Training is followed up with continuous coaching.
Coaching allows PPO participants from the training to:
- Continue practicing use of the EPICS model and skills
- Receive individualized and group feedback on their use of the EPICS model and skills
- Raise questions and concerns they have about applying the model to real-life situations.
Follow-up coaching occurs after the EPICS training and usually lasts for 6 months. After this time, participants are coached individually based on their needs.
DCJ's Implementation of EPICS
DCJ began implementing EPICS in January 2011. To date, all DCJ officers and supervisors have been trained in using the model. Consistency and skill in use of the model has continued to increase. Integration into DCJ culture has improved over time. DCJ has added designated DCJ EPICS trainers and a specialized EPICS unit.
The EPICS unit is designed to further implementation of the model across the agency. The unit consists of:
- EPICS coaches: Active PPOs that handle case review and feedback to frontline officers. Coaches rotate every six months to allow continued growth and learning throughout the department.
- EPICS coders: Code and rate frontline officer performance based on session tapes or live sessions. Coders are typically recruited from the Portland State University Criminology & Criminal Justice Department.
- DCJ’s Research and Planning Unit: Provides analytical data to the team. Measures skill acquisition and overall EPICS proficiency.
Research and Publications about EPICS
The changing relationship between ex-criminals and their parole officers Governing Magazine