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Principle 1. Organizational Culture

Effective organizations have well-defined goals, ethical principles, and a history of efficiently responding to issues that have an impact on the treatment facilities. Staff cohesion, support for service training, self-evaluation, and use of outside resources also characterize the organization.

Principle 2. Program Implementation/Maintenance

Programs are based on empirically-defined needs and are consistent with the organization's values. Programs are fiscally responsible and congruent with stakeholders' values. Effective programs also are based on thorough reviews of the literature (i.e., meta-analyses), undergo pilot trials, and maintain the staff's professional credentials.

Principle 3. Management/Staff Characteristics

The program director and treatment staff are professionally trained and have experience working in offender treatment programs. Selection of staff is based on evidence of beliefs that are supportive of rehabilitation, relationship styles, and effective therapeutic skills.

Principle 4. Client Risk/Need Practices

Offender risk is assessed by psychometric instruments of proven predictive validity. The risk instrument includes a wide range of dynamic risk factors, or criminogenic needs (e.g., antisocial attitudes and values). The assessment also takes into account the responsivity of offenders to various styles and modes of service. Changes in risk level over time (e.g., three to six months) are routinely assessed in order to measure intermediate changes in risk/need levels that may occur as a result of planned interventions.

Principle 5. Program Characteristics

The program aims to change a wide variety of criminogenic needs (factors that predict recidivism) by using empirically valid behavioral, social learning, and cognitive behavioral therapies that are directed toward high-risk offenders. The ratio of rewards to punishers is at least 4:1. Relapse preventions strategies are available once offenders complete the formal treatment phase.

Principle 6. Core Correctional Practice

Program therapists engage in the following therapeutic practices: anti-criminal modeling, effective reinforcement and disapproval, problem-solving techniques, structured learning procedures for skill-building, effective use of authority, cognitive self-change, relationship practices, and motivational interviewing.

Principle 7. Inter-Agency Communication

The agency aggressively makes referrals and advocates for its offenders to ensure they receive high-quality services in the community.

Principle 8. Evaluation

The agency routinely conducts program audits, consumer satisfaction surveys, process evaluations of criminogenic need changes, and follow-ups of recidivism rates. The program effectiveness is evaluated by comparing its recidivism rates to those of risk-control groups using other treatments or of a minimal-treatment group.