Be the Bridge: Build Your Supervision Services Toolbox

Be the Bridge: Build Your Supervision Services Toolbox

August 12, 2022 | Simone Sawyer

Silhouette of a hiker on top of a mountain

My first blog, “Finding Balance in Supervision,” was my call to action for the justice system to refocus its efforts and create more individualized case plans for people on supervision. As I reread it now, I realize how lofty a goal that is from where I sit. As a third party, I only see the aftermath of a system that is learning to shift and grow with the resources it has. With this in mind, I created a Provider Outreach Guide to share an array of solutions that include both new and existing interventions.

At Evident Change we refuse to point out problems without offering solutions. Shifting from a focus on surveillance with limited service options to individualized service plans with a variety of service options is no easy task. This can be even harder for agencies experiencing staff shortages and/or budget restrictions; they have the best intentions for providing individualized services, but they struggle to keep up with the demands on their staff.

The struggle to bounce back from the “Great Resignation” is real, but it’s also a burden that agencies don’t have to bear alone. Community-based organizations, nonprofits, and other service providers are ready and willing to help—all they need is a bridge. Connections to new providers can help alleviate some of the burden, and it can help change the trajectory of people’s lives and improve outcomes across the board.

After reading the National Institute of Justice’s Desistance-Focused Criminal Justice Practice, I was inspired to put my outreach experience to work. I created a Provider Outreach Guide that both justice and social service agencies can use to expand their service array and connect with new and existing service providers. This guide includes research and evidence-based guidance for:

  • Practicing advocacy in supervision
  • Balancing recidivism (capturing relapses into criminal behavior)
  • Desistance (measuring a person’s progress toward ending their criminal career)
  • Desistance-focused interventions
  • Measurements for desistance
  • Guidance for outreach planning and capacity building

There is no one-size-fits-all method or solution when it comes to changing the trajectory of people’s lives. We all come from a variety of backgrounds with diverse needs, perspectives, and levels of willingness to change. Many states now require assessments to help agency staff understand individuals’ needs that contribute to system involvement. These assessments also gauge the risk of people re-entering the system. However, not much guidance is given on what to do next. That is where the Provider Outreach Guide comes in. This tool guides agencies in their journey to create a more well-rounded service array to meet the needs of the people they serve.

Simone Sawyer headshot   Simone Sawyer is a CAIS™/JAIS™ Program Associate at Evident Change.