In his blog, Jamie Markham, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Government, offers three key reasons why it’s important for judges and lawyers to be familiar with cognitive worksheets, using tools from the Carey Guides Impaired Driving and Maximizing Strengths to support his argument. First, Jamie explains that probationers are using worksheets…a lot…to help them learn new skills and change their behavior. Knowing the kind of work probationers are doing can help judges have more informed conversations with corrections professionals about the individuals they’re supervising. Second, keeping in mind the intent of the worksheets and corrections professionals’ work with justice-involved individuals, judges might steer away from probation conditions that unintentionally serve as barriers to what corrections professionals and their clients are trying to accomplish. Third, preliminary indications are that structured worksheets lead to better outcomes and reduced recidivism. To read Jamie’s blog, visit http://nccriminallaw.sog.unc.edu/probation-supervision-behind-scenes.
Recently, we corresponded with a court commissioner in Arizona who is using Carey Guide and BITS tools to address offender behavior. She is discussing individuals’ responses on the tools in an open courtroom so that other problem-solving court participants can learn from the experiences of those who completed the tools. This unique application of the Carey Guides and BITS points to the influential role that the court can play in helping people acquire the skills they need to be successful in their day-to-day lives.
We are interested in knowing what courts in other jurisdictions are doing to help offenders build skills. Please share your stories with us!