NIC Logo SJI Logo BJA Logo CEPP Logo

Special Topics

Managing Change

Getting It Right: Collaborative Problem Solving For Criminal Justice. Silver Spring, MD: Center for Effective Public Policy, 2006.

The guide is designed to assist criminal justice policymakers, practitioners, and others interested in learning about and engaging in a criminal justice system planning process. The guide draws on the lessons learned from the ten jurisdictions who participated in the Criminal Justice System Project and many other policy planning efforts supported by the project’s funder, the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections. The guide describes a systemic planning process that policymakers can engage in and provides tools and exercises that policy teams can use to establish and maintain their own criminal justice planning efforts. The guide is organized around fourteen core principles essential to a successful planning effort. The guide includes case studies, examples of materials developed by participating jurisdictions, references, and other hands–on materials that jurisdictions can use in their own planning efforts.

Implementing Evidence–Based Principles in Community Corrections: Leading Organizational Change and Development. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Corrections, Community Corrections Division, and Boston, MA: Crime and Justice Institute, 2004.

This document describes organizational development concepts and strategies that foster organizational change in the context of a criminal justice model. Sections of this publication include: the application of evidence–based principles, organizational development, and collaboration; organizational case management and the principles of assessment, intervention, and monitoring/measurement; fostering and developing effective leadership; assessing the strengths and weaknesses of criminal justice organizations; and a brief review of literature about collaboration.

Mastering the Art of Creative Collaboration. Hargrove, R. New York: NY: McGraw–Hill, 1998.

The author, an authority on the concept of collaboration, suggests that “inspirational leaders of the future will be those who can draw from the vast diversity of people with different specialties and allow their seemingly disparate perspectives to interact, collide, and germinate into truly unique and creative ideas.” This book, which focuses on the applicability of this theory to any field, also notes that “ideas drawn from creative collaboration will change the way we view …law enforcement…government…and the world.”

Leading Change, Kotter, J. P. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1996.

This book describes an eight–stage process for transforming organizations and instituting successful change. The recommended process calls for a strong leader to guide change in eight stages: establishing a sense of urgency; creating a guiding coalition; developing a vision and strategy; communicating the vision; empowering employees for broad–based action; generating short–term wins; consolidating gains and producing more change; and anchoring new approaches in the organization’s culture. While this book is directed toward corporate endeavors, its core messages and strategies are suitable for not–for–profit and governmental entities interested in developing and sustaining effective leadership and change.

Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference. Chrislip, D., and Larson, C. San Francisco, CA: Jossey–Bass Publishers, 1994.

In Collaborative Leadership, Chrislip and Larson cite several exemplary cases of successful collaborative endeavors between governmental entities and the community. Each of these examples, which applies collaboration to different sectors of public policy, demonstrates: a full commitment to a common goal that is mutually agreed upon; clearly defined roles and operating procedures; open communication among collaborators; the sharing of resources; and mutually beneficial results that participants agree could not be achieved by a single organization.

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Senge, P. New York: NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1990.

The Fifth Discipline is a seminal text on issues of leadership and organizational change. The author describes a framework centered around values of personal mastery (continually clarifying personal vision), mental models (understanding how deeply ingrained assumptions influence how we understand the world), building a shared vision (a collaborative creation of goals and vision shared by team members), team learning (creation of opportunities for individuals to collaborate), and systems thinking (a view of the system as a whole conceptual framework providing connections between members). Drawing on concepts from science, spirituality, and business, Senge details what a learning organization is and why it is critical to the growth and health of organizations. He also provides examples of how organizations can move toward a shared vision, team learning, and openness.

Offender Population Management

Targeted Community Action Planning (TCAP) Toolkit. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 2003.

This toolkit helps communities to identify and respond to their most critical juvenile justice and delinquency prevention needs. It encourages collaboration among juvenile justice and social service systems and the community in order to address issues related to juvenile crime. The toolkit provides information about how to form a planning committee, create a viable action plan, and implement and evaluate a collaboratively based change effort.

Guidelines for Developing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. Cushman, R. Washington D.C.: National Institute of Corrections, 2002.

This document provides guidelines for establishing a local criminal justice coordinating committee. This guide will help appointed and elected government officials and executives from jurisdictions of all sizes create or strengthen local committees. It should be of particular interest to citizens and public officials who sense that more collaborative and better coordinated decisionmaking processes can improve the local criminal justice system significantly.

Jail Crowding: Understanding Jail Population Dynamics. Cunniff, M. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Corrections, 2002.

The author of this document calls upon local criminal justice agencies to expand their traditionally narrow focus beyond their own individual agencies when analyzing jail overcrowding. The author encourages collaboration among agencies in solving jail crowding, noting that efforts that fail to do so will have an underdeveloped or nonexistent criminal justice systems perspective, and will ultimately obscure the impact of policies and procedures on the jail. The author recommends that external governmental officials (e.g., county commissioners and executives or legislators) ask discerning questions of criminal justice officials, while simultaneously making it clear that jail crowding should be treated as a systemwide problem for which every agency must take responsibility.

Preventing Jail Crowding: A Practical Guide, 2nd Edition. Cushman, R. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Corrections, 2002.

The author posits that the key to preventing jail crowding lies in sharing essential information (including admission and length–of–stay data) with other criminal justice officials and leaders as well as stakeholders in local government. The document suggests that encouraging a collaborative working relationship in this fashion is critical to preventing jail crowding, as these outside entities “control the policies and practices that determine jail admissions and length of stay.” Sheriffs and jail administrators are encouraged to form systemwide, multi–disciplinary criminal justice coordinating committees (or strengthen those that may already exist) in an effort to work collaboratively to end jail crowding, which should be viewed as a problem for the entire justice system, not solely the jail itself.

The Collaborative Approach to Sex Offender Management. Silver Spring, MD: Center for Sex Offender Management, 2000.

This document explores why collaboration is essential to the effective management of sex offenders, and discusses the benefits and challenges of a collaborative approach. It also describes how jurisdictions can promote shared responsibility among key policymakers and practitioners for decisionmaking regarding offender management issues.

The Intermediate Sanctions Handbook: Tools and Experiences for Policymakers. Silver Spring, MD: Center for Effective Public Policy, 1993.

Under a grant from the State Justice Institute (SJI), the Intermediate Sanctions Project worked directly with judges, prosecutors, defenders, community corrections personnel, law enforcement, and legislators to help them reach a common understanding about effective sentencing practices that make more appropriate use of intermediate sanctions. A resulting text, The Intermediate Sanctions Handbook: Tools and Experiences for Policymakers, was developed as a resource for participating teams and others interested in replicating this work. Examining the sentencing process, formulating articulated goals for achieving justice in individual cases, and developing policies and plans to achieve those goals were integral aspects of the work. Underlying all of the suggestions in the Handbook is the value that multi–disciplinary, collaborative teams be formed and maintained in order to address these issues.

Probation and Parole Violations

Graduated Responses, in The Report of the Re–Entry Policy Council: Charting the Safe and Successful Return of Prisoners to the Community. New York, NY: Council of State Governments, 2005.–graduated–responses.php

This section of the Report of the Re–Entry Policy Council discusses the importance of graduated sanctions in response to violation behavior. Several examples of jurisdictions that have in place strong systems of graduated sanctions are highlighted. In order to help alleviate pressure from the community to incarcerate all probationers or parolees as a result of violation behavior, the report suggests that corrections departments and court officials should join forces with community members in “developing and cultivating public support for policies and procedures that recognize long–term re–incarceration as a sanction that should only be considered as one among a host of possible options, and generally, as a sanction of last resort.” The authors suggest that community members and community–based programs can be helpful in a number of ways, including establishing appropriate intermediate sanctions and administering sanctions for non–compliance and rewards for compliance. Additionally, “community members can join other community representatives, including law enforcement officials, to create a system of responses to parole and probation violations which actively engages individual community members in decision–making in individual cases.” The report also calls upon corrections agencies to collaborate with victims and victim service providers to ensure that their rights are protected and that they have access to information that will help to protect their safety.

Parole Violations Revisited: A Handbook on Strengthening Parole Practices for Public Safety and Successful Offender Transition. Burke, P. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Corrections, 2004.

This handbook proposes that change does not simply happen because one individual or a few individuals think it is a good idea, but rather that it requires the joint effort of individuals and agencies with similar ends in mind. It advocates for a systematic planning process for change, which involves developing an interdisciplinary team composed of policymakers who are supported at various levels by staff working teams. The handbook suggests that teams gain an informed understanding of the issues at hand and involve essential agencies in the work. These agencies may include: the parole board, the agency responsible for supervision of parolees once they are released, the agency responsible for correctional institutions, and perhaps state agencies providing substance abuse, housing, employment, or mental health services, victim services providers, and victim advocates. The handbook also provides some guidance about how to start this process. The accompanying Web site provides a web–based version of the handbook described above and features a download center that enables the viewer to download the entire handbook and all of its appendices.

Responding to Parole and Parole Violations: A Handbook to Guide Local Policy Development, Carter, M. (Ed.). Washington D.C.: National Institute of Corrections, 2001.

This handbook was developed to assist practitioners and policymakers in responding to violations in ways that enhance the effectiveness of probation and parole supervision and improve community safety. The handbook places a strong emphasis on collaboration as a means to effectively address violation behavior. The handbook will help guide interested jurisdictions in: forming a team of key individuals to work together on probation and parole violation responses; examining the extent and impact of violations on the criminal justice system and the community; understanding violations in the context of the goals of supervision; establishing clear goals for the violations process; formulating policy to guide the violations process; developing methods to carry out this policy; examining the range of responses to violation behavior and determining how best to use or expand that range when necessary and practical; and monitoring the impact of these policies.

Policy–Driven Responses to Probation and Parole Violations. Burke, P. Silver Spring, MD: Center for Effective Public Policy, 1997.

In the course of reworking violation policy, agencies are rethinking supervision and, in some instances, re–inventing themselves. In the same way that law enforcement agencies have begun to redefine their work as community or problem–oriented policing, probation and parole agencies are beginning to see themselves as being about the business of community justice, and are beginning to view the community as their customer and the safety of the community as their priority. To that end, actively collaborating to assure community safety, mobilizing community resources to break the cycle of addiction and violence, facilitating restoration of the community through community service and victim restitution, and partnering with law enforcement and other community agencies may represent the most promise for a greater sense of community security and safety.

Problem–Solving Courts

Strategies for Court Collaboration with Service Communities. Bureau of Justice Assistance. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, 2002.

This document acknowledges that many court cases (including divorce, custody, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, drunken driving, guardianship, drug possession, and a variety of misdemeanor quality–of–life offenses) involve individuals with various and co–occurring medical, psychological, and social problems. Because these cases are increasing in number and pose particular challenges for courts (traditional court processes were designed to make specific decisions rather than address the underlying social and psychological problems that lead these cases to court), decisions that courts craft based on law and precedent are not always effective. In response, courts are experimenting with a variety of innovative programs that focus on closer collaboration with the service communities in their jurisdictions. These programs vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and by different types of cases within a jurisdiction, but they all stress a collaborative, multidisciplinary, problem–solving approach to address the underlying issues of individuals appearing in court.

A Leadership Guide to Statewide Court and Community Collaboration. Rottman, D., Efkeman, H., Hansen, R., and Stump, S. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts, 2002.

This guide serves as a companion piece to the 1998 Guide to Court and Community Collaboration, also developed by the National Center for State Courts. It is directed at those considering and experimenting with local collaborations. The guide also highlights the experiences of three states (California, Massachusetts, and New York) who are pioneering ambitious statewide efforts to support and guide local court and community collaboratives.

Courts Reaching Out to Their Communities: A Handbook for Creating and Enhancing Court and Community Collaboration. San Francisco, CA: Judicial Council of California, 1999.

This handbook is intended to introduce the many concepts associated with court and community collaboration (e.g., court community outreach, community–focused courts, community courts, restorative justice, etc.) and the steps necessary to ensure a general community orientation to the courts. The programs described in this handbook can be used by all courts—trial and appellate, state and federal—to varying degrees depending on the nature of the program and the prerogatives of the courts. The handbook includes ideas, resources, and tools for: communicating with the community effectively; building productive relationships with partners and volunteers; addressing community problems through justice initiatives; identifying ethical considerations regarding the involvement of the judiciary; and addressing local needs with creativity and innovation in a changing environment.

Experiential Learning: Implications for Drug Court Leadership and Management. Murrell, P., and Murrell, S. The Court Manager 14 (3), 1999.

This document sets forth collaboration and cooperation as the foundations of successful drug courts, and notes that given the historically adversarial nature of our criminal justice system, collaboration and cooperation may not be skills that judges and other court personnel normally use. This article describes how using a framework such as experiential learning and learning styles can provide a useful, simple, and non–threatening way to introduce people to individual differences in learning. The author believes that drug courts potentially represent the epitome of a learning organization—a knowledge intensive institution in which every interaction can be a teaching and learning event, and that leaders who can support that kind of growth will not only contribute to the success of drug courts, but also to the success of the community.

A Guide to Court and Community Collaboration. Rottman, D., Efkeman, H., and Casey, P. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts, 1998.

Eight collaborations between courts and communities, along with the experiences of another dozen sites, are reflected in this guide. These collaborations typically address specific parts of a trial court’s subject matter jurisdiction: domestic violence, drug use, drunk driving, handgun violence, juvenile delinquency, and public nuisance crime. Specific resources and information are provided.

Defining Drug Courts: The Key Components. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1997.

This document provides an overview of the key components of a successful drug court, including an emphasis on a comprehensive planning process with a collaborative team that includes as many perspectives as possible.

Drug courts combine intensive supervision, mandatory drug testing, escalating sanctions, and treatment to help substance–abusing offenders break the cycle of addiction—and the crime that often accompanies it. In order to be effective, drug court judges must work closely with prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, and drug treatment specialists to require appropriate treatment for offenders, monitor their progress, and ensure the delivery of other services, like education or job skills training, to help offenders remain crime and drug free.


The Report of the Re–Entry Policy Council: Charting the Safe and Successful Return of Prisoners to the Community. New York, NY: Council of State Governments, 2005.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) established the Re–Entry Policy Council (RPC) to assist policymakers and practitioners seeking to make the transition from prison or jail to the community safe and successful. Together, the members of the RPC developed bipartisan recommendations that policymakers and practitioners can use to improve the likelihood that adults released from prison or jail will avoid crime and become productive, healthy members of families and communities.

The report addresses the entire criminal justice continuum and recognizes the roles that are played by those practitioners inside correctional facilities as well those who are based in the community. Throughout the Report, collaborations among nontraditional partners are encouraged, as is the notion that the problems faced by reentering adults are not merely the problems of corrections or community corrections, but also of public health workers, housing providers, state legislators, workforce development staff, and others. Indeed, the solutions often lie in redefining stakeholders’ missions and sharing responsibility in carrying them out.

Probation, Parole, and Reentry, in Faith Community and Criminal Justice Collaboration: A Collection of Effective Programs. Washington, D.C.: National Crime Prevention Council, 2005.–upload/ncpc/files/4_probation.pdf

This chapter highlights ways in which faith communities, social service agencies, local employers, community volunteers, and law enforcement officials can collaborate to aid in the successful transition of offenders as they return to the community after a period of incarceration. Featured examples include programs that target high–risk young offenders to assist them with reentry; a faith–based organization that employs certain ex–offenders to provide social services for elderly residents of public housing; a faith–based initiative that provides volunteers to aid ex–offenders with problems such as housing, employment, and obtaining vital documents; job placement programs for ex–offenders; and faith–based pre–release and aftercare mentors who provide a support system for offenders on parole.

A Community Response Manual: The Victim’s Role in Offender Reentry. Lexington, KY: American Probation and Parole Association, 2001.


Partnerships that address offender reentry can provide collaborative opportunities to enhance public safety by focusing on: offenders’ accountability and successful reintegration into their families and communities; victim assistance; safety for neighborhoods and communities; and enhancing and strengthening the community supervision of offenders.

This manual suggests that the successful reentry of offenders into the community requires collaboration and commitment from literally anyone concerned about public safety, as well as a commitment to ensuring that victims' rights are consistently enforced and victim services are consistently provided. It requires communities—including crime victims—to be open to, and involved in, partnerships that provide a wide range of opportunities for offenders to return to the community. It also suggests that offenders must be held accountable for their actions while simultaneously being monitored and provided with supportive services to reduce their chance of recidivism and become productive and responsible members of society.

Collaboration for Successful Prisoner Reentry: The Role of Parole and the Courts. Burke, P. Corrections Management Quarterly 5 (3): 11–22, 2001.

Because many prisoners currently reentering American communities will commit a new crime after they are released, costs in victimization and reincarceration will be staggering. This article calls upon criminal justice and other stakeholders to proactively address this issue by: casting reentry as a clear and elevating goal; using evidence–based knowledge regarding what works with offenders; building upon the work of paroling authorities over the last 20 years in developing policy frameworks to guide reentry; and recognizing collaboration among the full panoply of criminal justice policymakers and practitioners—including paroling authorities and courts—as a key strategy.