What are Evidence-Based Programs (EBP)

Evidence-based programs refers to using programs that have been shown to work. Rather than relying on a provider’s gut instincts or anecdotes about offenders who have turned their lives around, evidence-based programs (EBP) rely on research that demonstrates a program is effective.

In the corrections system, evidence-based programs use research and the best available data to guide policy and practice decisions. By focusing on programs shown to be effective through research, we can expect to improve outcomes for offenders and their victims.

This approach requires rigorous quality assurance and evaluation to ensure that evidence-based programs are implemented with fidelity, and that new programs are evaluated to determine their effectiveness. A commitment to evidence-based programs requires defined outcomes that can be measured, such as recidivism and victim satisfaction.

Legislative Direction

As a result of the Commission on Sentencing’s recommendations, the 2017 Legislature passed Senate Bill 59, directing the Department of Corrections to implement evidence-based programs. MCA 53-1-211 requires the department’s Quality Assurance Office to:

  • adopt an evidence-based program evaluation tool that measures how closely correctional programs meet the known principles of effective intervention
  • conduct regular evaluations of programs operated by or under a contract with the department
  • develop and maintain a list of evidence-based treatment curriculums to be utilized in programs operated by or under contract with the department, with priority being placed on adopting treatment curriculums that are in the public domain and evidence-based

Approved Programs

Program Description Target Population
Anger Management for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Clients Program was developed by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is a cognitive behavioral modality. Concepts and skills learned in a group setting. Approved for adult males in a secure setting
Beyond Trauma and Helping Women Recover Both programs are gender responsive, cognitive behavioral programs that were studied together when they were established as evidence based. Beyond Trauma is the trauma curriculum and Helping Women Recover addresses substance use issues. Approved for adult females in a secure setting
Beyond Violence A cognitive behavioral, gender responsive, anger management course. Approved for adult females in a secure setting
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills group Dialectical Behavioral Skills group focus’ on four sets of skills; interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and mindfulness. This cognitive behavioral approach offers practical advice on how best to deal with frequently encountered problems and helps a person manage them self and their emotions, interact with others in a healthy manner and tolerate stressful times. Approved for adult females and juvenile males in secure settings and adult males in a community setting.
Interactive Journaling A cognitive program that is open ended and flexible for changing populations. Because journaling programs are found to be on the lower end of effective evidence-based programs, added skill building and role playing are required. Approved for adult males in both a community and secure setting
Living in Balance An aftercare and relapse prevention program that can be delivered individually or in group sessions. It is approved for continuity of care following substance use treatment. Approved for the adult males in a community setting
Matrix Model A substance use program that focuses on the disease model and consists of relapse prevention, educational and support groups, individual sessions and substance use testing. Approved for the adult males in a community setting
Marijuana Awareness A cognitive restructuring and psychoeducational program developed by the American Community Corrections Institute (ACCI) that meets requirements for minors found in possession of drugs or alcohol or for adults who require a .5 level of care. Approved for the adult males in a community setting
Moral Reconation Therapy: Bringing Peace to Relationships A program used exclusively with perpetrators of domestic violence that is used to meet court requirements for Partner Family Member Assault convictions Approved for adult males in a community setting
Moral Reconation Therapy: Coping with Anger A cognitive behavioral program specific to managing feelings of anger and frustration. Approved for adult males in a community setting
Moral Reconation Therapy: How to Escape your Prison A cognitive behavioral program specific to criminal thinking, needs, and substance abuse Approved for adult males in a community setting
Moral Reconation Therapy: Untangling Relationships A cognitive behavioral program specific to confronting issues of codependency, enabling, manipulation and dependent and/or dysfunctional relationships. Approved for adult males in a community setting
Moral Reconation Therapy: Winning the Invisible War (for veterans) A cognitive behavioral program specific to veterans. Approved for adult male veterans in a community setting
Moving On A general, cognitive behavioral program that is gender responsive and trauma sensitive. Approved for adult females in a secure setting
A New Direction: Criminal and Addictive Thinking Modules approved: Criminal and Addictive Thinking and Co-occurring Disorders
A comprehensive, CBT program that trains offenders with SUD and co-occurring disorders to challenge their thinking in order to change their criminal and addictive behavior.
Approved for adult males in a secure setting
Prime for Life A psychoeducational program that is endorsed by the State of Montana for impaired driving offenders. Approved for adult males in a community setting
Seeking Safety A cognitive behavioral, substance use program that also addresses varying degrees of trauma. Approved for adult females in a secure setting and adult males in a community setting
Thinking for a Change A general, cognitive behavioral program created in conjunction with the National Institute of Corrections. Approved for both males and females in a secure setting
Victim Impact: Listen and Learn A program created by the Office for Victims of Crime Training & Technical Assistance Center (OVCTTAC) designed to assist offenders to take accountability and realize the impact their criminal choices made on the lives of their victims. Approved for both males and females, adult and juveniles in secure or community setting
White Bison Medicine Wheel: The Red Road to Wellbriety A holistic well-being and treatment program that incorporates traditional Native American practices. Approved for adult males in a community setting