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The Massachusetts Trial Court departments that have a major role in sentencing have produced sentencing best practices documents. This is a significant achievement. Here is an article describing the key Best Practice Principles. They are the product of more than a year of hard work by broad-based committees and are extraordinary data-driven consensus best practices recommendations for judges and practitioners. Here is the Superior Court PDF including the Best Practice Principles and Commentary, and the website for all of the documents.
Here’s a National Institute of Corrections article that has many useful and well accepted concepts. These include Risk, Needs and Responsivity and other best practices. These are difficult to implement in a probation resource-poor environment. Also note on page 15 that the probation terms cited as examples of best practices are a year or shorter. The focus of the article is dosage probation which is supported by drilling down into the probationer’s circumstances and implementing zero-based probation condition setting; set only probation conditions for which the need/responsivity for which is firmly established.