Communicating for Trust-Building

Communicating for Trust-Building
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-10-08
Unit 1Slide Deck: Communicating for Trust-Building
Unit 2Transcript - Communicating for Trust-Building
Unit 3Workbook - Communicating for Trust-Building
Unit 4Recording: Communicating for Trust-Building

Probation is that arm of the criminal justice system that ensures individuals who committed offenses in the past are going to be reintegrated back to the community as valuable, productive citizens. With this in mind, probation supervision is a critical component to ensure rehabilitation works and behavioral change takes place. The question becomes, how can we make effective positive changes on probation clients?

This session’s resource speakers are Emily LaGratta and James Newman. Emily is a justice reform consultant, innovator, and national subject matter expert on the topics of procedural justice and community justice. She has worked with criminal justice agencies across the country since 2009 developing relevant practitioner tools and resources. Meanwhile, James is the Senior Vice President of cFive, a solutions provider for community supervision agencies that aim to keep communities safe. He’s had a prolific career in the tech sphere building infrastructure and processes for criminal justice agency systems.

Specifics they delved into are:

  • The concept of trust as the foundation of probation supervision, without which all efforts will not be effective.
  • The proverbial trust bank, how to deposit and foster trust, and the inevitable withdrawals that deplete trust.
  • Procedural justice’s four key elements of respect, understanding, voice, and neutral decision making that is seen most responsible for driving trust and legitimacy if constantly demonstrated.
  • How communication helps with trust-building and specific tips on how to improve communication.
  • Counteracting mistrust by working on the four elements and other factors that are within our control.
  • Examples of how mistrust is unintentionally prompted within an environment.
  • Setting things straight on what trust-building is not and what it really is about.
  • Reworking language: How language, terminologies, and positioning of questions and statements impact trust-building.
  • The outcomes expected from constant practice of the four elements of procedural justice and other trust-building exercises.
  • Reviewing key interaction points and reflecting on how these influence clients’ level of trust in their probation supervisor.
  • The importance of feedback: Common perceptions about feedback and the valuable information that it can provide.
  • The most common technology-based feedback tools available.
    • The capabilities, limitations, and useful features of the different modes of feedback and what specifically to look for to help with your efforts in affecting behavioral change.
    • How these support an evidence-based approach to probation in general and trust-building with clients.

Questions from the audience were about:

  • Initiatives from other jurisdictions on making written court materials more conversational and redesigning other resources provided to clients.
  • Working with people who are not completely understanding the whole context of the message and how to build trust in these situations.
  • What it means to practice neutral decision making in interactions with probation clients.
  • Balancing the concept of consistency and neutrality with an individualized approach to behavior modifications.
  • Working with individuals with built-in mistrust or implicit bias by interrupting their beliefs.
  • Looking at technology as a supplemental tool for probation without having to completely replace face-to-face interaction and the value of this mode of supervision.



Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “It was great to hear about using technology as a form of communication but making sure that it works for you rather creating additional work for you.” — Syreeta
  • “Very informational; knowledgable presenters.” — Vivian
  • “Good tips regarding client surveys, modes of surveys; definitely getting us thinking.” – -Becca
  • “Already moved the Trust Building Framework Slide into my Pre-Workday Reading as a daily reminder. Thanks!” — Ray
  • “Great topic pertaining directly to my job as a supervising Probation Officer. I learned lots of valuable tools to build trust with my defendant, for instance, use simple language short sentences, and conversational style. Also interesting is the fact that feedback is needed in order to know that trust is being built. Very relevant to my job. I’m looking forward to future webinars about this topic.” — Marie
  • “I liked hearing about procedural justice and it’s elements and how they connect to behavior change language that is used in additional training for community supervision professionals. The information provided discussed how this relates to client interaction and I wondered how this could also be incorporated for relational and trust-building conversations between stakeholders. How could these concepts be used so that prosecutors, judges, and defense counsel build trust with the community supervision pros.” — Michael
  • “Wow, great training! I would definitely like to see additional training on this topic as I feel it is important to help our clients as much as we can.” — Leslie
  • “All of the information was really useful. I liked the focus on the written signs that are posted. We may probably don’t think about the way our clients interpret the signs, especially when that might be the first thing they see when coming into the court building. We have recently started using more family-friendly terms, and have changed our paperwork to say “child” instead of using the term “juvenile.” — Kristi
  • “I was relatively certain I knew the best formula or foundation for trust-building. Today I learned otherwise and I’m really glad that I did. Thank you for a really informative webinar.” — Kathy
  • “I love the idea of changing the verbiage/language in written communication. I have been developing programs for a correctional institution and think I will review the most recently developed programs and see what is in desperate need of changing! Thank you so much!” — Christie



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