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Date of Graduation

Fall 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Jack H. Presbury

J. Edson McKee

Lennis G. Echterling


The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) is attempting to change the practice of working with offenders placed on probation and parole to effect a reduction in the rate of recidivism. The VADOC’s proposal is to get the probation and parole officers to become “change agents” in motivating the offender toward pro-social behavior using evidence-based practices and Motivational Interviewing (MI). The purpose of this paper is to describe the ways in which organizations attempt change and explores the reasons for the resistance displayed by the probation and parole officers. The author argues that the VADOC should employ a second-order change and address the probation and parole officers in the same manner that the VADOC expects the offender to be addressed. The paper incorporates the Stages of Change and the Piagetian terms of assimilation and accommodation to formulate a process that could minimize the probation and parole officer’s resistance and allow the acceptance and implementation of the evidence-based practices.

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