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The Neglected "R" - Responsivity and the Federal Offender

"Barriers that could impede the successful implementation of a supervision program (e.g., the responsivity principle) are frequently discussed under the risk, needs, and responsivity rubric, but have been historically under-researched. This paper describes an initial empirical investigation of the presence of responsivity factors among offenders under federal post-conviction supervision. From this analysis, we know that probation officers identified 28% of the nearly 20,000 offenders placed on federal supervision between November 2013 and March 2014 as having responsivity problems serious enough to constitute major barriers to supervision interventions. The most common responsivity factors identified are inadequate transportation and mental health. Offenders classified into the highest PCRA risk category were substantially more likely to have responsivity problems than their lower risk counterparts. These and other findings involving the presence of responsivity among federally supervised offenders will be further explored in this paper." Findings are presented for: presence of responsivity factors for offenders under federal supervision; relationship between responsivity factors and offender risk and supervision levels; investigating offenders identified with "other" responsivity factors; relationship between offender demographic characteristics and responsivity factors; and variation in the presence of responsivity across the federal judicial districts.