National Center for State Courts (NCSC) (Williamsburg, VA)
This study examines the effectiveness of the Red Hook Community Justice Center (RHCJC) in tackling multiple problems that contribute to crime, public safety, and quality of life in the local community. This report has chapters covering: the theoretical foundations and study context; evaluation data and methods; planning RHCJC; organizational structure and staffing; community and youth programs—Housing Court and the Housing Resource Center, youth programs, community programs and public outreach, walk-in services, and resident and offender population perceptions of RHCJC; criminal court processing and sanctioning practices at Red Hook—multi-jurisdictional courtroom, arraignments, criminal case outcomes, summons cases, and offender perceptions of procedural justice; drug treatment cases; Family Court; impact on recidivism and arrests; cost efficiency analysis; and conclusions and observations--principle findings, lessons for policy and practice, implementing community court principles in centralized misdemeanor courts, and priorities for future research on community courts. Appendixes include: Propensity Score Modeling, Criminal Court; Sampling and Propensity Score Matching, Family Court; Impact of Drug Treatment on Two-Year Re-arrests for Specific Charge Types; Change Point Analysis of Red Hook Arrest Series; and Ethnographic Report—The Red Hook Community Justice Center. “This comprehensive evaluation of the Red Hook Community Justice Center demonstrates that a community court can reduce recidivism and achieve other key criminal justice objectives by improving upon the traditional model for processing misdemeanor offenses. Moreover, the evaluation demonstrates that those improvements can be cost-effective from the viewpoint of the taxpayer. These are impressive findings” (p. 189).
This document provides “conceptual information and practical tools to develop or enhance” an effective “proactive community supervision approach for domestic violence cases” (p.1). Ten Chapters follow a summary: what difference it makes; fundamentals for community corrections domestic violence practice -- types, causes, perpetrators, victims, and the justice system response to domestic violence; legal issues in the supervision of domestic violence offenders -- legal definitions, jurisdictional issues, civil protection orders, federal and state firearms laws, conditions of probation and pretrial release, enforcement and revocation, confidentiality, and related special issues; culture and domestic violence; core goals for implementing the guidelines -- goals (i.e., victim safety and autonomy, offender accountability, and offender intervention), autonomy and empowerment, practice principles, and inadvisable practices for domestic violence case supervision; guidelines for professional and ethical practice; guidelines for case investigation; guidelines for community supervision and enforcement; guidelines for victim safety and autonomy; and guidelines for batterer intervention programs.
“Using effective strategies to keep probationers and parolees crime- and drug-free and curb their revocation rates is among the most important issues facing our community corrections supervision system … Based on solid research, two key strategies that many agencies have begun to implement are the use of swift, certain, and proportionate sanctions to respond to violations, and the use of incentives to promote and reinforce compliance among probationers and parolees” (p. 1-2). This report does a great job in explaining how to effectively combine both sanctions and incentives in probation and parole supervision. These tactics are: consider legal and constitutional issues; apply proper ration of incentives to sanctions; collaborate with key stakeholders; develop structured response grids using key principles; and evaluate program fidelity and outcomes. Also included are a “Response Grid Template” and a “Data Collection Elements” list.
"Practitioners use risk assessment information to inform decisions at various points in the criminal justice system. The Primer is written for judges, policy makers, and other practitioners interested in the use of RNA [risk and needs assessment] information at sentencing for the purpose of informing community corrections related decisions regarding management and reduction of offender recidivism risk. It focuses on RNA instruments designed specifically to inform these community corrections-related decisions" (p. 2). This publication explains: what risk and needs assessment instruments are, and reasons for using them; examples of six risk and needs assessment instruments and how they differ; what the qualities of good risk and needs assessment instruments are; the practices which support sound implementation of risk and needs assessment instruments; and the practical considerations in selecting and using risk and needs assessment instruments. An appendix provides profiles of risk and needs assessment instruments.
"RNA [risk and needs assessment] instruments are actuarial tools designed to inform community corrections-related decisions regarding risk management and reduction. They consist, in part, of static factors such as criminal history and age at first offense which are related to recidivism but cannot be altered through the delivery of services or treatment programs. In addition, and more importantly for recidivism reduction purposes, the tools identify dynamic risk factors (sometimes referred to as criminogenic needs) such as antisocial attitudes and antisocial peer groups that also are related to recidivism but can be addressed through services and treatment programs. Information from these tools assists in identifying specific offender risk factors that can be targeted with services and treatment programs in order to help reduce an offender’s likelihood of reoffending … Several jurisdictions now provide RNA information to the court to inform sentencing decisions as part of a broader evidence-based approach to effective risk management and recidivism reduction … The current report synthesizes the information across the ten jurisdictions and provides examples of how and the degree to which jurisdictions have implemented each of the nine guiding principles" (p. 1, 2, 3). Sections comprising this report are: Introduction; Guiding Principle 1: Public Safety/Risk Management Purpose; Guiding Principle 2: Amenability to Probation; Guiding Principle 3: Effective Conditions of Probation and Responses to Violations; Guiding Principle 4: Stakeholder Training; Guiding Principle 5: Availability and Routine Use of Offender Assessments; Guiding Principle 6: Evidence-Based Infrastructure; Guiding Principle 7: Assessment Instruments; Guiding Principle 8: Assessment Reports; Guiding Principle 9: Monitoring and Evaluation.; The Way Forward: Judicial Leadership and Lessons Learned; Conclusion; and Appendix: Jurisdiction Profiles. This report is accompanies "Using Offender Risk and Needs Assessment Information at Sentencing: Guidance for Courts from a National Working Group" - NICIC accession no. 026663.
“Systematically assessing the number or people, appropriate resources, and measures of caseloads is critical for ensuring that courts and related agencies are able to deliver quality service to the public effectively and without delay. Given the increasing number and complexity of cases, it is important for states to use an objective workload assessment process, combined with an interconnectedness of judicial and staff work that allows for a holistic assessment of resources needed, to ensure that existing judges and court support staff are used effectively and allocated equitably.” This website provides links to resources that will help courts evaluate their operations. Sources of information are organized under the areas of featured links, general, online publications, and additional resources.