The Community Services Division coordinates technical assistance, specialized training, and other programs related to probation, parole, and other forms of community-based corrections.
The Division also sponsors the development of publications and materials on topics of interest to community corrections practitioners, and it coordinates an interdisciplinary effort to assist jurisdictions in developing a more rational, cost-effective, and coordinated system of criminal justice sanctions and punishments.
Technical assistance related to Community Corrections is provided on issues such as caseload management, victims programs, employee safety, classification and assessment, and intermediate sanctions. The Division also provides specialized training and other programs that focus on: Executive Leadership and Development; Women Offenders; Evidence-Based Offender Interventions; Inmate Transition to Communities; Workforce Development; and Responding to Probation/Parole Violations.
Division Chief: Holly Busby
A “framework that identifies the characteristics and competencies that paroling authorities must have to be effective in implementing evidence-based practices in the context of transition programs and services” is presented (p.8). These sections follow an executive summary: introduction; the impact of history on current reform efforts; the key elements of the parole process—the institutional, reentry, community, and discharge phases; the foundation of system effectiveness—evidence-based practice, organizational development, and collaboration; moving forward; and conclusion. An appendix lists intermediate and process measures for implementation.
New parole board members and parole executives should read this publication. It will introduce them to the core competencies they need to have to effectively execute their public responsibilities. Chapters cover: the broad context of parole work—parole’s function, purpose, and role in the criminal justice system, parole and other state or local entities, and legal and ethical issues; discharging duties effectively—leadership, strategic planning, emerging best practices and evidence-based practices, and collaboration; and individual case decisionmaking—tools that promote consistent outcomes for similar cases, parole hearings, interviews and file reviews, parole conditions that support the goals of the parole board or agency and evidence-based principles and practices, and violation decisionmaking.
"This report presents "statistics on persons supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at yearend 2014, including offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole and those incarcerated in state or federal prison or local jail. The report describes the size and change in the total correctional population during 2014. It details the downward trend in the correctional population and correctional supervision rate since 2007. It also examines the impact of changes in the community supervision and incarcerated populations on the total correctional population in recent years. Findings cover the variation in the size and composition of the total correctional population by jurisdiction at yearend 2014. Appendix tables provide statistics on other correctional populations and jurisdiction-level estimates of the total correctional population by correctional status and sex for select years. Highlights: Adult correctional systems supervised an estimated 6,851,000 persons at yearend 2014, about 52,200 fewer offenders than at yearend 2013; About 1 in 36 adults (or 2.8% of adults in the United States) was under some form of correctional supervision at yearend 2014, the lowest rate since 1996; The correctional population has declined by an annual average of 1.0% since 2007; The community supervision population (down 1.0%) continued to decline during 2014, accounting for all of the decrease in the correctional population; [and] The incarcerated population (up 1,900) slightly increased during 2014."
"This dynamic analysis tool allows you to examine data collected by the Annual Parole Survey on persons sentenced as adults. It includes parolees who were conditionally released to parole supervision by parole board decision, by mandatory conditional release, through other types of post-custody conditional supervision, or as the result of a sentence to a term of supervised release. You can create Custom Tables of the number, characteristics and supervision rates of adults on parole at yearend. This tool also allows you to create custom tables of parole entries and exits." Access is provided to: User's Manual; quick tables; custom tables; methodology; definitions; supporting documents; and FAQs.
The use of drug testing is pervasive in community supervision, requiring probationers to regularly submit to urine drug testing. Positive drug tests may result in sanctions, technical violations, probation revocations, and even prison sentences. However, experts in addiction medicine recommend using testing to support recovery rather than to exact punishment. This article reviews the literature on drug testing and offers information on efficacy, best practices, and limitations.
“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.
In 2014, Abt Associates began work on a grant from the National Institute of Justice to evaluate the effectiveness of home and field contacts in community supervision. The study was designed to describe the varying practices of home and other field contacts in community supervision, to document their use nationwide, and to evaluate their effectiveness in maintaining public safety and promoting compliance with supervision requirements. Abt’s research is designed to address the gap in our understanding of home and field contacts as part of community supervision.
New parole board members and parole executives should read this publication. It “examines information emerging from research on evidence-based practice and decisionmaking in parole and the implications of these findings for paroling authorities” (p. viii). Five chapters comprise this document: evidence-based policy, practice, and decisionmaking—what it is and why paroling authorities should be interested in it; significant research findings regarding risk reduction—implications for paroling authorities; reaching the full recidivism reduction potential—using a systemwide approach to evidence-based decisionmaking; evaluating the research—how much evidence in enough; and the benefits of an evidence-based approach and recommendations for action—why pursue an evidence-based approach.
This video examines the needs, strengths, weaknesses, and risks associated with female offenders. Topics discussed include:
- The unique and complex issues surrounding female offenders;
- Barriers that female offenders encounter in the community;
- Techniques and skills for effecting positive change;
- Outside resources to assist in supervision;
- And the challenges and rewards of working with female offenders.