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Probation supervision

"Although home visits are seen as a critical tool employed by probation officers, recent evidence demonstrates that home visits are rarely conducted, even for high-risk offenders who might benefit from them the most … Because there are costs (such as probation officer time and safety risks) associated with conducting field work, we need to understand the role of home visits in modern probation agencies and determine best practices of how they should be implemented to meet intended goals. This article highlights the historical importance of home visits as a key element of probation and suggests future avenues to inform the field about their full potential and utility" (p. 32). Sections cover: a brief history of probation—from rehabilitation to crime control and back again; the role of home visits in supporting probation goals; expansion of probation to higher-risk offenders—retaining a role for home visits; and addressing gaps in our knowledge about home visits—officer and offender goals for home visits, opening the "black box" of home visits, impact of home visits on family and communities, dosage—how often and how many home visits are needed, and desistance among high-risk offenders.

 Review of Probation Home Visits: What Do We Know? Cover

"While victims are not the primary client for you as a tribal probation officer [TPO], you are in a unique position to provide them with critical information and link them with services. This bulletin is designed to provide TPOs with a brief overview of victims’ rights, tips to help coordinate and improve the delivery of victim services, and information about the varied services available to victims of crime" (p. 3). Sections of this publication cover: why tribal probation officers should be concerned about crime victims; the impact of crime on victims; eight specific victims' rights under federal law; barriers to victim participation in criminal and tribal justice processes; victims' rights and related services—safety and reasonable protection, confidentiality, notification and information, participation, victim input, restitution and other legal/financial obligations (LFOs), and victim compensation; effective communication with victims; collaboration for victims' rights implementation and victim assistance services—federal victim services, tribal victim services, and state and local victim services; services for crime victims and survivors; National Information and Referral Resources for Crime Victim/Survivor Assistance—20 national toll-free information, assistance, and referral numbers; and victim/offender and restorative justice programs.

A Tribal Probation Officers Guide to Working with Victims cover

Anyone working with Native American offenders should read this article. Its purpose is to "increase the level of understanding of correctional professionals about how the responsivity issues of Native American (NA) individuals can be effectively addressed. NA offenders are involved in criminal and juvenile justice systems handled by tribal, county, state, and federal agencies. As a result, there are several levels of justice practitioners, administrators, and policy makers that come into contact with NA supervisees at various stages of the criminal or juvenile justice system. This article focuses on how probation and parole officers (PPOs) are addressing responsivity factors of NA youth or adults on their caseloads throughout the supervision process" (p. 1). Sections of this publication include: risk, need, and responsivity approaches with Native American supervisees; methods; survey findings—general and specific responsivity; recommendations—three regarding research and development, risk and needs assessments, evaluation, three for recommendations for policy, and six practice recommendations; and conclusion.

Addressing Responsivity Issues with Criminal Justice-Involved Native Americans Cover

"All justice-involved individuals who are under community supervision are expected to abide by a set of conditions. Unfortunately, a significant portion will violate one or more of their terms and conditions of supervision at some point, either by committing a new offense or by committing a technical violation—an infraction related to failing to comply with the technical rules set by the releasing authority. Many of these individuals will be incarcerated as a result of a violation. Yet, incarcerating individuals for violations does not necessarily achieve the desired public safety impact in terms of reducing future violations and recidivism. There remains an endless “revolving door” of individuals who are placed on community supervision, engage in further problematic behavior, and return to correctional facilities to likely repeat the cycle again. This paper provides a policy and practice framework to support the development of effective behavior management systems that will increase the compliance and prosocial behavior of justice-involved individuals both during and following their community supervision."

Sections of this publication include: the "never events" in the behavior management of justice-involved individuals; introduction to conditions of community supervision; why behavior management matters—developments over the past three decades, summary of the research and frameworks in what works in shaping behavior, rethinking the term sanctions, six key principles guiding effective responses to noncompliance, the use of incentives and rewards, key considerations in their effective use, the Model Penal Code on rewards and responses to noncompliance, putting it together--responding to behavior in ways that produce positive outcomes, making it work—operationalizing the research, illustrations of select programmatic efforts to manage behavior, and state and local efforts to address behavior management using a structured policy framework process; advancing behavior management policy and practice—ten steps to developing a behavior management policy; recent advances in behavior management—accounting for criminogenic needs, considering the complexity of the behavior, tailoring responses to prosocial behaviors, automating decision making tools, consistently addressing behavior across the justice system continuum, and key data questions; future advances in behavior management; and a recommended behavior management policy and practice approach—"always events" in the behavior management of justice-involved individuals.

Behavior Management of Justice-Involved Individuals: Contemporary Research and State-of-the-Art Policy and Practice Cover

The “effectiveness of early termination as a measure that permits probation offices to focus supervision resources on persons most likely to recidivate, without compromising the statutory purposes of probation and supervised release” is examined. There is only a 5.9% new arrest rate for offenders released early from supervision (early-term offenders) compared to a rate of 12.2% for full-term offenders.

Early Termination of Supervision: No Compromise to Community Safety Cover

“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.

Effective Responses to Offender Behavior: Lessons Learned from Probation and Parole Supervision Cover

The goal of this videoconference is to enhance the ability of probation and parole agency staff (line officers, supervisors, and policymakers/administrators) to supervise sex offenders in the community more effectively. Topics addressed include:

  • Overview of sex offenders and their victims;
  • The victim-centered approach to sex offender supervision;
  • The role of collaboration in a comprehensive approach to supervision;
  • The containment approach to supervision;
  • Sex offender treatment in the context of community supervision;
  • The use of the polygraph as a supervision and treatment tool;
  • Assessment of sex offenders;
  • Presentence investigations (PSI) of sex offenders;
  • Case/planning/maintaining the case file;
  • Case work in various settings;
  • And responding to violations.
Effective Supervision of Adult Sex Offenders in the Community Cover

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.

     

Female Offenders in the Community Cover

"Hawai'i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) Hawai'i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement probation relies on a regimen of regular, random drug testing tied to swift and certain, but modest, sanctions to motivate probationer compliance. In two 2007 studies in Hawai'i, a comparison-group quasi-experiment and a randomized controlled trial, HOPE was demonstrated to improve compliance with terms of probation at 12-month followup, with large reductions in drug use, recidivism, and overall incarceration for offenders assigned to the program … This study extends the original HOPE evaluations to an almost ten-year followup, addressing whether the improvements in criminal-justice outcomes observed during the active HOPE intervention persist after the term of probation. The study also documents changes in HOPE practices and ongoing implementation fidelity to the model … HOPE probationers performed better than those supervised under routine supervision. They were less likely to be revoked and returned to prison" (p. 2-3).

HOPE II Cover

For several decades, supervision agencies have been leveraging a variety of technological innovations to better manage justice-involved individuals in the community. Perhaps no tool has captured the imagination of the criminal justice professionals and the public alike as much as location tracking system (LTS) technology, first introduced in 1996. The ability to track an individual in near-real time represented a substantial improvement over the previous technology, which was limited to monitoring an individual’s presence at a fixed location, usually the home.

Since that time, the use of location tracking has achieved acceptance within the criminal justice system. Further, use of an LTS is generally supported by the public, judges, and legislators, who believe this level of monitoring provides greater accountability and control for individuals in the community. By some measures LTS usage is growing rapidly. According to a 2015 survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than 88,0001 individuals were supervised using an LTS, a thirtyfold increase from the roughly 2,900 reported a decade earlier (Pew Charitable Trusts, 2015). Despite this rapid growth, those under supervision with location tracking represent little more than 1% of the nearly seven million individuals under correctional control and under 2% of the 4.6 million on probation or parole supervision. 

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