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.
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.
“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.
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.
Juvenile probation is the supervision and monitoring of justice-involved youth in the community, rather than placement out of the home … The focus of this literature review is on formal probation and services provided to juveniles on post-adjudication probation, or probation as a disposition. The review will not focus on probation at intake, probation following out-of-home placement, or school-based probation. In addition to describing services provided, this review provides an overview of the process of juvenile probation, characteristics of youths served by probation, the role of probation officers, and a description of evidence-based programs that have been evaluated with youth on probation.
"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).
The Community Corrections Collaborative Network (CCCN) hosted a live webinar event with our federal partners and national and local experts to highlight Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), a collaborative strategy among the court, probation, prosecutors, defense, law enforcement and community treatment providers to effect positive behavioral changes in probationers. HOPE was first conceived of by Judge Steven S. Alm of the O’ahu First Circuit and began as a pilot program in 2004. The HOPE strategy targets higher risk/higher needs offenders, utilizing swift, certain, consistent, and proportionate consequences for non-compliance with probation conditions while maintaining a working alliance with the offender by both the probation officer and the judge. Within the framework of the National Institute of Corrections’ eight evidence-based principles for recidivism reduction, HOPE assists offenders in the change process in a caring and supportive environment to help probationers succeed on probation and in life. While seemingly a simple theoretical model, HOPE is hard to do, and requires shared leadership within the criminal justice system. Research has shown that the HOPE strategy, when done with fidelity, can be highly successful and is inspiring like efforts in thirty-one states across the country. The CCCN believes that individual jurisdictions can adopt the swift and certain philosophy while modifying it to fit the needs and resources available in local communities. Our network is committed to identifying promising and innovative practices and promoting the use of evidence-based practices. Objectives for the Webinar: Showcase the innovative HOPE Program and how it can be replicated stateside; Discuss HOPE's innovative programmatic design, implementation and evaluation characteristics including HOPE's collaboration and systems approach (Court/Probation/Law Enforcement/Community Treatment Providers working together for a common goal), buy-in from staff/engagement/inclusion/supporting each other, matching probationers to the right services instead of one-size fits all, succession planning and sustainability build to success, and research, randomized control trials, and high level scientific design proving the effectiveness of the program; and engage the criminal justice system in a live discussion about the HOPE Program, resources for the field, how to access funding through federal resources, ideas for replication of similar approaches, and how to motivate our leaders to want to do more.
“Community corrections researchers and practitioners face many barriers when trying to implement evidence-based programs and practices in the field. This webinar offers some practical strategies for improving the implementation process and achieving better program results. James Bonta describes the efforts of the research team at Public Safety Canada to develop the Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICS) model and the large-scale, systematic steps taken to help ensure successful implementation of the program. STICS focuses on the role of probation officers, and works to improve the effectiveness of their day-to-day interactions with offenders. Kimberly Sperber discusses risk-based dosage, or how much treatment is required to impact recidivism of offenders. Knowing that high-risk offenders should receive more services and supervision is not the same as knowing how much more services and supervision are needed to yield the maximum reductions in recidivism. Practitioners too often have little guidance on "how much is enough," which can hinder adherence to the principles of effective correctional intervention. “
If you are a community corrections officer you should read this article. This article offers an efficient way to effectively monitor your supervisees’ computer use. Sections of this article cover: the issue of computer use and disuse by offenders such as gang members and sex offenders; the five major components of computer management—know what computer(s) the supervisee has or has access to, deciding how to monitor computer or Internet use, going online to check unauthorized use, using complementary technologies like location monitoring, and continued field visits; computer searches versus computer monitoring; and training. “The complexity and diversity of criminal and delinquent activities enabled and accelerated by technology can be daunting but that cannot be used as an excuse for a “wait and see” strategy. Expertise is developed over time and agencies are encouraged to start with the major components and to develop their expertise by focusing on specific strategies and offense types. Starting the process now will help prepare agencies for future challenges that will continue to occur as probationers or parolees find new and innovative ways to exploit developing technologies” (p. 46).