CRI News

/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Table Normal; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:Calibri,sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Times New Roman; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Times New Roman; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} The Texas Public Policy Foundation has released "Keys to an Effective Probation Policy." The highlights are below: Probation Works for Taxpayers as an Alternative to Prison. Probation costs 10 cents for every $1 spent on prisons. Probation Failure Rates Are Too High. More than 40 percent of probationers fail. Nationally, a third to a half of prison admissions are individuals revoked from probation or parole. Utilize Graduated Sanctions for Probationers. Using graduated sanctions where each technical violation (not a new crime) is met with a swift and certain response such as increased reporting, a curfew, or even a shock-night in jail, revocations for technical violations can be reduced. Some states and departments have adopted a matrix that matches the violation with the sanction, thereby providing useful guidance for supervision officers. Earned Time Credits.   Arizona also enacted legislation that gives probationers good time credit for time served when they fully comply with all terms, such as restitution.   Probationers receive 15 days credit for every 30 days they are in compliance. This gives probationers an incentive to perform. Also, by reducing the total number of offenders on probation, there are fewer opportunities for revocations. Use Evidence-Based Practices. State law should require that 75 percent of funds spent on probation be allocated to evidence-based practices.   Evidence-based practices are those that have been documented in the literature as reducing recidivism. Performance-Based Probation Funding. In 2008, Arizona implemented performance-based probation funding. Under this incentive-based approach, probation departments receive a share of the state’s savings when they reduce their revocations to prison without increasing probationers’ convictions for new offenses. Some share of probation funding could also be tied to other outcomes such as restitution payments and employment rates. Administrative Sanctions. Georgia and Delaware have changed the law so probation officers can impose sanctions such as a curfew and increased reporting in response to violations.  A Georgia study found reductions of 70 percent or more in the average number of days that violators spent in local jails awaiting disposition of their violation cases. Utilize Varying Levels of Supervision Based on Risk. Studies have shown that high-risk probationers need closer supervision while lower-risk offenders are actually more likely to recidivate with closer supervision. Consequently, each offender should be screened using a standard risk assessment instrument such as the Wisconsin Risk Assessment Instrument and their level of supervision set according to the results. Allow Judges to Grant Early Termination. Probationers who have fully met the terms of their supervision, including paying all restitution, should be eligible for early termination. Early termination reduces costs to taxpayers.


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