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Research Summary

Evidence-based supervision is the newest in a long line of efforts to advance community corrections. This new model adopts a risk-need-responsivity model where the agency uses a risk and need tool to identify appropriate treatment and control services and then assigns offenders to such services. Underscoring this new approach is the creation of a social learning environment that makes supervision officers active in facilitating offender change. The goal is to empower the offender. Maryland's Proactive Community Supervision (PCS) model was one of the first to implement this approach. Controlling for length of time on supervision and prior history, logistic regression results found that offenders who were supervised in this new style were less likely to be rearrested (30% for the PCS and 42% of the non-PCS sample; p < 0.01) and less likely to have a warrant issued for technical violations (34.7% of the PCS group and 40% for the non-PCS group; p < 0.10). Policy Implications

The study findings indicate that a behavioral management approach can increase the frequency of contacts and obtain positive offender outcomes. More importantly, the PCS model illustrates that supervision agencies can be transformed to achieve public safety goals through focusing on offender change strategies. Providing officers with new behavioral skills to work with offenders and creating an empowering environment can yield positive outcomes. Criminal justice policy should focus on reengineering community supervision to prevent additional penetration into the justice system, to reduce churning, and to reduce incarceration.
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Keywords: evidence-based practices; organizational change; probation and parole; recidivism; supervision

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor in the Administration of Justice Program at George Mason University.

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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