Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pew urges community supervision strategies to improve public safety

Doc Berman informs us of a new publication from the Pew Center on the States titled "Putting Public Safety First," which suggests "13 Strategies for Successful Supervision and Reentry." Berman quotes from the email announcement:

A new policy brief from the Pew Public Safety Performance Project highlights community corrections strategies that can help policy makers and practitioners improve public safety and make better use of scarce public funds. Putting Public Safety First: 13 Strategies for Successful Supervision and Reentry is part of an ongoing series of policy briefs published by The Pew Center on the States. The 13 strategies outlined in this brief were the consensus findings from two meetings of national experts held over the past year by the Urban Institute, in collaboration with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the JEHT Foundation.

This briefing is a companion piece to a longer report produced by the Urban Institute with the support of the JEHT Foundation, NIC and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The report includes examples from the field and describes each of the 13 strategies in more detail....

We hope you can use this policy brief to help make the case for more cost-effective corrections in your work with policy makers and managers.

Many of the 13 strategies will sound familiar to regular Grits readers and anyone who has followed Sen. John Whitmire and Rep. Jerry Madden's probation reform initiatives over Texas' last two legislative sessions. They are:
  1. Define success as recidivism reduction and measure performance
  2. Tailor conditions of supervision to the individual
  3. Focus resources on higher risk offenders
  4. Frontload supervision resources
  5. Implement earned discharge
  6. Supervise offenders in their communities
  7. Engage partners to expand intervention capacity
  8. Assess criminal risk and need factors
  9. Balance surveillance and treatment in case plans
  10. Involve offenders in development of the case plan
  11. Engage informal social controls
  12. Use incentives and rewards
  13. Respond to violations with swift and certain sanctions
See more detail in Pew's public policy brief and the Urban Institute's full report.

RELATED: Ana YaƱez Correa from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition had an op ed in the Statesman this week focusing on prisoner reentry strategies that help offenders succeed on community supervision.


Crusty said...

Or better yet, reduce the number of people we're putting in to prison. Drugs, Gambling, Prostitution, and Underage Drinking are personal vices that need to be dealt with through personal responsibility when their activities do not harm any others. It helps nobody, least of all society, to put someone in to Criminal University for any of these issues.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with Crusty's point.

In addittion, I would recommend two other clarifications to the 13 points.

The first would be to build active and deliberate coalitions in each community with groups such as Independent and Private school systems, churhes and social organanizations such as Soroptomist, Optomists, Lion's, J.C's, Salvation Army.

Communities that actively seek to recognize their social obligation to all of it's members, including the potential criminal element, by encouraging membership and participation in pro-social activities, will provide the necessary ingredient to help eliminate feelings of being an outsider, unloved, and hopeless.

Second, I would modify the goal of reducing recidivism, to that of reducing recidivism over time.

Correctional departments that recognize that an individual locked up for over a period of two or three years, likely will have formed a new, negative identity as a "marked" individual. Thus, the initial release back to the community should have goals that focus on total reintegration over perhaps one or two failed attempts at probation and/or parole. This recognizes that some incarcerated individuals will be initially be slow in re-learning positive social skills and attitudes. A person released from a 10 or 20 year incarceration will be successful perhaps on their third release. The key is to make the period of re-incarceration one that focuses on what went wrong during the release to parole and probation, and work on solving the problem areas that were initially failed.

This will require a new mindset on the part of legislators, judges, correctional professionals and community leaders.

Anonymous said...

Recidivism is an easy number to manipulate!!

Anonymous said...

anon @ 9.37 ~ its actually an easy number to reduce as well, if that's what a society decides it really wants. I was watching a programme on TV last night with American experts talking about various state's prison systems, and the points that stood out for me the most were

A. If you continue to keep inmates in solitary confinement for longer and longer periods (the figure for TX was an average of 3.1 years, but the programme was a couple of years old and we all know that to get an average, you always have those who will have been in Ad Seg for a lot longer than 3 years), and then make no effort to re-socialise them before their release (and I dont mean shove them back into general population a few weeks before they move to the Walls), then they are mentally unable to cope with any kind of change to their freedom. Keeping a mentally stable person in solitary for more than a few days causes them to experience mental illness, so is it any surprise that a long period creates a bigger problem than it is 'designed' to solve?

B. The argument against spending tax dollars on education inmates is a strong one in a society where post-18 education is expensive in the free-world. But the mind set needs to alter slightly from 'they dont deserve it' to 'we deserve to have better qualified people in our society'. I often wonder if some Americans really deep down want a bigger prison system no matter how much it costs them, and I usually come up with a 'yes' answer. It makes no monetary sense to do that. If you are going to be spending the tax dollars anyway, why spend them on creating a bigger problem that may have gone in for petty drug use but comes out ready for burglary or worse?

Involving inmates in their own re-entry plans is such a simple and positive step, I cant believe it even has to be written down. Texas inmates are not allowed to see their file before it goes to the Parole Board, and so cannot challenge any erroneous data that may be in it, which is what their parole decision is based on. How can that be right?

Anonymous said...

If a probation officer wanted to talk to someone on the corrections board about some ideas to help probation work on some ideas like those 13 points. Who should they
contact? Maybe Madden or Turner?
Seems Whitmire wants money to talk?
Some counties are really not using the money they are getting now for the correct purposes. Lots of mismanagement.

Anonymous said...

There is not much new in this report. The Reinventing Probation Council of the Manhattan Institute issued a report in 2000 that advocated much of what appears in the Pew and Urban Institute documents.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 2.34 ~ write to ALL of the legislators, encourage all your co-workers and family and friends to do the same, every couple of months. It has to be a groudswell of opinion that the politicians cannot turn round and say they didnt hear. Dont let them think these issues will go away, because they wont.

Anonymous said...

It all looks good in writing but nothing is the result when nothing is enforced or monitored. Since it is apparent that Doc has never been "supervised" let me just drop a little information. The officers are as dirty as the guards who bring in drugs and cellphones and the administrators rape and beat youth. I know, you want to cover your eyes and put plugs in your eyes so that you really don't have to hear the truth. If anyone really wants change...ASK THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN SUPERVISED OR RELEASED - learn the flaws and then implement. But no, that is too much like right because then change would really have to happen. I agree with the reduction of the push to go to prison - but you have to remember you have dirty guards, dirty officers and very very dirty judges. There should first be a change in the sentencing structures in the courts and not have it be state by state. If there are clear and consistent rules in sentencing, that are within reason, then it would be easier to lessen appeals, grants bonds and monitor the lower courts. Nexyt step, look at the probation and parole supevision. Structure those services to meet the INDIVIDUAL. For instance, if a person has never used drugs, smoked a cigarette or drank a liquor. Never been a thorn for them...then don't have substance abuse testing and UA"s. *Duh, save the tax payers some money and I would gander a fake false positive - an officers urge to put that person in prison - wouldn't happen. Third, take the appeals level then the Supreme Court level. Since the US is "ONE nation, under God" - then wouldn't it make more sense to stop being a hypocrite and have the states uniform and consistent in the major areas and the city oridinances structured for the individual cities? Of course it does - buttttttttttttttttttttttttt

Vox Populi said...

What's that # 11 about?

"engage informal social controls" hmmmmm.

Is that where stalking comes in or are they speaking of keeping the person from known drugholes and if so can't DO THAT because it's not court-mandated.
'informal' implying that no judge mandated same??

Please reply to this if you have time.

I think this gives the PO wide discretion over a person who he 'oversees'.

Some PO are incapable of this without using big thumbs. Their lizard brain is engaged.

Not impugning the job. I know some very fine POs who were just thrilled to get OUT of the state prison system and behind a desk so to them the avg probationer is a fellow traveler.

Ponder # 11 and tell me what you think if you will.

All of the groups that JTP mentioned have ties to the Masonic community. What does that mean?

The salvation army not being the benign industry that most assume.
Have you seen their bell-ringers lately?

A siphon into the pockets of the Masons/Shriners/Illuminati.

The second part of JTP's analysis makes perfect sense.
A lot of people are not aware how deep the masonic (love to PUNISH) reach is in communities. And dangeruos. Read Freemasons for dummies.
Even sertoma. Now that was one I had NO idea. In fact, until the bush years I had no idea about much of which I speak with authority today.

Anonymous said...

Complete rubbish!

Anonymous said...

The easiest way to lower the recidivism rate is to ignore the problem. Departments do this all over the state.

TPA recently talked about a study in a recent publication. The study suggested that if you increase the scrutiny of a probationer, it will result in more revocations. I call this the "no kidding" study. When probation is nothing more than a meet and greet at the probation department, recidivism drops; however, when officers are out in the field where there clients roam, non-compliance issues are discovered which leads to revocations. So, ignoring the problem leads to lower recidivism rates...

There is a new thing sweeping through juvenile probation called JDAI (Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative). It achieves a lower recidivism rate by ignoring a problem and then touts its success by implying that the programs made the difference.

Anonymous said...

In order for this all to reduce recidivism, players other than probation officer have to buy into it. If the judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys do not modify their "what works" philosophy to give this a chance, we can be certain that "tail em, nail em and jail em", will continue to be the practice.

Anonymous said...

Vox said:

..."The second part of JTP's analysis makes perfect sense.
A lot of people are not aware how deep the masonic (love to PUNISH) reach is in communities. ..."

Ok, but the point is that bankers give loans to Masons, who create businesses and jobs. Common observation. Most of our country's presidents have been Masons, and they have been part of the elite structure from the countries inception. But the propensity for punishment is not just rooted in similar worldviews, but also motivated by an economic incentive. It's all about cheap labor. How do you get labor that is even cheaper than illegal immigration labor? Answer: Parole and probation provide cheap labor for the community. That's why Obama probably will not challenge the system, but will instead, if doing anything at all, will try to find a better seat at the prison-industrial complex table for black-americans. After all, black buisness owners need cheap labor too!

Anonymous said...

We are experiencing a "Judicial Holocaust" concerning existing "Sex Offender" Laws.
They are putting young people in Prison and making them Register as Sex offenders for life!! Which destroys their ability to have a normal productive life...ever! When they are NOT Violent,Rapists, pedofiles. But just had consensual sex .... which if anything should only be misdemeanors.
Our prisons are being overrun with young people because of this gross misuse of Laws. It is tragic!
What happened with "punishment fitting the crime" . I just can't believe our country has laws like this! I agree these laws need to apply only to Violent, rapist and pedophiles ! Not just consensual sex at any age. The law as it stands puts a "Leathal Weapon" in the hands of youth who get angry or jealous if the other person breaks up with them or their parents fly off the handle when they learn their offspring are having sex! Wake is rampant now in our schools. I strongly believe the "Sex Education" classes should include the explanation of the "Sex Offender" the students can understand that they can serve sentences longer than a Murderer..and be registered publicly as a "Sex Offender" for the rest of his life. NO ONE IS TELLING THEM ABOUT THIS...UNTIL THEY LAND IN JAIL ! THEN IT'S TOO LATE. AND ALL OVER CONSENSUAL SEX.
I have noticed that almost everything now is becoming a "FELONY" too. It is unbelievable.