As the nation’s prison population has grown, so too has the reach of the systems of community supervision, with 4.65 million adults (1 in every 53) under community supervision. This primarily involves individuals in the community serving sentences of probation or fulfilling terms of parole following a prison sentence.
An emerging reform agenda aims to both reduce the reach of these sanctions and increase their effectiveness by shifting the focus from punishing failure to preventing crime and promoting success. There are many testable ideas on the table: reducing returns to prison for probation and parole violations, rewarding compliance with fewer supervision conditions and shorter terms, focusing the most intensive and evidence-based interventions on the highest risk population, limiting conditions to those that promote public safety, to name a few. By focusing the right interventions on the right people at the right time, supervision agencies can improve outcomes, promote efficiencies, and reduce their footprint.
LJAF believes that this policy domain is ripe for exploration, as the practice community is primed for innovation, policymakers are explicitly open to arguments for new strategies, and thought leaders are proposing compelling ideas for testing. We are interested in learning more about ways to promote success, reduce revocations while protecting public safety, accelerating the adoption of evidence-based practices, and making the community supervision system more fair.