Annotated SCF Literature Review
Carns, T.W. & Martin, S. (2011). “Anchorage PACE: Probation Accountability with Certain Enforcement. A preliminary evaluation of the Anchorage pilot PACE project,” Anchorage: Alaska Judicial Council. ajc.state.ak.us/reports/pace2011.pdf
An outcomes evaluation of SCF felony probation in Anchorage and Palmer, Alaska. A retrospective pre/post design (SCF participants three months before and three months after implementation). In the post-SCF period, 69% fewer participants had a positive drug test (n.b. these data do not account for missed drug-test appointments), but the total number of violation reports increased by 68%.
Kunkel, T.L. & White, M.T. (2013). “Arkansas SWIFT courts: Implementation assessment and long-term evaluation plan,” Williamsburg: National Center for State Courts. ncsc.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/api/collection/criminal/id/219/download
An outcomes evaluation of SCF felony probation in five counties in Arkansas. A quasi-experimental design (propensity-score matched comparison group). SCF participants had 85% fewer days in jail, 35% fewer positive drug tests, 26% fewer misdemeanor arrests, and 56% fewer felony arrests.
O’Connell, D., Visher, C.A., Martin, S., Parker, L., & Brent, J. (2011). “Decide your time: Testing deterrence theory’s certainty and celerity effects on substance-using probationers,” Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(3):261–267. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2011.02.011 [paywalled]
O’Connell, Brent, J., & Visher, C.A. (2016). “Decide your time: A randomized trial of a drug testing and graduated sanctions program for probationers,” Criminology & Public Policy, 15(4):1073–1102. pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bfc8/e0eaf8dad6035e05f558b7f20e2178edc3c8.pdf [paywalled]
An outcomes and process evaluation of SCF felony probation in Wilmington, Delaware. A randomized controlled trial, comparing SCF with standard probation. The process evaluation found substantial institutional, statutory, and logistical barriers to SCF implementation, such that it failed to adhere to the stated principles. SCF participants had twice as many missed probation appointments and were 21% more likely to have had a positive drug test.
Hawken, A. & Kleiman, M. (2009). “Managing drug-involved probationers with swift and certain sanctions: Evaluating Hawaii’s HOPE. Evaluation report.” NCJ 229023. Washington: National Institute of Justice. ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/230444.pdf
An outcomes and process evaluation of SCF felony probation in Hawai‘i . A randomized controlled trial, N=493. At one-year followup, SCF participants were 72% less likely to have had a positive drug test, 61% less likely to have failed to report for an office visit, 55% less likely to have been rearrested, and 53% less likely to have been revoked.
Sensui, L.M. (2016). “A study of immediate sanction effectiveness to reduce new conviction post-probation,” Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i. search.proquest.com/openview/81996f25dff714575d5f1cd3c5530989/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y [paywalled]
An outcomes evaluation of SCF probation in Hawai‘i. A retrospective, correlational design, comparing SCF with standard probation. SCF participants were 2.5 times as likely to succeed on probation, and 3.7 times as likely to receive early termination.
Hawken, A., Kulick, J., Smith, K., Mei, J., Zhang, Y., Jarman, S., Yu, T., Carson, C., & Vial, T. (2016). “HOPE II: A follow-up to Hawaiʻi’s HOPE evaluation,” NCJ 249912. Washington: National Institute of Justice. ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/249912.pdf
An outcomes and process evaluation of SCF felony probation in Hawai‘i. At six-year followup of a randomized controlled trial of SCF versus standard probation, SCF probationers had 56% fewer new drug charges (with no differences on other charges) and were 52% less likely to be returned to prison. These comparisons were similar for native Hawai‘ians and other racial/ethnic groups. Probationers’ perceptions of risk of punishment given a violation were higher than probation officers’ estimates, which in turn were higher than the true risk.
HOPE Demonstration Field Experiment
Zajac, G., Lattimore, P.K., Dawes, D., & Winge, L. (2015). “All implementation is local: Initial findings from the process evaluation of the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) Demonstration Field Experiment,” Federal Probation, 79(1):31–36. uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/fed_probation_june_2015_0.pdf
A process evaluation of SCF probation in four counties (in Ark., Mass., Ore., and Tex.). The evaluation found that implementation facilitators were important to maintaining fidelity to the prescribed SCF model, and that, while different statutes and administrative structures across the four states variously enabled or posed barriers to successful implementation, all counties met most benchmarks.
Lattimore, P.K., MacKenzie, D.L., Zajac, G., Dawes, D., Arsenault, E., & Tueller, S. (2016). “Outcome findings from the HOPE Demonstration Field Experiment: Is swift, certain, and fair an effective supervision strategy?” Criminology & Public Policy, 15(4):1103–1141. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-9133.12248/pdf [paywalled]
Lattimore, P. (2017). “Summary findings from the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement Demonstration Field Experiment (HOPE DFE),” Perspectives, 41(3):22–33. appa-net.org/Perspectives/Perspectives_V41_N3.pdf
An outcomes and process evaluation of SCF felony probation in four counties (in Ark., Mass., Ore., and Tex.). A four-site randomized controlled trial (N=1504) of SCF in each county against standard probation in each county. At 650-days followup, overall, SCF participants did no better on most measures of recidivism, with substantial variations in outcomes across counties. The prescribed SCF protocol was implemented with good to excellent fidelity in each county.
DeLong, C. & Reichert, J. (2016). “Learning about probation from client perspectives: Feedback from probationers served by Adult Redeploy Illinois-funded program models,” Chicago: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. icjia.state.il.us/assets/articles/Client%20feedback%20FINAL%2008-18-16.pdf
A description and process evaluation of SCF probation in Cook County, Illinois. Interviews and administrative data. Compares SCF with drug courts and “intensive supervision probation with services” (ISP-S). Probationers’ perceptions of their program were similar in most regards; SCF participants were half as likely as ISP-S participants to regard their program as “easier to complete than a prison sentence,” and, on average, feel that their probation officer “expected too much of them.”
Shannon, L.M. (2013). “Kentucky SMART probation program: Year one report,” Frankfort: Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts. azslide.com/kentucky-smart-probation-program_59e1d2181723ddbbfe3c45ba.html
Shannon, L.M., Hulbig, S.K., Birdwhistell, S., Newell, J., & Neal, C. (2015). “Implementation of an enhanced probation program: Evaluating process and preliminary outcomes,” Evaluation and Program Planning, 49:50–62. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149718914001268 [paywalled]
An outcomes and process evaluation of SCF felony probation in Kentucky. A quasi-experimental design (propensity-score matched comparison group). SCF participants had 48% fewer technical violations and 71% fewer positive drug tests, and were 67% more likely to have been incarcerated but, on average, spent 72% fewer days incarcerated. 85% of stakeholders identified implementation challenges.
Weinrath, M., Doerksen, M., & Watts, J. (2015). “The impact of an intensive supervision program on high-risk offenders: Manitoba’s COHROU program,” Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 57:(2):253–288. muse.jhu.edu/journals/ccj/summary/v057/57.2.weinrath.html [paywalled]
An outcomes evaluation of SCF intensive supervision probation in Manitoba. A retrospective pre/post design. SCF participants had reductions in violent reoffenses, a 24% decline in days in custody, and a decline in overall crime severity for those who reoffended.
Harrell, A., Roman, J., Bhati, A., & Parhasarathy, B. (2003). “The Impact Evaluation of the Maryland Break the Cycle Initiative,” Washington: Urban Institute Justice Policy Center. urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/59331/410807-The-Impact-Evaluation-of-the-Maryland-Break-the-Cycle-Initiative.PDF
An outcomes evaluation of SCF felony probation and parole in counties in Maryland (SCF implementation varied by county). A quasi-experimental design (propensity-score matched comparison group) comparing arrests of SCF participants to arrests of similar offenders in non-SCF counties. In SCF counties with higher rates of drug testing, and in those with higher rates of swift sanctions, participants with drug-testing conditions were less likely to be arrested than in the non-SCF counties; participants without drug-testing conditions were equally likely to be arrested.
DeVall, K., Lanier, C., & Hartmann, D. (2015). “Evaluation of Michigan’s Swift & Sure Sanctions Probation Program,” Lansing: Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Office. courts.mi.gov/Administration/admin/op/problem-solving-courts/Documents/SS-Eval.pdf
An outcomes, process, and benefit-cost evaluation of SCF felony probation in 11 counties in Michigan. A quasi-experimental design (propensity-score matched comparison group), comparing SCF participants with probationers in non-SCF counties. At one-year followup, SCF participants were 36% less likely to have been rearrested, 37% less likely to have received a jail sentence, and equally as likely to have received a prison sentence. The benefit-cost analysis found less recidivism and resultant declines in incarceration that paid off in reduced system and victimization costs.
Grommon, E., Cox, S.M., Davidson, W.S., II, & Bynum, T.S. (2013). “Alternative models of instant drug testing: Evidence from an experimental trial,” Journal of Experimental Criminology, 9(2):145–168. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11292-012-9168-6 [paywalled]
An outcomes evaluation of SCF parole in a Midwestern state. A randomized controlled trial, N=529, with assignment to (1) SCF; (2) a group with frequent, random drug testing and treatment referrals but no swift sanctions; or (3) parole as us ual. The SCF group had less drug use and recidivism than the two control groups.
North Carolina Quick Dips
Division of Adult Correction & Juvenile Justice. (2016). “North Carolina fiscal year 2014‑2015 Justice Reinvestment performance measures,” Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Public Safety. ncdps.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/documents/files/JRPerformanceMeasures2016.pdf
An outcomes evaluation of SCF probation in North Carolina. A quasi-experimental design (propensity-score matched comparison group). Probationers who received an SCF sanction were 32% third less likely to be revoked and, at one-year followup after an SCF sanction, were 27% more likely to be actively supervised or have successfully completed supervision.
North Dakota 24/7 Sobriety
Kubas, A., Kayabas, P., & Vachal, K. (2015). “Assessment of the 24/7 Sobriety program in North Dakota: Participant behavior during enrollment,” Fargo: Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, North Dakota State University. ugpti.org/pubs/pdf/DP279.pdf
An outcomes evaluation of SCF supervision (pretrial and adjunct to probation) for repeat DUI offenders in North Dakota. A retrospective pre/post design. Participants had reduced rates of DUI offenses and motor-vehicle accidents post-SCF implementation, with larger reductions for low- and moderate-risk participants .
An outcomes and process evaluation of SCF probation in Chester County, Pennsylvania. At six-month followup, compared with their status at intake, SCF participants were 84% more likely to be renting their own home, 83% more likely to be employed, 57% less likely to be using illegal drugs, and 41% less likely to have been arrested in the previous 30 days.
Bucklen, K.B., Bell, N., & Lategan, D. (2015). “State Intermediate Punishment program: 2015 performance report,” Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. cor.pa.gov/About%20Us/Statistics/Documents/Reports/2015%20State%20Intermediate%20Punishment%20Report.pdf
An outcomes evaluation of SCF post-prison supervision in Pennsylvania. A quasi-experimental design (propensity-score matched comparison group of parolees). At one-year followup, SCF participants were 40% more likely to have been rearrested but 73% less likely to have been returned to prison (n.b. SCF participants were not on parole supervision and so could not be returned to prison for technical violations).
Hyatt, J.M., & Barnes, G.C. (2017). “An experimental evaluation of the impact of intensive supervision on the recidivism of high-risk probationers,” Crime & Delinquency, 63(1):3–38. journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0011128714555757 [paywalled]
Hyatt, J.M. & DeWitt, S., III. (2017). “Bringing H.O.P.E. to Pennsylvania: Summary of key findings from the SIP-HOPE pilot evaluation,” Philadelphia: Drexel University. cor.pa.gov/About%20Us/Statistics/Documents/2017%20May%20-%20PA%20DOC%20SIP-HOPE%20impact.pdf
An outcomes evaluation of SCF post-prison supervision in two counties in Pennsylvania. A quasi-experimental design (propensity-score matched comparison group under standard SIP post-prison supervision). At one-year followup, SCF participants were 13% less likely to have been rearrested and 49% more likely to have been returned to prison, but spent 37% fewer days in prison.
South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety
Loudenburg, R., Drube, G., & Leonardson, G. (2010). “South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety program evaluation findings report,” Salem, S.D.: Mountain Plains Evaluation. apps.sd.gov/atg/dui247/analysissd24.pdf
An outcomes evaluation of SCF diversion for repeat DUI offenders in South Dakota. At three-year followup, SCF participants were half as likely as non-participant DUI repeat offenders to receive a new DUI conviction.
Kilmer, B., Nicosia, N., Heaton, P., & Midgette, G. (2013). “Efficacy of frequent monitoring with swift, certain, and modest sanctions for violations: Insights from South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety project,” American Journal of Public Health, 103(1):e37–43. dx.doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300989 [paywalled]
An outcomes evaluation of SCF diversion for repeat DUI and alcohol-involved domestic-violence offenders in South Dakota. A natural experiment difference-in-differences analysis, comparing pre/post SCF implementation in SCF/non-SCF counties. SCF counties experienced a 12% reduction in repeat DUI arrests and a 9% reduction in domestic-violence arrests.
Snell, C. (2007). “Fort Bend County Community Supervision and Corrections Special Sanctions Court Program: Evaluation report,” Houston: University of Houston. s3.amazonaws.com/static.texastribune.org/media/documents/SANCTIONS_COURT_FINAL_REPORT.pdf
An outcomes and process evaluation of SCF felony probation in Fort Bend County, Texas. A quasi-experimental design (propensity-score matched comparison group), comparing SCF participants with all probationers in the two years before SCF implementation. SCF participants were 23% less likely to have a technical violation, 48% less likely to be revoked, and 21% less likely to receive a new charge (of those who received a new charge, SCF participants were 50% less likely to be convicted).
Martin, K.D. (2013). “Supervision with Immediate Enforcement (SWIFT) court program: An overview of outcomes for the initial pilot program,“ Fort Worth: Tarrant County CSCD. http://scfcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Martin-TX_2013.pdf
Martin, K.D. (2014). “The Supervision with Immediate Enforcement (SWIFT) Court: Tackling the issue of high-risk offenders and chronic probation violators,” Corrections Today, September/October, 74–77. aca.org/aca_prod_imis/Docs/Corrections%20Today/2014%20Articles/Sept%20Articles/Martin.pdf
An outcomes evaluation of SCF felony probation in Tarrant County, Texas. A retrospective pre/post design. SCF participants had a 20% reduction in the number of technical violations, a 24% reduction in positive drug tests, and a 184% increase in jail days for technical violations.
Schlueter, M., Wicklund, P., Adler, R., Owen, J., & Halvorsen, T. (2011). “Bennington County Integrated Domestic Violence Docket project: Outcome evaluation: Final report,” Northfield Falls, Ver. http://scfcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Schlueter-VT_2011.pdf
Suntag, D. (2013). “Procedural fairness, swift and certain sanctions: Integrating the domestic violence docket,” Williamsburg: National Center for State Courts. ncsc.org/~/media/microsites/files/future%20trends%202013/06202013-procedural-fairness-swift-and-certain-sanctions-integrating-the-domestic-violence-docket.ashx
An outcomes evaluation of an SCF-supervision docket for domestic-violence offenders in Bennington County, Vermont. A multiple-regression analysis, comparing SCF participants with domestic-violence offenders in Bennington County on other District Court dockets and with domestic-violence offenders statewide. SCF participants were 31% less likely to be convicted of a new offense than others in Bennington County, and equally likely to commit a technical violation.
Cissner, A.B., Hauser, R.T, & Abbasi, N. (2016). “The Windham County Integrated Domestic Violence Docket: A process evaluation of Vermont’s second domestic violence court,” New York: Center for Court Innovation. courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/documents/DV_Vermont.pdf
A process evaluation of an SCF-supervision docket for domestic-violence offenders in Windham County, Vermont. Most stakeholders felt that SCF sanctions were key to holding participants accountable, and that the judge played a key role in making SCF sanctions an effective deterrent.
Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. (2016) “Immediate Sanction Probation pilot program evaluation,” Richmond: VCSC. vcsc.virginia.gov/Immediate%20Sanction%20Probation%20Pilot%20Program%20Evaluation%20-%20Final%2012-20-2016.pdf
An outcomes, process, and cost evaluation of SCF probation in four cities/counties in Virginia. A quasi-experimental design (two-stage propensity-score matched comparison group). At one-year followup, SCF participants were 65% less likely to have been rearrested for a felony and 27% more likely to have been revoked; of those revoked, SCF participants were three times as likely to receive a prison sentence. The process evaluation found that fidelity to the prescribed SCF model was inconsistent across the four sites, and the cost evaluation found that SCF probation was considerably more expensive, principally due to incarceration costs on revocation.
Washington, DC DIP
Harrell, A., Cavanagh, S., & Roman, J. (1998). “Findings from the evaluation of the D.C. Superior Court Drug Intervention Program,” Washington: The Urban Institute. urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/66316/409041-Findings-from-the-Evaluation-of-the-D-C-Superior-Court-Drug-Intervention-Program.PDF
An outcomes evaluation of SCF pre-sentencing supervision for drug-felony defendants in Washington, D.C. A three-arm randomized controlled trial, N=1022, comparing SCF against a standard docket and a treatment docket. There were no differences in rearrests among the groups.
Washington State WISP
Hawken, A. & Kleiman, M. (2011). “Washington Intensive Supervision Program evaluation report,” Seattle: Seattle City Council. scfcenter.org/resources/Research/201112%20Washington%20Intensive%20Supervision%20Program%20Evaluation%20Report.pdf
An outcomes and process evaluation of SCF parole in Seattle. A randomized controlled trial, N=70. At six-month followup, SCF participants had 67% fewer positive drug tests, and more confinement episodes but 46% fewer total days served.
Washington State SAC
Hamilton, Z., van Wormer, J., Kigerl, A., Campbell, C., & Posey, B. (2015). “Evaluation of Washington State Department of Corrections (WADOC) Swift and Certain (SAC) policy process, outcome and cost-benefit evaluation,” Pullman, Wash.: Washington State University. wsicj.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/436/2015/11/SAC-Final-Report_2015-08-31.pdf
Hamilton, Z., Campbell, C., van Wormer, J., Kigerl, A., & Posey, B. (2016). “Impact of Swift and Certain sanctions: Evaluation of Washington State’s policy for offenders on community supervision,” Criminology & Public Policy, 15(4):1009–1072. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-9133.12245/epdf [paywalled]
An outcomes, process, and benefit-cost evaluation of SCF felony community supervision in Washington State. A quasi-experimental design (pre/post, historically propensity-score matched comparison group). Under SCF, at one-year followup participants were 20% less likely to have a new conviction, 30% less likely to have a new violent felony conviction, less likely to commit technical violations, and more likely to make use of treatment programs, and they incurred lower correctional costs. The process evaluation notes the importance of a data-driven mid-course policy change on responding to absconding, and that stakeholders felt that SCF might not be appropriate for offenders with active addictions or significant mental-health conditions. The benefit-cost evaluation found a benefit:cost ratio of 16:1.
Hawken, A., Davenport, S., & Kleiman, M.A.R. (2014). “Managing drug-involved offenders: Evaluation report,” NCJ 247315, Washington: National Institute of Justice. ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/247315.pdf
A comparison of approaches including SCF, with a review of the literature.
Hawken, A. (2016). “All implementation is local,” Criminology & Public Policy, 15(4):1229–1239. scfcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Hawken-All-Implementation-is-Local-C-and-PP-2016.pdf
A commentary on several recent SCF research papers [Hamilton, et al. (2016), Lattimore, et al. (2016), and O’Connell, et al. (2016)], with a review of the literature for context.
Sentencing Advisory Council (2017). “Swift, certain and fair approaches to sentencing family violence offenders: Discussion paper,” Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/SwiftCertainAndFairApproachesToSentencing.pdf
Includes a literature review and comparison of SCF implementations in the United States.
Bartels, L. (2017). Swift, Certain and Fair: Does Project HOPE Provide a Therapeutic Paradigm for Managing Offenders? Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. palgrave.com/us/book/9783319584447 [paywalled]
A book on SCF felony probation in Hawai‘i, with outcomes comparisons to other SCF implementations.
Kulick, J. & Hawken, A. (2017). “Swift, certain, and fair: Review of state of knowledge,” Perspectives, 41(3):34–41. appa-net.org/Perspectives/Perspectives_V41_N3.pdf
A review of recent SCF research.
Cullen, F.T., Pratt, T.C., Turanovic, J.J., & Butler, L. (2018). When bad news arrives: Project HOPE in a post-factual world,” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 34(1):13–34. journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1043986217750424 [paywalled]
A critique of SCF, with a meta-analysis of SCF evaluations.