An Evaluation of the New Jersey Swift-Certain-Fair Parole Randomized Controlled Trial
Objective: Due to high rates of opioid overdose among parolees in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, NJ, the State Parole Board (SPB) initiated a supervision regime that paired swift-certain-fair responses with services. This research evaluates the effects of this program on overdose, new crimes committed, and revocation.
Data/Methods: Eligible parolees were randomized into the control or treatment conditions, and administrative data were collected by SPB staff. Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard models and logistic regression.
Results: The study fell short of its enrollment goal and is underpowered. Still, evidence suggests that although rates of positive drug screenings were similar across groups, fewer treatment participants returned to prison in the follow-up period. Furthermore, the return to prison time for treatment participants was longer than that for control participants, suggesting they were able to utilize the services to a greater benefit.
Conclusions/Implications: In this iteration of SCF, certain responses included treatment and support. SPB’s preference for mild but certain punishments rather than revocation may have kept clients out of prison longer, giving them time to change behavior through use of services. Constant and predictable contact allowed service providers and agents to predict relapse and preempt overdose.