Justice Reinvestment in Pennsylvania: Seeking Ways to Reduce Recidivism[CSG] also recommended what is known as a swift, certain and fair model for parole violators. “This is the one that gets me really excited,” said Bret Bucklen, director of the Bureau of Planning, Research & Statistics at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
He said the system would trade severity for technical parole violations with swiftness and certainty of punishment. Individuals found to have committed a technical parole violation—missing an appointment with a parole officer, getting caught drinking or other behaviors that do not include arrest for a new crime—would be sentenced to a short stay in prison of less than a week.
Currently, Bucklen said those individuals can spend three to six months back in prison for a technical violation and are subject to wide discretion as to which violations will trigger a return to prison. These “quick dip” prison stays for technical violations operate under the theory that it is not the severity of a punishment that makes it effective, but the certainty and the speed with which that punishment will be imposed, Bucklen said.
He said the swift and certain model should also provide a better sense of fairness and legitimacy to the corrections system. “This is kind of a deterrence 101 approach,” Bucklen said.