• Strengthening Responses to Supervision Violations and Requiring the Use of Evidence-Based Practices In 2014, Mississippi passed comprehensive Justice Reinvestment legislation that improved key aspects of community supervision by requiring the use of a risk and needs assessment to identify and focus resources on people at the highest risk to reoffend; the development of a system of swift, certain, and proportionate sanctions for technical violations of probation and parole to change behavior and reduce revocations; and establishment of earned discharge credits to reduce caseloads and incentivize compliance with conditions of supervision.
• Concentrating Supervision Resources on Individuals at the Highest Risk to Reoffend In 2017, Louisiana passed the most comprehensive criminal justice reform package in state history through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. The legislation was designed, in part, to strengthen community supervision by reducing probation and parole officers’ caseloads and adopting evidence-based practices to address violations swiftly and proportionately.
• Identifying Effective Ways to Use Funding to Improve Community Supervision In 2015, Nebraska enacted Justice Reinvestment legislation that required the use of probation rather than incarceration for most people convicted of nonviolent, lower-level offenses; ensured post-release supervision for most people upon release from prison; and strengthened parole supervision to reduce recidivism. The state also ensured the use of swift, certain, and proportionate responses to violations of parole supervision and improved data collection and reporting across state agencies.
Strategy 1. Idaho Behavioral Matrix
The JRI statute established “a matrix of swift, certain and graduated sanctions and rewards to be imposed by the board in response to corresponding violations of or compliance with the terms or conditions imposed.”
Impact: Currently, there are two projects in progress with external entities seeking to evaluate the impact of the Idaho Response Matrix (IRM). The outcome of the evaluations will be reported on in next year’s JRI Impact report. Evaluation, however, has been complicated by several changes made within the parole violation graduated sanction process since 2014.
▪ Initially, the JRI legislation created 90- and 180- day sanctions for first and second violations prior to a revocation.
▪ In 2017, the parole sanctions were changed to a variety of different parole diversions, such as prison and jail stays, electronic monitoring, or admittance to drug court program in lieu of revocation.
▪ In late 2019, the process changed again, and rather than using different diversions, all individuals facing parole violations now have a revocation hearing, where most have their parole revoked.
Although the process has changed over time, IDOC has continued to find alternative interventions that can be used prior to probation or parole violation. There are currently four Connection and Intervention Stations (CIS) across the state and two more that will be opening soon. The CISs provide community-based resources to help increase success for those on supervision and reduce revocations.
Idaho’s Response Matrix
The IRM provides a range of rewards and sanctions that may be applied to an individual based on their risk level and identified needs. Rewards can include positive verbal feedback, certificates for completion of programming, written recognition, or a request for early discharge. Sanctions can include a verbal warning, increased substance use testing, increased reporting, discretionary jail time, or a report of violation.
The IRM is used in conjunction with motivational interviewing techniques, substance use testing, substance use treatment, focused supervision strategies, etc., with the intent of providing a range of rewards and interventions that are unique motivators for change, individualized for each person supervised in the community.
Varying perceptions exist about balancing punishment and behavior change, causing inconsistencies in how violation behaviors are handled and the threshold for revocation.
• Pretrial Detention: More than 1 Day
Increased failure-to-appear rates for low-risk individuals
Increased recidivism for low- and moderate-risk individuals
• Community Sanctions vs. Jail Sanctions Both have the same:
Time to next violation
Number of subsequent violations
Likelihood of successful completion of supervision
• Prison: Not shown to reduce recidivism
Increasing severity of punishment does little to deter crime
Certainty of being caught is more powerful deterrent than punishment
Prison may exacerbate recidivism
Recommendations for Legislation or Other Support by the Legislature:
7. Effective responses to behavior. Support the formalization of the Kansas Department of Corrections’ (KDOC’s) approach to parole and post-release supervision violations, including implementation of Effective Responses to Behavior.
D. The Supervision Workgroup recommends the Commission endorse the following legislative initiatives during the 2021 Legislative Session:
5. Formalize the use of Effective Responses to Behavior: Formalize KDOC approach to responding to violations of parole supervision. Ensure that KDOC’s strategy is maintained and supported. Track and monitor outcomes of this approach and modify the strategy as needed to adhere to evidence-based practices and increase public safety.
Kansas Parole Violation Response Legislation
Amend KSA 75-5216 to read as follows: 3 75-5216. Parole officers; duties. Parole officers shall investigate all persons referred to them for investigation by the secretary of corrections. Parole officers shall furnish to each person released under their supervision a written statement of the conditions of parole or post-release supervision and shall give instructions regarding these conditions. Parole officers shall keep informed of the conduct and condition of a parolee or inmate on post-release supervision and use all suitable methods to aid, encourage and bring about improvement in the conduct and 9 condition of such parolee or inmate or [on] post-release supervision. Parole officers shall keep detailed records of their work and shall make such reports in writing and perform such other duties as may be incidental to those above enumerated or as the secretary may require. Parole officers shall coordinate their work with that of social welfare agencies. Parole officers shall adhere to departmental guidance for intervention responses to violation behavior and incentive responses to compliant behavior and pro-social achievements.
Across all supervision types, responses to supervision violations are occurring earlier in people’s supervision terms than before JRA reforms. As part of JRA, DPS adopted graduated sanctions and trained probation and parole officers to use “swift and certain” responses for violations. Officers are encouraged to respond to violations as quickly as possible and to impose additional supervision conditions and sanctions, including increased reporting, community service, curfews, and quick dips. Responses are intended to increase in severity, with the least restrictive sanctions employed before more restrictive options (e.g., quick dips). Consequently, the average amount of time between supervision start and the first response fell from 333 days in 2011 to 197 in 2017 for people on all types of supervision who received a violation response. However, the average amount of time between supervision start and an incarceration sanction increased from 340 days before JRA for revocations to 351 days for brief jail stays, 525 days for CRV sanctions, and 521 days for revocations.
Although the imposition of CRV and revocation responses has decreased since JRA was implemented, the total number of incarceration sanctions has increased. When including quick dips—the brief periods of jail confinement now allowed through delegated authority—the total number of incarceration sanctions was higher each of the past five years than in 2011, the year in which reforms began.