Probation can lead to better public safety
The good news is that we have examples of state policy changes that have moved away from sweeping, boondoggle approaches to community corrections in favor of methods that deliver on the promise of public safety.
In 2010, South Carolina restructured supervision to offer appropriate responses to success and failure on supervision. For example, if an individual meets his obligations during a specified time period, he can be swiftly rewarded with a waived fee, encouraging more of that behavior. Conversely, if an individual doesn’t comply with conditions, he is given a sanction proportional with the offense. It sounds simple, but this evidence-backed approach of incentives and sanctions reduced revocations to prison due to incompliance by 46 percent. People who began supervision post-reform are 33 percent less likely to be incarcerated after one year than those supervised prior to the system change.