Due to its cost-effectiveness and the multifaceted goals of SCF policies, rather than reject such policies altogether, it would behoove researchers, public policy makers, and corrections agencies to better understand the circumstances in which SCF works best to modify and improve its level of effectiveness. Some have noted that “SCF is not a single, homogeneous, manualized ‘program-in-a-box’ that can be implemented in any jurisdiction or with any population” (Kleiman, 2016, p. 1188), and further, Hawken (2016) states that “we are learning even more about the dos and don’ts of implementation” (p. 1236). Variation in SCF effectiveness may be attributed to a variety of reasons. For example, most SCF policies have focused on probation populations, but some have been implemented on parole populations (Hamilton, Campbell, van Wormer, Kigerl, & Posey, 2016; O’Connell et al., 2011) and population heterogeneity could affect the level of effectiveness of SCF given the substantial research evidence that exists supporting the risk principle (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). Variation also arises from the entity that is responsible for the violation process (Hawken, 2016). Under the original HOPE model, the judge plays the central role of administering violations; however, in Washington State, the executive branch has control. Due to the inherent nature of procedural justice to consequentially affect how swift offender violations are responded to (Cook, 2016), it is worthwhile to further explore how the violation entity affects the bottom-line effectiveness of SCF policies. Finally, it would be remiss if program fidelity were not considered more thoroughly in terms of impact on effectiveness (Barnoski, 2004; Bonta, Rugge, Scott, Bourgon, & Yessine, 2008; Lowenkamp, Latessa, & Smith, 2006). Results from the recent multisite study by Lattimore et al. (2016) show that the SCF policy in Texas adhered to quality assurance standards more so than the other sites and had better results; yet, they did not completely adhere to those standards. Perhaps, certain offices or officers are far more effective at delivering SCF with fidelity and others have iatrogenic effects.
Posted on by Kelly Smith