Ch. 12 in Enhancing Police Service Delivery
Necessary Elements of Police and Reentry Partnerships
While the intent of this chapter has been to showcase the means by which police can aid reentry by providing a supportive role that mirrors common community policing tactics, there is invariably always a need for them to ultimately arrest at least some of the offenders who return to communities. What is proposed here is focused deterrence, which is a crime control strategy that targets which identifies specific individuals who are particularly crime-prone. This focused deterrence emphasizes a classical criminology approach of swiftness, certainty, and severity (Hanser, 2019). This is, in essence, a specific deterrence approach whereby these particularly problematic offenders are selectively incapacitated (Hanser, 2019; Janetta & Lachman, 2013).
However, many more progressive partnerships make a point to emphasize the swiftness and certainty aspects of police involvement rather than the severity of punishment after arrest. This follows modern research on deterrence and also keeps from using long incarceration periods, again, as the primary response (Janetta & Lachman, 2013). The primary idea is to be swift and certain so as to catch criminal behavior early, before it has a chance to escalate, possibly aiding in keeping the offender on a reentry path rather than further incarceration. This is particularly true when one considers that for most recently returned offenders, recidivism is often most common in the first few hours, days, and months after release (Janetta & Lachman, 2013). This approach requires close collaboration between police and probation/parole officers, to determine the offender’s true likelihood of success. Obviously, some (or even many) of these higher risk offenders will simply require additional prison time. However, this approach helps to ensure that prison space is utilized for those who are truly not appropriate for reintegration efforts.