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Decide Your Time: Testing Deterrence Theory's Certainty and Celerity Effects on Substance-Using Probationers

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 39 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2011 Pages: 261-267
Date Published
June 2011
7 pages

This paper examines the effectiveness of Delaware's Decide Your Time program, a theoretically built program for substance using probationers based on certainty of punishment and graduated sanctions.


The evaluation of Delaware's Decide Your Time (DYT) program found that the success of the program's implementation in a large urban probation department was dependent on the department's judicial practices, client eligibility, logistics, and cooperation with secure facilities. Other factors important to the success of the program included the willingness of program managers to listen to front-line officers, and their willingness to make changes necessary to ensuring that DYT was effective and efficient. This paper presents the results of an evaluation of DYT and reports on the theoretical development and implementation issues involved in placing such a program in a large, urban probation department. Data for the evaluation came from notes taken by participants at DYT management and staff meetings, interviews with key informants, and observational fieldwork. Analyses of the meeting notes identified complications that can arise during the initiation and implementation phases for programs such as DYT. Identification of these problems indicates the need for program managers to consider local legal structures and the policies and practices of correctional institutions, treatment providers, and probation departments when designing and executing programs similar to DYT. Figure and references

Date Published: June 1, 2011