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Strategies for Effective Parole Supervision: Ohio's Graduated Sanction Guidelines

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 71 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 106-107
Date Published
December 2009
2 pages
Publication Series

This article examines the effect of Ohio's parole violation sanction guidelines and grid system, which went into effect in July 2005 in order to provide for a more structured system that dictates specific responses to specific types of parolee misconduct.


The grid determines sanctions by assessing the offender's history, risk level, and number of previous violations. The violation grid limits the use of temporary jail detention and increases the proportionality of sanction responses. The objectives of the sanction guidelines and violation grid are to increase the use of risk-based decisionmaking and create consistent, fair, and effective sanctioning. In testing whether these objectives have been achieved, researchers at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) compared offender outcomes across two groups of post-prison offenders placed on supervision before and after the guidelines and grid system went into effect. The study's results suggest that the use of a violation grid can be effective and cost-efficient, at least when used with high-risk parolees. Results suggest that use of the violation grid significantly reduced reliance on revocation hearings and sanctions and kept offenders out of local jails. In addition, offenders were less likely to return to prison for technical violations under the new guidelines. Significantly, the study found variation in the effectiveness of different types of sanctions before and after implementation of the guidelines. Community-based referrals and treatment interventions helped offenders more than punitive sanctions. Further, the use of these program sanctions and referrals helped to reduce reoffending when used in conjunction with the violation grid, especially when managing high-risk offenders.

Date Published: December 1, 2009