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Community Supervision in a Digital World: Challenges and Opportunities

NCJ Number
Joe Russo ; Michael J. D. Vermeer ; Dulani Woods ; Brian A. Jackson
Date Published

This is a report on a virtual workshop held in June 2020 to discuss the challenges related to supervising probationers and parolees in an increasingly digital world.


The workshop was supported by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in partnership with the University of Denver. Participants identified 23 needs for discussion that were divided into five categories: organizational issues, tools and training, policy and practice, legal and privacy concerns, and research. Key findings are presented in this report: 1) The field of community supervision lacks adequate guidance on establishing the capacity of digital management; 2) Officers need a clear way to identify supervisees’ cyber risk; 3) Every community officer should have at least a rudimentary level of knowledge and skills related to digital management of supervisees; and 4) Community supervision agencies will differ in how they management supervisees’ patterns of digital use. Recommendations are offered, including the development of case studies that promote the benefits of partnerships with external resources that facilitate constructive use of digital equipment among supervisees. Also recommended is the establishment of a standard national training curriculum on the risks of the use of digital equipment by supervisees and how to manage those risks.