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Effects of Low-Intensity Supervision for Lower-Risk Probationers: Updated Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 35 Issue: 2 Dated: July 2012 Pages: 200-220
Geoffrey C. Barnes; Jordan M. Hyatt; Lindsay C. Ahlman; Daniel T. L. Kent
Date Published
July 2012
21 pages
This paper explores the effects of reduced supervision intensity for probationers.
This paper explores the effects of reduced supervision intensity for probationers who were identified, using a random forest forecasting model, as presenting a low risk of committing new serious offenses. It expands on previously reported results of the Philadelphia Low Intensity Community Supervision Experiment, a randomized controlled trial performed from 2007 through 2008. The authors updated their previous 1-year recidivism results to include 18 months of follow-up data, and assess additional measures that were not available in earlier analyses, including drug-testing results, officer contact compliance, probation violations, and absconding from supervision. The updated analysis affirms previous findings, showing that reduced supervision intensity does not increase the prevalence or frequency of new offending by low-risk probationers, and does not appear to result in any additional threats to public safety. The authors conclude that low-intensity supervision, when used in concert with valid and reliable risk forecasting, offers community supervision agencies a powerful tool for managing large offender populations, allowing the agencies to focus scarce resources on higher-risk offenders and perhaps reduce administrative costs. Further research is needed to quantify the exact cost reductions, and to determine the best means of supervising offenders whose risk level makes them ineligible for low-intensity supervision. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.