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Private Sector in Corrections - Contracting Probation Services From Community Organizations

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 44 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1980) Pages: 58-64
C A Lindquist
Date Published
7 pages
Florida's Salvation Army Misdemeanor Probation Program (SAMP) serves as an example in this discussion of private sector involvement in corrections.
The purchase of probation services from the private sector occurs infrequently due to opposition from the correctional establishment. However, the SAMP provides over 90 percent of all probation supervision for adult misdemeants in Florida and serves 7,800 clients per month. The State's 1976 Salvation Army Act provides that those persons on probation or parole shall be required to contribute $10 per month to the agency providing them with supervision and rehabilitation; and a 1977 amendment allowed the Department of Offender Rehabilitation to enter into purchase of service contracts with private agencies. Using these funds, SAMP has developed services which aim at the accomplishment of four goals: (1) the prevention of future felonies by ex-offenders, (2) their successful completion of the probation program, (3) the expansion of alternatives to incarceration, and (4) the development of a cost-effective program. Often maintaining a permanent liasion officer within each county, SAMP on relies both professional correctional counselors and regular Salvation Army staff to supervise clients, serve as a referral agency, and play an active role in the area of restitution and payment of fines. Although the program's effectiveness in preventing future felonies could not be determined, a study of its accomplishments showed that only 6.3 percent of the clients did not complete their probation successfully. The program was found to be cost effective since its daily cost of supervision per client was only 37 cents, as compared to the State's 1976 cost of $1. Future possibilities for private sector involvement in corrections include that of an incentive-fee system in which private correctional corporations would receive a bonus payment for each client's lack of recidivism over a given period. Also, a framework of regulated private competition may lead to the strengthening of successful programs and the elimination of ineffective ones. A data table and over 20 references are included.