From the introduction to this PDC: Probation officials across the country increasingly have to do more with less. They oversee agencies that are responsible for record numbers of people under community supervision; according to recent estimates, 1 in 45 adults in the United States are on probation or parole.i Though their budgets are being cut, probation departments are expected to improve the success rates of the increasing numbers of individuals they supervise and to reduce crime in the community by preventing reoffending. These high expectations and the intense public scrutiny that follows a high-profile failure require that probation officials revisit their agency’s goals, processes, and measures for success. he core mission of a probation department is to reduce probationer recidivism. Reviewing a growing body of knowledge and experience, experts point to four core practices that are essential to probation agencies’ success in achieving this mission.
Based on current best practices, probation departments should 1. Effectively assess probationers’ criminogenic risk and need, as well as their strengths (also known as “protective factors”); 2. Employ smart, tailored supervision strategies; 3. Use incentives and graduated sanctions to respond promptly to probationers’ behaviors; and 4. Implement performance-driven personnel management practices that promote
and reward recidivism reduction.