Community Corrections44


Corrections in the Community.

© 2011, Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 267

Chapter 10

If punishment makes not the will supple it hardens the offender. —John Locke

The effects of our actions may be postponed but they are never lost. There is an inevitable reward for good deeds and an inescapable punishment for bad. Mediate this truth, and seek always to earn good wages from destiny.

—Wu Ming Fu

INterMeDIate SaNCtIONS No discussion of contemporary probation would be complete without exam- ining the development and application of intermediate sanctions. Faced with overcrowded prison and jail systems, criminal justice professionals and policy makers are being forced to search for alternative ways to sanction and control criminal offenders.

A host of intermediate sanctions designed to treat the criminal offender in the community have been developed and implemented. The intermediate punishments described in this chapter include electronic monitoring, house arrest, community service, day-reporting centers, intensive supervision, drug

Intermediate Sanctions

boot camp programs

community service


day-reporting centers


drug courts




home detention

intensive supervised


intermediate sanctions

net widening

shock incarceration

Key terMS

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courts, and boot camps. The purposes of these intermedi- ate interventions are to provide correctional alternatives to confinement.

The U.S. Department of Justice (1990:3) defines intermedi- ate sanctioning as “a punishment option that is considered on a continuum to fall between traditional probation and tra- ditional incarceration.” Intermediate sanctions were largely developed out of the need to relieve prison crowding1 and sat- isfy the general public’s desire for new correctional alterna- tives. Thus, policy makers began to experiment with programs to punish, control, and reform offenders in the community. Figure 10.1 shows the percentage of probationers under sev- eral different types of sanctions. More than 10 percent are under some form of supervision other than regular. Two major issues confronting intermediate sanctions are (1) offender diversion and (2) public safety.

the NeeD FOr INterMeDIate SaNCtIONS With prison and jail populations at an all-time high, most states have acknowl- edged that they will not be able to build their way out of the crisis. It should also be noted that the national annual incarceration expense for a single pris- oner is more than $25,000. Furthermore, with more than 76 percent of correc- tional agencies at or exceeding capacity, it is unlikely that there will be relief in the near future. Alternatives to long-term confinement are a necessity.

Figure 10.1 Probationers and parolees under different types of supervision. Source: Camp & Camp (2003).

1Blumstein argues that the nation has not to date been able to meet the demand for additional prisons to build their way out of the crowding crisis. Blumstein (1995). See also Garland (2001).

Intensive 5%

Regular 89%

Special 5%Electronic


Intermediate sanctions, ranging in severity from day fines to “boot camps,” are interventions that are beginning to fill the sentencing gap between prison at one extreme and probation at the other. Lengthy prison terms may be inappropriate for some offenders; for others, probation may be too inconsequential and may not provide the degree of public supervision necessary to ensure public safety. By expanding sentencing options, intermediate sanctions enable the criminal justice system to tailor punishment more closely to the nature of the crime and the criminal. An appropriate range of punishments makes it possible for the system to hold offend- ers strictly accountable for their actions.

BOx 10.1 INterMeDIate SaNCtIONS

Source: Gowdy (1993).

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Despite the ever-increasing cost of incarceration, it is necessary for alternative sanctions to gain public, legislative, and judicial support (Finn, 1991). To earn sufficient support, an alternative to confinement must “be perceived as rea- sonably safe; address the public’s desire for punishment through community control, nonpaid labor, and victim restitution; and offer an opportunity for positive change by providing treatment and employment skills” (American Correctional Association, 1990:2).

INteNSIVe SUperVISION The most widely used community-based intermediate sanction that attempts to meet the aforementioned criteria is intensive supervision. Intensive supervi- sion is most often viewed as an alternative to incarceration. Persons who are sentenced to intensive probation supervision are supposed to be those offend- ers who, in the absence of intensive supervision, would have been sentenced to imprisonment. However, intensive supervision is hardly a new idea. Previous programs of intensive supervision carried the common goal of maintaining public safety, but varied from the “new generation” of intensive supervision programs (ISPs) in very fundamental ways (Latessa, 1986).

Early versions of intensive supervision were based on the idea that increased client contact would enhance rehabilitation while allowing for greater client control. For example, California’s Special Intensive Parole Unit experiments in the 1950s and the San Francisco Project in the 1960s were designed as intensive supervision, but they emphasized rehabilitation as the main goal. Later, with rehabilitation still as the main objective, experiments were “undertaken to determine the ‘best’ case- load size for the community supervision, despite the illogic of the proposition that a magical ‘best’ number could be found” (McCarthy, 1987:33). Nevertheless, the failure of these experiments to produce results fueled two decades’ worth of cynicism about the general utility of community-based methods.

Burkhart (1986) and Pearson (1987) contend that today’s ISPs emphasize pun- ishment of the offender and control of the offender in the community at least as much as they do rehabilitation. Further, contemporary programs are designed to meet the primary goal of easing the burden of prison overcrowding.

Intensive supervision programs are usually classified as prison diversion, enhanced probation, and enhanced parole. Each has a different goal. Diversion is commonly referred to as a “front door” program because its goal is to limit the number of offenders entering prison. Prison diversion programs generally identify incoming, lower-risk inmates to participate in an ISP in the community as a substitute for a prison term.

BOx 10.2 typeS OF ISps


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Figure 10.2 illustrates differences between the objectives of the original exper- iments with intensive supervision and the so-called “new-generation” pro- grams. Early models were successful at accomplishing smaller caseloads and delivering more contacts and services; however, reductions in recidivism never materialized. Similarly, the more recent programs have reduced caseloads and significantly increased control and surveillance but have not had an apprecia- ble impact directly on prison populations.2

Today, no two jurisdictions define intensive supervision in exactly the same way. However, one characteristic of all ISPs is that they provide for very strict terms of probation. As Jones (1991:1) points out: “Their common feature is that more control is to be exerted over the offender than that described as

2Not all new generation ISP programs have abandoned the treatment approach. See Clear and Latessa (1993). The American Probation and Parole Association is working with several states to modify their ISP programs from a control/surveillance orientation to one more treatment focused (

enhancement programs generally select already sentenced probationers and parolees and subject them to closer supervision in the community than regular probation or parole. People placed in ISP-enhanced probation or enhanced parole programs show evidence of failure under routine supervision or have committed serious offenses deemed too serious for supervision on routine caseloads. Treatment and service components in the ISPs included drug and alcohol counseling, employ- ment, community service, and payment of restitution. On many of these measures, ISP offend- ers participated more than control members; participation in such programs was found to be correlated with a reduction in recidivism. …

BOx 10.2 typeS OF ISps—Cont’d

Source: Petersilia and Turner (1993).

Figure 10.2 Models of ISP programs.

Early ISP Program Model: Smaller caseloads

New Generation ISP Program Model: Smaller caseloads

Increased contacts

Improved treatment & service delivery

Reduced recidivism

Increased contacts

Improved surveillance & control

Reduced prison population

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probation in that jurisdiction and that often these extra control mechanisms involve restrictions on liberty of movement, coercion into treatment programs, employment obligations, or all three.” This increased level of control is usu- ally achieved through reduced caseloads, increased number of contacts, and a range of required activities for participating offenders that can include vic- tim restitution, community service, employment, random testing for substance abuse, electronic monitoring, and payment of a probation supervision fee.

Intensive supervision programs vary in terms of the number and type of con- tacts per month, caseload size, type of surveillance conducted, and services offered. In addition, programs vary depending on whether they are staffed by specially trained officers or regular probation officers, and whether an officer “team” approach is used.

A survey conducted by Bryne (1986) on the use of intensive supervision in the United States found that “the numbers of direct personal contacts required ranged from 2 per month to 7 per week. Some programs have specified no curfew checks, while others specified three curfew checks per week” (Pearson, 1987:15). Ideally, supervising officers provide monitoring with a reduced case- load of about 15 offenders per officer. Yet, most officers carry caseloads of nearly 25 offenders. Offender entry into an intensive supervision program may be the decision of the sentencing judge, a parole board, a prison release board, or probation agency.

Table 10.1 shows some of the variation among selected ISPs. The types of cli- ents served, the number of contacts made each month, and the recidivism rates vary greatly from program to program.

Many ISPs have revealed an increase in technical violations for ISP offenders as compared to offenders placed in other sentencing options, but no signifi- cant increase in the new offense rate (Erwin, 1987; Petersilia & Turner, 1993; Wagner & Baird, 1993). Most evaluations, however, suggest that increased con- tact alone does not make a difference in terms of overall recidivism rates. In a study of ISPs in Ohio, Latessa, Travis, and Holsinger (1997) found that offend- ers in ISPs were less likely to be rearrested than offenders under other forms of correctional supervision; however, they were more likely to be subsequently incarcerated. The researchers attributed this higher failure rate to revocations for probation violations. Latessa and colleagues also concluded that ISPs in Ohio were saving the state money as compared to the cost of incarceration.

As currently designed, many ISPs fail to produce significant reductions in recidivism or alleviate prison overcrowding. There does, however, appear to be a relationship between greater participation in treatment programs and lower failure rates (Johnson & Hunter, 1992, Jolin & Stipak, 1992; Paparozzi, no date; Pearson, 1987; Petersilia & Turner, 1993). This is one of the important issues

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table 10.1 Intensive Supervision Probation/Parole

Author and year Site Sample Control groups Contacts Recidivism

Jolin and Stipak (1991)

Oregon N = 70 Drug Users

100 on EM 100 on work release Stratified random sample matched on risk

5 counseling per week & 3 self-help per week, plus curfew & EM

47%ISP 32% EM 33% WR

Erwin (1987) Georgia N = 200 randomly selected from ISP

N = 200 probationers N = 97 prison releasees Matched samples

5 per week ISP 40% ISP 35.5% Probation 57.8% Prison

Pearson (1987) New Jersey N = 554 parolees N = 510 20 per month 24.7% ISP 34.6% CG

Byrne and Kelly (1989)

Massachusetts N = 227 High-Risk Probationers

N = 834 ISP Eligible offenders plus a 35% random sample of all offenders under supervision (N = 2543)

10 month ISP 2 month Probation

56.6% ISP 60.9% Probation

Latessa (1993a) Ohio All offenders in specialized ISP Units Alcohol = 140 Drug = 121 Sex = 64 Mental = 76

N = 424 regular probationers randomly selected

6 month Alcohol & Drug 4.5 month Sex & Mental Health 1 month comparisoon

42% Alcohol 59% Drug 22% Sex 27% MH 46% Probation

Latessa (1992) Ohio N = 82 ISP randomly selected

N = 101 randomly selected from regular probation

7.5 month ISP 2.2 month Prob

28% ISP 21% Probation

Latessa (1993b) Ohio N = 317ISP N = 502 High Risk ISP

N = 424 randomly selected from regular probation

4 month ISP 3 month High Risk 2 month Prob

35% ISP 43% High 34% Probation

Fallen Apperson, Holt-Milligan, and Roe (1981)

Washington N = 289 Low Risk parolees

N = 102 matched parolees

4 per month 32.9% ISP 46.9% CG

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Contra-Costra N = 170 Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

12 per month 29% ISP 27% CG

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Los Angles N = 152 Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

24 per month 32% ISP 30% CG

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Seattle N = 173 Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

12 per month 46% ISP 36% CG

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Ventura N = 166 Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

24 per month 32% ISP 53% CG

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Intensive Supervision 273

facing intensive supervision. In an article summarizing the state of ISPs, Fulton, Latessa, Stichman, and Travis (1997:72) made the following conclusions:

n Intensive supervision programs have failed to alleviate prison crowding. n Most ISP studies have found no significant differences between recidivism rates of ISP

offenders and offenders with comparison groups. n There appears to be a relationship between greater participation in treatment and

employment programs and lower recidivism rates.

Author & Year Site Sample Control Groups Contacts Recidivism

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Atlanta N = 50 Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

20 per month 12% ISP 4% CG

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Macon N = 50 Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

20 per month 42% ISP 38% CG

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Santa Fe N = 58 Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

20 per month 48% ISP 28% CG

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Dallas N = 221 parolees Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

16 per month 39% ISP 30% CG

Petersilia and Turner (1993)

Houston N = 458 parolees Randomly selected offenders placed in prison, probation, or parole

10 per month 44% ISP 40% CG

Latessa, Travis, Fulton, and Stichman (1998)

Iowa and Northeastern state

N = 401 Selected from urban probation department and rural probation and parole caseload

Varied 39% ISP 40% CG

Robertson, Grimes, and Rogers (2001)

Mississippi N = 153 Juvenile offenders placed on intensive probation, monitoring on regular probation, or counselling with cognitive-behavioral (CB) therapy

12 months Benefit-cost ratio of subjects receiving CB therapy was almost twice that of intensive supervision and monitoring.

Source: Compiled by authors.

table 10.1—continued

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n Intensive supervision programs appear to be more effective than regular supervision or prison in meeting offenders’ needs.

n Intensive supervision programs that reflect certain principles of effective intervention are associated with lower rates of recidivism.

n Intensive supervision programs provide intermediate punishment.

n Although ISPs are less expensive than prison, they are more expensive than originally thought.

Issues in Intensive Supervision

Intensive supervision, as a technique for increasing control over offenders in the community (and thereby reducing risk), has gained wide popularity.3 As of 1990, all states, plus the federal system, had some kind of intensive super- vision program in place. This widespread acceptance has provided states with the needed continuum of sentencing options so that offenders are being held accountable for their crimes while, at the same time, public safety is being maintained. This popularity of intensive supervision has generated much research, thereby raising several issues.

Current issues largely revolve around the effectiveness of intensive supervision. However, measures of success vary depending on the stated goals and objectives each program set out to address.4 For instance, goals of a treatment-oriented program differ from goals of a program that places emphasis on offender pun- ishment and control. However, it is possible to isolate two overriding themes of recent ISPs that raise several issues. First, “intensive probation supervision is expected to divert offenders from incarceration in order to alleviate prison overcrowding,5 avoid the exorbitant costs of building and sustaining prisons, and prevent the stultifying and stigmatizing effects of imprisonment” (Byrne, Lurigio, & Baird, 1989:10). Second, ISPs are expected to promote public safety through surveillance strategies while promoting a sense of responsibility and accountability through probation fees, restitution, and community service activities (Byrne et al., 1989). These goals generate issues regarding the ability of ISP programs to reduce recidivism, divert offenders from prison, and ensure public safety.

3Byrne and Taxman (1994). See also Cullen, Van Voorhis, and Sundt (1996). 4Fulton, Stone, and Gendreau (1994). See also Cullen and Gendreau (2000).

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Intensive Supervision 275

In a recent study of ISP, Lowenkamp, Flores, Holsinger, Makarios, and Latessa (2010) examined program philosophy and recidivism rates. They found that ISP programs that were “deterrence”- or control-oriented actually increased recidivism rates, whereas human service-oriented programs reduced recidi- vism. These results can be seen in Figure 10.3.

The debate over control versus treatment has raged for many years. In recent years, there has been a movement, initiated by the American Probation and Parole Association, to develop a more balanced approach to ISP supervision (Fulton, Gendreau, & Paparozzi, 1996; Fulton, Stone, & Gendreau, 1994). This approach continues to support strict conditions and supervision prac- tices, but within the context of more services, and higher-quality treatment. Indeed, it appears that if ISP is going to live up to its promises, a new model must be developed.

5For example, Whitehead, Miller, and Myers (1995) found that intensive probation in Tennessee resulted in both diversion and net widening. They argued that if diversion is the only objective of intensive probation then the efforts might be misguided. See Whitehead et al. (1995). See also Bonta, Wallace-Capretta, and Rooney (2000).

Figure 10.3 Average change in recidivism for ISP programs by program philosophy. Source: Lowenkamp et al. (2010).

0.01 0.06








All (N = 58) Human service (N = 42)

Deterrence (N = 16)

Reductions in recidivism

Increased recidivism

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Day-repOrtING CeNterS Unlike many other intermediate sanction alternatives, day reporting is of rel- atively recent vintage. While day reporting was used earlier in England, the first day-reporting program in the United States was opened in Massachusetts in 1986 (McDevitt, 1988). This inaugural program was designed as an early release from prison and jail placement for inmates approaching their parole or discharge date. Participants in the program were required to report to the cen- ter each day (hence the name, “day reporting”), prepare an itinerary for their next day’s activities, and report by telephone to the center throughout the day (Larivee, 1990). By 1992, there were six day-reporting centers in operation in Massachusetts with average daily populations ranging from 30 to more than 100 offenders.

Parent (1990) reported that by the late 1980s, day-reporting programs were operational in six states, and many more states were considering the option. The characteristics of these programs and the clients they served varied con- siderably. As McDevitt and Miliano (1992:153) noted, “Although all centers have similar program elements, such as frequent client contact, formalized scheduling, and drug testing, the operations of different DRCs (day-reporting centers) are quite varied. Therefore, it is difficult to define specifically what a day reporting center is; each center is unique.”

In describing the development of day-reporting centers in Massachusetts, Larivee (1990) noted that these centers were created for the purpose of divert- ing offenders from confinement in local jails. Offenders live at home, but must report once each day to the center and are in telephone contact with the center four times each day. By 1990, there were seven centers serving eight counties

Certain persons on pretrial release, probation, or parole are required to appear at day-reporting centers on a frequent and regular basis in order to participate in services or activities provided by the center or other community agencies. Failure to report or participate is a violation that could cause revocation of conditional release or community supervision. Reports indicate that offenders in these programs must not only physically report to their cen- ters daily but also provide a schedule of planned activities and to participate in designated activities. In addition, offenders must call the centers by phone throughout the day; they can also expect random phone checks by center staff both during the day and at home following curfew. In some programs, offenders must contact their respective centers an average of 60 times weekly and, in all but one, take random drug tests.

Source: Gowdy (1993).

BOx 10.3 Day-repOrtING CeNterS

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277Day-Reporting Centers

and the state department of corrections. An evaluation of Massachusetts day- reporting centers reported that more than two-thirds of day-reporting clients completed programs successfully and only two percent were returned to prison or jail for new crimes or escape (Curtin, 1990). An earlier evaluation of the Hampden County center (the first opened) reported more than 80 percent successful completion of the program and only one percent arrested for a new crime while in the program. Larivee concluded about the Massachusetts day- reporting centers, “Every client in a day-reporting center program would other- wise be incarcerated; additionally, no client is held in the center longer than he or she would be kept in jail … Only four percent of the clients were arrested for a new crime or escape, and none committed a violent offense.”

Parent (1990) reported an assessment of 14 day-reporting centers known to be in operation in 1989. Only three of the centers were operated by public agencies, with the other 11 being administered by private, nonprofit organi- zations. Programs ranged in capacity from 10 offenders to 150, with most being able to accommodate 50 or fewer. A survey of these centers revealed that successful completion of programs varied greatly by center and by type of client. Probation and parole violators and those who had been denied discre- tionary parole release had successful completion rates of about one-third or less, whereas offenders received from institutional work release programs or diverted from jail had completion rates in excess of two-thirds (Parent, 1990). The survey also reported a range in center costs from less than $8 per day per offender to more than $50 per day. The mean cost was nearly $15 per day.

In 1993, Parent, Byrne, Tsarfaty, Valade, and Esselman (1995) replicated this survey, this time contacting 114 day-reporting centers operating in 22 states. Fifty-four of these programs responded to the survey. Most of these respond- ing programs indicated that they had opened after 1991. Most centers were still operated by private, nonprofit organizations and there was still a wide variety in services, programming, and contact requirements. Newer centers, however, were more likely to be operated by public agencies than older ones.

When asked to identify goals of their day-reporting center, respondents to the survey identified four purposes of the programs. The most important purpose, according to respondents, was to provide offenders with access to treatment services. Second most important was to reduce jail and prison crowding. Additional program goals included building political support for the program and the provision of surveillance/public safety.

The survey revealed wide variation in day-reporting center organizations, pop- ulations, costs, and effectiveness. Most centers were operated at the local level by agencies affiliated with the courts. Newer day-reporting centers were likely to serve a preimprisonment population, whereas older centers primarily super- vised offenders released from incarceration. Day-reporting center populations

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included pretrial releasees, offenders diverted from imprisonment, probation and parole violators, and newly released prison and jail inmates. As Parent and colleagues observed (1995:22), “The average negative termination rate for all such programs is 50 percent, with a wide distribution that ranges from 14 to 86 percent.” They found that characteristics of the day-reporting programs were correlated with higher rates of negative termination. The survey did not provide any information specifically concerning the rearrest rates of program partici- pants. Rather, “negative termination” refers to offenders removed from the pro- gram for rule violations, which would include the commission of a new crime.

Centers operated by private agencies were more likely to have high negative termination rates than those operated by public agencies. Those centers offer- ing more services and those using curfews had higher rates of negative termina- tions. Finally, policies toward violations of center rules were related to rates of negative termination. As would be expected, those centers with stricter policies and fewer alternatives within the program were more likely to experience high rates of negative terminations. It may also be that changes in day- reporting populations to include a variety of offender types and an increase in the num- ber of expectations and conditions placed on these offenders (drug testing, mandatory treatment attendance, community service, curfews, etc.) combined to increase the likelihood of program failure. A final correlate of higher rates of negative terminations was line staff turnover. Programs that experienced higher rates of staff turnover also had higher rates of negative terminations. However, “… it is not clear which characteristic influences the other,” as Parent et al. (1995:22) note.

Day-reporting programs offered a variety of services to program participants. Most centers offered job skills, drug abuse education, group and individual counseling, job placement, education, life-skills training, and drug treatment. While most services were provided in-house, it was common for drug treat- ment programs to be offered by providers not located at the day-reporting center. A trend noted in the survey was the tendency for newer, public pro- grams to colocate social service programs with the day-reporting program. The most common in-house programs (those offered at more than three- quarters of the centers) were job-seeking skills, group counseling, and life-skills training.

Community service requires that the offender complete some task that helps the community. It is considered a form of restitution, with labor rather than money being supplied. Common …