Safer Policy Institute Partner Corner
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Recidivism Reconsidered: Preserving the Community Justice Mission of Community Corrections
Jeffrey A. Butts and Vincent Schiraldi, Executive Session on Community Corrections, Harvard Kennedy School, March 2018
Excerpt: Recidivism is not a comprehensive measure of success for criminal justice in general or for community corrections specifically. When used to judge the effects of justice interventions on behavior, the concept of recidivism may even be harmful, as it often reinforces the racial and class biases underlying much of the justice system. We encourage justice systems to rely on more flexible and more responsive outcome measures. Community correct ions agencies should encourage policymakers to rely on outcomes related to criminal desistance and the social integration of people on probation or parole. Measures focused on social development and community well-being are more useful for evaluating the effects of justice interventions, and they are less likely to distort policy discussions. 

Using time to reduce crime: Federal Prisoner Survey Results Show Ways to Reduce Recidivism
Kevin Ring and Molly Gill, Families Against Mandatory Minimum (FAMM), May 31 2017
This report contains the findings of the first-ever independent survey of federal prisoners, which focused on the type and quality of educational and vocational training programs, as well as substance abuse and mental health treatment, currently available in America’s federal prisons. “Using Time to Reduce Crime: Federal Prisoner Survey Results Show Ways to Reduce Recidivism” offers unique insights from inside federal prisons and includes 13 recommendations for reform.

Highlights from the U.S. PIACC Survey of Incarcerated Adults: Their Skills, Work Experience, Education, and Training
National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education, November 2016

This report compares education, training levels and cognitive skills among incarcerated adults with those of the general population. It examines the skills of incarcerated adults in relationship to their work experiences and to their education and training in prison. The findings were drawn from a sample of 1,546 inmates across 98 participating prisons.

Program Profile: Effects of Information Letters on Paying Restitution (Pennsylvania), National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Program, August 1 2016
National Institute of Justice's rates as "promising" the use of monthly information letters and reminders in bringing probationers to pay court-ordered restitution.

Missouri Policy Shortens Probation and Parole Terms, Protects Public Safety
The Pew Charitable Trusts, August 2016
The impact of Missouri's "earned compliance credits" policy (established in 2012) on the total supervised population, duration of supervision and public safety are discussed. The earned compliance credits policy allows qualifying individuals to shorten to shorten their probation or parole term by 30 days for every full calendar month of compliance with the conditions of their sentence. Missouri is among the least 38 states to have some form of earned discharge

Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform
Elizabeth Swavola, Kristi Riley, Ram Subramanian, Vera Institute of Justice, August 2016

The report analyzes the nature and drivers of a 14-fold increase since 1970 in the number of women jailed compared to a 5-fold increase overall. Highlighting the growing need for gender-responsive policies, it also gives examples of initiatives designed to accommodate this demographic shift.

The Downstream Consequences of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention

Paul S. Heaton, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan Stevenson, University of Pennsylvania Law School, July 14 2016
This paper uses misdemeanor data from Harris County, Texas to look at the effect of pre-trial detention on case outcomes and future crime. The study finds that detained defendants more likely plead guilty, and are imprisoned with relatively longer jail sentences. They also find evidence of detention having a criminogenic effect.

State and Local Expenditure on Corrections and Education

Stephanie Stullich, Ivy Morgan and Oliver Schak, A Brief from the U.S. Department of Education, Policies and Program Studies Service, July 2016
This brief compares the rate of growth in state and local expenditure on corrections and education for all 50 states. Between 1989-1990 to 2012-13, expenditure on prisons and jails increased at a rate thrice that of (from $17 billion to $71 billion) public PK-12 ($258 billion to $534 billion). On average higher education appropriations per full-time equivalent student fell by 28% compared to a per capita corrections increase of 44%.

The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons

Ashley Nellis, Ph.D., The Sentencing Project, June 14 2016
This report documents incarceration rates for whites, African Americans, and Hispanics in each state. It also provides racial and ethnic composition and rates of disparity by state. It identifies contributors to the disparities in imprisonment and makes recommendations for reform.

Illinois Court Assessments: Findings and Recommendations for Addressing Barriers to Access to Justice and Additional Issues Associated with Fees and Other Court Costs in Civil, Criminal, and Traffic Proceedings

Statutory Court Fee Task Force, June 1 2016
The report comes from a year of study and analysis by the Statutory Court Fee Task Force, a statutorily elected body with bipartisan representation from all three branches of Illinois' government. The Task Force was created by the Access to Justice Act to conduct a review of statutory fees and fines imposed on civil litigants and defendants in criminal and traffic proceedings and to make appropriate recommendations. 

Recidivism of Offenders Placed on Federal Community Supervision in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010
Joshua A. Markman, Matthew R. Durose, Ramona R. Rantala, Andrew D. Tiedt, PhD., Bureau of Justice Statistics, June 2016
In 2005, approximately 43,000 people were placed under federal community supervision. About three-quarters of their prior arrests were non-federal (state and local) arrests. People released from federal prison had 5.6 prior arrests on average, compared to 10.8 prior arrests for people released from state prison. About 47% of federal prisoners released to community supervision were arrested within 5 years and about 30% returned to prison, compared to 77% and 60% for nonfederal prisoners released to community supervision, respectively. For federal prisoners released to community supervision, 68% of their arrests through 2010 were non-federal. To quote the authors, "across demographic characteristics or extent of prior criminal offending, state prisoners consistently had higher rates of recidivism than federal prisoners within 5 years after release."

Overview of Federal Criminal Cases: Fiscal Year 2015

Glenn R. Schmitt and Elizabeth Jones, United States Sentencing Commission, June 2016
In the context of a decline in the number of people sentenced in federal courts, the report, based on a review of cases reported to the Commission in fiscal year 2015, provides information on federal caseload by offense category, individual characteristics (gender, race, citizenship and age), type of sentence imposed, most common crimes, organizational (corporations or partnerships) cases and sentence modifications and re-sentencing.

Aging of the State Prison Population, 1993-2013

E. Ann Carson, Ph.D. and William J. Sabol, Ph.D. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, May 19 2016
Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Corrections Reporting Program, National Prisoner Statistics program, Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities (1991 and 2004) and FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, this report examines demographic characteristics of aging state prison population and discusses factors contributing to its increase.

A SHARED SENTENCE: the devastating toll of parental incarceration on kids, families and communities

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, April 2016
With over 5 million U.S. children having experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives, this report highlights the adverse impact of parental incarceration on children’s well-being and a dearth of resources in counteracting the impact. It also provides state-wise estimates of children who experienced parental incarceration in 2011-2012 and makes common sense proposals to address the increased poverty and stress experienced by children of incarcerated parents.

Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview

Kim Steven Hunt, Ph.D. and Robert Dumville, United States Sentencing Commission, March 2016
This report provides a broad overview of key findings from the United States Sentencing Commission’s recidivism study based on 25,000 citizens serving a federal sentence. These people were either released from federal prison after serving a sentence of imprisonment or placed on a term of probation in 2005. Nearly half (49.3%) were rearrested within eight years for a new crime or a violation of conditions for supervision. Almost a third were re-convicted and a quarter re-incarcerated. Along with recidivism findings, the report also provides information on factors associated with differing rates of recidivism.

Majority of Illinoisans support criminal-justice reform

Bryant Jackson-Green, Illinois Policy Institute, Summer 2016
The results of this Illinois Policy Institute-commissioned poll confirmed public support for criminal justice reform. 500 registered voters in Illinois of different political and ideological leanings were asked about their views on a range of issues pertinent to the criminal justice system- alternatives to bail, civil asset forfeiture, re-entry, occupational licensing, diversion, sentencing and the current system. Respondents also indicated how their support for a candidate would be influenced by a candidate's position on these issues.

Crime Survivors Speak: The First-Ever National Survey of Victims’ Views on Safety and Justice

Alliance for Safety and Justice, 2016
This national-level survey of 3,165 crime- affected people reports their preferences regarding the criminal justice system’s means and goals. A general preference for rehabilitation rather than punishment is evident.

The Gavel Gap: Who Sits in Judgement on State Courts?

Tracey E. George, Albert H. Yoon, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, 2016
This report looks at the gender and racial makeup of America's state court judges.

Debtors' Prisons Redux: How Legal Loopholes Let Courts Across the Country Criminalize Poverty

Allyson Fredericksen and Linnea Lassiter, Alliance for a Just Society, December 2015
This policy brief examines the practice of charging exorbitant fees and financial penalties during court involvement even in cases involving minor infractions. These are practices implemented to the detriment of low-income racial and ethnic minorities. The brief explains how courts use loopholes to imprison people for being poor, highlights subsequent community response and shares tools to end debtors’ prisons and the criminalization of poverty.

THE WATCHDOGS: Boom in parolees hits Chicago
Mick Dumke, Chicago Sun-Times, November 21 2015
This article discusses the concentration of parolees in some of Chicago's impoverished neighborhoods. It also contains a data set on the number of Illinois Department of Corrections parolees by zip code.

Probation and Parole in the US
Danielle Kaeble, Laura M. Maruschak, and Thomas P. Bonczar, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2015
At the end of 2014, about 4.7 million adults in the US were under community supervision (or about 1 in 52 adults.) Most of this population is on probation, which is usually an alternative to incarceration, rather than parole, which is supervision following incarceration. Despite a steady increase in the parole population since 2007, the probation population decreased by 1% during the course of 2014, contributing to an overall 10% decrease in the community supervised population since 2007. Compared to 2000, there are now more women and people supervised for felony offenses in the probation population; however, the re-incarceration rate of parolees has decreased.

Coming Home to Harlem: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court
Lama Hassoun Ayoub and Tia Pooler, Center for Court Innovation, New York, October 2015
A neighborhood-based reentry program, Harlem Parole Reentry Court engages participating parolees for 6 to 9 months with a number of core elements like pre-release engagement, assessment and reentry planning, active judicial oversight, coordination of support services, graduated and judicious sanctions and positive incentives. The report provides a program overview and results from an evaluation following the implementation of evidence-based enhancements. A 22% reduction in re-conviction rate and a 60% reduction in felony re-conviction rate over an 18-month follow-up period were some of the favorable impacts.

The Illinois Juvenile Collateral Consequences Checklist: A Guide for Understanding the Consequences of Juvenile Court Involvement
Professor Carolyn E. Frazier, Children and Family Justice Center, Bluhm Legal Clinic, © Northwestern University School of Law, September 2015
The checklist describes the short and long-term collateral consequences of a juvenile delinquency adjudication in Illinois.

Improving Public Safety, Reducing Incarceration Rates & Costs By Lowering Recidivism in Illinois
Sodiqa Williams, Safer Foundation, August 2014
As states and localities are examining cost-saving measures and eliminating inefficient and costly programs, they should consider transferring funds from incarceration to community-based employment programs for diversion candidates and returning citizens. In addition, using community corrections for less serious crimes can be an effective approach in keeping Illinois’s communities safe and saving money.

Drivers of the Sentenced Population: Probation Analysis

David E. Olson, Donald Stemen, Sema Taheri, Michelle D. Mioduszewski, Kathy Saltmarsh, Margie Groot, Research Briefing, Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council, Summer 2013
This briefing analyzes the trends in Illinois’ probation rate from the 1980s through 2011 alongside the introduction of mandatory prison sentence policies as well as fluctuations in drug arrests under less serious offense classes. It includes probation statistics broken down by demographics (age, race, gender), felony offense classes, and compares Cook County with other areas of Illinois. Additionally, the analysis finds the proportion of prison admissions of people on probation has remained relatively stable at 15%.


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