Community corrections programs – also known as community supervision programs – oversee the majority of adults under correctional supervision in the United States.
Of the 5.5 million adults under some type of correctional supervision at the end of 2020, nearly 70 percent (3.89 million) were under community supervision—3 million on probation and the remainder on parole—according to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In comparison and as presented in Correctional Populations in the United States, 2020 – Statistical Tables, 1.69 million adults were in the custody of local jails or incarcerated in state or federal prisons at that time.
Transitioning back into the community following a period of incarceration can be challenging, for reasons ranging from substance use to lack of employment options. Corrections officials can help people navigating reentry overcome those challenges by working with community treatment organizations to match the appropriate levels of supervision and service to the right person at the right time.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance administers several programs that support efforts to improve community-based corrections rehabilitation programs and practices, including the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). A 2021 report highlighted the ways in which 17 states have used the strategies, training, and technical assistance offered through JRI to improve community supervision programs and reduce recidivism.
Digital technology offers community corrections officials new tools to monitor individuals on probation or parole and help keep them on track. Sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), a workshop of national experts in community corrections identified priority needs for leveraging technology to enhance supervision and improve outcomes for individuals on probation or parole. These priorities included officer training and well-being as well as addressing misconduct and substance use by persons under supervision.
To help inform practitioners and policymakers on best practices, NIJ's CrimeSolutions.ojp.gov reviewed numerous community corrections programs and practices, detailing what works, what doesn't, and what is promising in achieving specific outcomes.
Visit the following pages for additional community corrections resources produced or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs and other federal agencies: