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The Effects of Intensive Post-Release Correctional Supervision on Recidivism: A Natural Experiment

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 32 Issue: 7 Dated: 2021 Pages: 740-763
Date Published
24 pages

The research described here had the goals of determining the effects of intensive supervision on recidivism as well as whether risk-based policies lead to better outcomes; the authors discuss their research methodology, outcomes, and implications.


In July 2018, the Minnesota Department of Corrections revised the criteria it uses to place soon-to-be-released prisoners on intensive supervision by shifting from mostly offense-based conditions to those based exclusively on risk. In doing so, this policy change provided a unique opportunity to evaluate not only the impact of intensive supervision on recidivism but also whether risk-based policies lead to better outcomes. Using Cox regression and negative binomial regression on a sample of 1,818 persons released in 2018, the authors found that intensive supervised release (ISR) significantly reduced the hazard for general, felony, and violent reoffending. They also found, however, that ISR significantly increased the risk of a technical violation revocation. The findings from the authors’ cost-benefit analysis showed that, despite the relatively high costs it incurred, ISR was a cost-effective intervention because it reduced reoffending for those with a higher risk of committing serious, violent crimes. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2021