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A Supervision Policy with Scope: Revisiting Washington State's Swift-and-Certain Initiative

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As community corrections continues to move forward, the authors aim to build on the record in this chapter by describing how the swift-certain-and-fair (SCF) initiative in community corrections was implemented in Washington State, where such efforts produced favorable outcomes and cost effectiveness.


Recent efforts to make community supervision more efficient and effective while emphasizing accountability and deterrence has given rise to the implementation of so-called swift, certain and fair (SCF) approaches to supervision. However, a growing body of evidence indicates mixed results that vary in effect size and direction. With a growing number of jurisdictions looking to implement cost-effective strategies to address technical violators in particular, many officials are looking to the effects of SCF approaches as a form of behavioral triage. Revisiting those findings in Washington State, the authors highlight the investigative process and local context, and provide an update to Washington’s status in community supervision, particularly as it relates to the violator population. The authors also discuss the extant evidence surrounding SCF, while highlighting criticisms posited against such approaches. Lastly, they conclude the chapter by discussing the role of deterrence in community supervision and offer reasons as to the inconsistent findings surrounding SCF. (Publisher abstract provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2020