The audio and transcript are presented from plenary panel presentations and a discussion on "What Works in Probation and Parole" as part of the 2009 NIJ Conference.
A number of points are emphasized in the panel presentations. One presenter emphasizes that there is sufficient research information for policymakers and practitioners to know what works in probation and parole. There are sufficient instruments for risk assessments that classify offenders as low, medium, or high risk. Cognitive behavioral treatment is known to produce more productive results than other treatments. Probation has proven to be more cost-effective than prison for most offenders in reducing recidivism; however, the probation and parole population has remained at high levels as a proportion of the general population. Another speaker explains how West Virginia is attempting to increase alternatives to incarceration in the face of a high incarceration rate although the State has a relatively low crime rate. A third presentation describes how a jurisdiction in Hawaii is addressing probation violations by having warning hearings at the first violation, which makes clear that any further violation will produce automatic incarceration. Results are reported to be promising in reducing violations. Another speaker focuses on parole services in the District of Columbia, where the focus is on ensuring that persons returning to the community from incarceration have their basic needs (housing and income from a job) and criminogenic needs (drug treatment and mental health services) met.
Date Published: June 1, 2009