Data collected in 1985 from 90 jurisdictions provide the basis for an analysis of factors influencing rates of fee collection in probation agencies and a model for projecting likely amounts of fee revenue.
Probation agencies' increasing reliance on fee revenues creates the need for accurate projections and realistic goal setting. This survey found that policies and procedures affected revenues more than local economic conditions. Moreover, as fee rates for supervision increase, the amount collected decreases. The study concludes that the optimum fee level is $15-$17 per month. While unemployment and poverty influence fee collections, case size does not. In all agencies surveyed, collections increased when agencies have direct access to and control over the use of fee revenues. Regular billings and late payment notices tended to improve collections, as did court involvement in fee determination. Other factors examined include probation officer involvement, priority given to fees, and sanctions for nonpayment. The project method described in the paper uses a five-step process focusing on access to fee revenue, sanctions, fee amount, and local unemployment rate. Tables.
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