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Learning About Probation From Client Perspectives: Feedback from Probationers Served by Adult Redeploy Illinois-Funded Program Models

NCJ Number
Caitlin DeLong; Jessica Reichert
Date Published
August 2016
67 pages
This report presents findings and methodology of a study that interviewed clients of Illinois local evidence-based programs intended to reduce the number of nonviolent offenders sentenced to prison.
The study interviewed 108 clients enrolled in 10 prison-diversion programs that used three program models, i.e., drug courts, intensive supervision probation with services (ISP-S), and the Hawaii Opportunity Probation With Enforcement (HOPE). The interviews consisted of questions about demographics, program staff, program operations, and services. Regarding probation conditions, most interviewees thought the conditions of their probation were clear (81 percent); 97 percent were required to be drug tested, and most were required to pay court costs (75 percent) and attend drug treatment (69 percent). Of 64 probationers who received a sanction for noncompliance, most said it was "very likely" that they would be caught if they violated probation conditions; 5 percent said the sanctions were fair, and 72 percent said they were immediate. Sanctions and incentives that are swift, certain, and fair are crucial to all three models of supervision. Overall, clients agreed with positive statements about their probation, such as the program helped them, positively impacted their future, and believed probation was better for them than other sanctions, namely imprisonment. Many probationers reported needing, but not receiving, housing, identification items, healthcare services, public assistance, and job support. Implications of these findings for policy and practice are discussed. 13 tables, 77 references, and appended interview questions and data tables