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A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of the ‘Environmental Corrections’ Model of Probation and Parole

NCJ Number
Journal of Experimental Criminology Volume: 16 Dated: 2020 Pages: 535-553
Lacey Schaefer; Simon Little
Date Published
19 pages

The study described in this article was an Australian pilot test of the Environmental Corrections model of probation and parole; the paper describes trends and rates in recidivism, study methodology, and outcomes, as well as the study’s implications for supervision-based parole and probation models.


This article reports the results of a pilot test of the Environmental Corrections model of probation and parole, a framework for supervising offenders in the community that focuses on opportunity-reduction strategies. A pilot test of Environmental Corrections was performed in one probation and parole office in a large metropolitan area of Australia. All staff in the office implemented the new model following training, and all offenders supervised at this office were subjected to the model. Trends and rates in official recidivism (new offences recorded by police) and breaches (technical violations of supervision conditions) were analyzed at six months post-intervention using a statistically equivalent comparison group created through propensity score matching across 19 covariates associated with recidivism risk. Using the propensity score-matched control group, at six months post-intervention, 34.81 percent of the offenders in the control group had reoffended compared with 25.00 percent of the offenders in the matched treatment group, for a reduction in the rate of reoffending of 28.18 percent. There were no statistically significant differences in rates of contravention between the two groups. The pilot test demonstrates that opportunity-reduction strategies hold promise for reducing recidivism among community-supervised offenders through the Environmental Corrections model, which incorporates case plan stipulations which knife-off crime opportunities, redesigns offenders’ routine activities, and utilizes brief interventions focused on reducing situational propensity. Publisher Abstract Provided