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Reducing Missed Appointments for Probation and Parole Supervision: A Randomized Experiment With Text Message Reminders

NCJ Number
Cambridge Journal of Evidence Based Policing Volume: 5 Dated: 2021a Pages: 170-83
Charise Hastings; Chris Thomas; Michael Ostermann; Jordan M. Hyatt ; Steve Payne
Date Published
14 pages

The authors of this paper sought to answer the question of whether text message reminders could reduce missed appointments with probation or parole officers by clients under community supervision; the paper lays out the data, methodology, findings, and authors’ conclusions.


In collaboration with Arkansas Community Corrections (ACC), 4,000 clients under community supervision were selected and tracked for attendance at scheduled supervision meetings from October 1, 2018, through April 15, 2019, with a test sample of 3,470 clients scheduled to attend appointments assigned at random to different conditions of appointment reminders. Marquis Software, under contract to ACC, randomly assigned the test sample to one of four conditions of text messages generated by company software: control (no text messages before appointments); early text (two days before the appointment), late text (one day before the appointment), and two texts (both one and four days before the appointment). Marquis then abstracted the records of appointment attendance by treatment group, for analysis by the academic co-authors. During the 6-month experiment, the best attendance was found in the treatment group assigned to late text reminders one day before the appointment. The authors conclude that text messages reminding clients to attend parole and probation officer meetings can reduce missed appointments, with potentially substantial reductions in imprisonment due to technical violations of community supervision conditions. Publisher Abstract Provided