This report presents findings from a study focusing on Federal probation and parole practices; effects of the presentence recommendation, court disposition, and supervision requirements are emphasized.
The San Francisco Project explored features of the presentence task, discovered the apparent case determinants of presentence recommendations and court dispositions, and manipulated the supervision requirements to reduce violation rates. The project's random assignment operational phase was conducted from September 1964 until June 1967. All cases entering the Northern District for supervision became study subjects, with specified categories of exceptions. After approximately 2 years of project operation, assessments of performance were made for three categories of supervision intensity -- minimum, ideal, and intensive. Apart from the high technical violation rate for the intensive caseload, offenders appeared to be performing equally well under all special supervision levels. The number of contacts between an offender and the probation or parole officer appeared to be unrelated to success or failure under supervision when the assignment was made on a random basis. The first 6 to 12 months of supervision were the most critical in terms of violation rates. Concerning the presentence recommendation, relatively few information variables influenced the sentencing process. The current offense and prior criminal record were of greatest importance. Tables are provided.
Research report number 14