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Federal Probation Journal - December 2015

This Issue in Brief

Inroads to Reducing Federal Recidivism

Information in this article demonstrates that, controlling for risk of the population, both rearrest and revocation rates are decreasing for the federal post-conviction supervision system as a whole. This suggests that despite the increase in risk of the federal post-conviction supervision population, probation officers are improving their abilities to manage risk and provide rehabilitative interventions.

Laura M. Baber

Accountability and Collaboration: Strengthening Our System Through Office Reviews

The authors provide a detailed discussion of the development of a new process for conducting cyclical district office reviews in the federal probation and pretrial services system. They highlight the reasoning behind the changes adopted, share feedback from chiefs of probation and pretrial services who have participated in the new process, and provide a summary of major findings from reviews conducted in fiscal year 2015.

Jay Whetzel, Janette Sheil

A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of a Model of Community Supervision

During the last decade, several formalized approaches have been developed to improve the effectiveness of probation and parole by implementing evidence-based research into community supervision practices. In support of these new models, there are now some studies indicating that these strategies are capable of reducing offender recidivism and tentative evidence to suggest that even greater reductions may be achieved when motivational interviewing techniques are implemented in conjunction with them. In this study the authors provide a first attempt at quantifying officer fidelity in these two areas in order to determine if skill competency has an effect on recidivism.

Ryan M. Labrecque, Paula Smith, Jennifer D. Luther

Probation Officer Roles: A Statutory Analysis

There are a limited number of studies that explore the legally prescribed roles of probation officers. To address this, the current study employed a statutory analysis to examine how probation officer roles have changed over the past 30 years, identifying which tasks and roles are statutorily mandated for probation officers. Findings indicate that there is an emergence of a “case manager” approach in the legally prescribed roles for probation officers in many states, even though law enforcement-oriented tasks are slightly more prescribed by law than rehabilitation-oriented tasks.

Ming-Li Hsieh, Moana Hafoka, Youngki Woo, Jacqueline van Wormer, Mary K. Stohr, Craig Hemmens

Using Organizational Strategies to Improve Substance Abuse Treatment for Probationers: A Case Study in Delaware

Many people under community supervision and addicted to opioids or alcohol could benefit from substance abuse treatment that includes medication-assisted treatments. However, conflicting attitudes toward MATs and competing organizational priorities in many jurisdictions complicate the inter-organizational strategy used to arrange this treatment. The authors study the effectiveness of an Organizational Linkage Intervention to bridge existing treatment gaps and mediate conflicts between community corrections and treatment agencies. The results of their study show accomplishments in improving communication between probation and treatment agencies and potential barriers that may persist.

Laura Monico, Sami Abdel-Salam, Daniel O’Connell, Christy A. Visher, Steven Martin

Methodological Challenges to the Study and Understanding of Solitary Confinement

The use of solitary confinement in the United States has come under increased scrutiny and calls for reduction or abolition of its use. However, there has been little empirical examination of the use of solitary confinement in settings other than supermax-style confinement. In this article the author reviews types of solitary confinement and methodological challenges when researching solitary confinement.

Michael P. Harrington

Reprint in Honor of the 90th Anniversary of the Federal Probation System

The Federal Probation and Pretrial Services System Since 1975: An Era of Growth and Change

In this 1997 article, reprinted as the last in this year’s series of reprinted historical articles marking the federal probation system’s 90th anniversary, the authors trace trends and changes in the federal probation and pretrial services system since 1975. They then provide a year-by-year account of internal events in the time frame and also external events, such as legislation and the actions of the Sentencing Commission and the Federal Judicial Center, that affected the federal system.

John M. Hughes, Karen S. Henkel

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