Done well, supervision can increase public safety by holding people accountable for their criminal behavior while reducing their likelihood of reoffending. Conversely, ineffective supervision can actually increase recidivism. [17]

In recent years, states have increasingly begun to take a closer look at their probation and parole supervision systems to determine what is and isn’t working and how state policies, agency practices, and funding can be improved to reduce recidivism. As states become more sophisticated in their approaches to reduce recidivism, supervision agencies need to ensure that staff have caseload sizes that permit them to supervise effectively and have the training, skills, and tools to implement new practices to reduce recidivism.

State leaders can help improve the effectiveness of supervision by taking the following steps:

  • Action Item 1: Establish caseload sizes that allow supervision officers to focus resources on people who are most likely to reoffend.
  • Action Item 2: Improve supervision workforce practices, such as hiring, training, and evaluation.
  • Action Item 3: Provide supervision officers with tools to respond swiftly and appropriately to the behavior of people on supervision.

States are doing more to improve the effectiveness of supervision.

View the video to learn more about improving the effectiveness of supervision.

James Bonta and Donald A. Andrews, The Psychology of Criminal Conduct, 5th ed. (London, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017).