Advancing Community Supervision Strategies

Advancing Community Supervision Strategies web_admin Tue, 12/07/2021 - 10:50
A green sphere made of dots the space between the dots is transparent so the inside of the sphere can be seen

For decades the field has made great strides utilizing technology to support the community corrections profession and improve the outcomes of persons under community supervision. Organizations such as American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ) continue to explore and support this topic area; most recently with NIJ sponsoring research technology, specifically focusing on current products and their functionality. APPA’s longstanding Technology Committee continues to provide information and guidance to the field addressing important initiatives through the development of issue and position papers.

As NIC explored the current state of the use of technology, it became apparent that the field was informally sharing information about their use of technology, however, there was no formal mechanism in place to share information or a repository to store and highlight the experiences the field was having using technology.

Because agencies providing community supervision must rely on the most recent evidence- based research, NIC is invested in promoting equally important topic areas included in this micro site that target human resource related technical skills, staff support, and topic areas supported by research and evaluation. A number of topics are covered from tried-and-true methods to new and innovative practices.

This micro site contains information and resources for advancing strategies for community supervision, each topic area will provide a discussion of how it applies to supervision, samples of policy and protocols, stories and testimonials from the field including pros and cons to consider.  

NIC does not endorse nor recommend any of the products or topics discussed on this site, rather the intent of this microsite is to provide comprehensive information that will assist you in making more informed decisions regarding the use and implementation of technology, programs and practices.

Please contact us if you have additional information that you believe would benefit others in the field on specific topics and it will be considered for inclusion.


GPS web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 16:00

GPS Monitoring:

Electronic monitoring has long been a desirable form of tracking offenders post-release. Monitors can come in a variety of forms, such as check-in stations that notify probation officers when an offender has checked in. GPS monitoring is a type of electronic monitoring that permits the tracking of a person during all times of day from one point to another. These monitors typically come in the form of an ankle bracelet, the flexible design of which allows for the collection of data that tracks an offender’s movement.

GPS monitoring has been the focus of several legal cases within the past ten years, including US v. Lambus (2017) and US v. Jones (2012). US v. Lambus found that wearing an ankle bracelet requires a warrant, while US v. Jones held that installing a GPS device on a vehicle to track it constitutes as a search under the Fourth Amendment. Because of the complicated legal history of GPS monitoring, agencies should have clear policies and procedures in place that dictate how and when a GPS monitor will be used.

Additionally, probation agencies should consider multiple factors when deciding whether or not to implement GPS monitoring. Bishop (2010) points out that officers must think about which offenders should receive supervision, who will monitor offenders, and how to pay for the monitoring. The cost can be substantial, so monitoring might not be feasible for all probation offices. Regardless, while GPS monitoring can be a highly effective tool, there is much to be considered when deciding whether to implement its use in a probation office.

If an agency decides to move forward and implement a GPS monitoring system, they should keep multiple factors in mind. For example, some of these factors include examining how many officers are available to monitor notifications and if they feel comfortable using the technological equipment, how many notifications the system would send, and if the vendor allows the agency access to both new and archived data. The Center for Criminal Justice Technology outlines these considerations in this report, while also recommending that a good GPS system be accurate, reliable, tamper-resistant, affordable, and “user-friendly.” The University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute further outlines the advantages, limitations, and legal and ethical issues of GPS monitoring here.


Kelsay, James D. and et al. Final Report, The Feasibility of Implementing Global Position System Monitoring with Crime Scene Correlation in the State of Ohio. December 11, 2019.

As part of Senate Bill 201, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) was required to study the feasibility of contracting with a third-party contract administrator for global position system (GPS) monitoring that would include a crime scene correlation program that could interface by link with a statewide database for GPS-monitored offenders. The system under consideration would allow law enforcement agents to remotely search a statewide database that includes all offenders placed on GPS monitoring, to access information regarding the offenders’ current and prior locations without a subpoena or warrant, and to access information pertaining to the offenders’ proximity to locations where a crime has been reported. ODRC contracted with the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute (UCCI) and the University of Cincinnati Institute for Crime Science (ICS) to conduct this study. Read the Executive Summary.


Kiosk web_admin Tue, 12/07/2021 - 14:52
Kiosk Supervision: A Guidebook for Community Corrections Professionals
Bauer, Erin L., Carol A. Hagen, Angela D. Greene, Scott Crosse, Michele A. Harmon, and Ronald E. Claus. Rockville, MD: Westat, 2015.
O.J.P. guide for Kiosk Supervision

Automated kiosk reporting systems have gained popularity in recent years as community supervision agencies strive to provide quality supervision services at reduced costs. This guidebook, which provides community supervision agencies with an overview of automated kiosk reporting systems, is based primarily on the findings of a multi-jurisdiction kiosk study on the use of automated kiosk reporting systems to supervise clients placed under community supervision.

The multi-jurisdiction kiosk study was conducted by Westat, an employee-owned research firm in Rockville, Maryland, and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ). This research was designed to gather as much information as possible on automated kiosk reporting systems from the field—i.e., community supervision agencies that were currently using, seriously considered using, or formerly used automated kiosk reporting systems to supervise clients—and to compile and disseminate the information collected to community supervision agencies that may be exploring alternatives to traditional officer supervision.

Kiosk Supervision for the District of Columbia
Jannetta, Jesse, and Robin Halberstadt. Urban Institute: Justice Policy Center and Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA), January 2011
Kiosk Supervision for DC cover page

One supervision method that states and localities across the nation have adopted to supervise low-risk offenders and pretrial defendants efficiently is kiosk supervision. Kiosk systems can replace in-person reporting requirements, are convenient for both supervisees and supervision agencies, and help shift resources to moderate- and high-risk probationers and parolees who need more intensive interventions and monitoring. With supervision budgets under increasing stress and caseloads rising, these aspects of kiosk supervision systems are highly attractive.

Providing court services to geographically remote county constituents: The Mohave County experience with a video kiosk
Cherney, Samantha. Justice Innovation Center and RAND Corporation, n.d.
Screenshot of Criminal Justice Testing and Evaluation Consortium Website

The Mohave County Superior Court IT department investigated the use of a kiosk that would allow Beaver Dam residents to meet with county judges and court personnel by video from a local government building. When an off-the-shelf video kiosk was too expensive for the court, IT staff Kyle Rimel and Jim Pan built one for about half the cost—between $5,000 and $6,000, with monthly operating costs of just $75 a month (the cost of the kiosk’s Internet connection).


Resources web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 16:05

Under Development


Staff web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 16:03

Social Media for Public Relations

Tweeting Your Way to Better Community Relations

TechBeat, Summer 2013,

"When Officer Matthew Droge of the Riley County Police Department (RCPD) burned a hole in his pants with a road flare while on duty, he let the public know about it through the department’s Twitter site. This friendly, open approach to using social media has helped humanize police and improve relations with the community."

Staff Development

Toronjo, Heather. “A Corrections Workforce for the 21st Century.” Federal Probation 83, no. 1 (June 2019): 3–7.
This article explores the use of coaching to improve staff us of evidence-based practices in community supervision.

Technical Skills

Technical Skills web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 16:05

Under Development


Technology web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 13:08
Corrections Tech 2020: Technological Trends in Custodial & Community Corrections
IJIS Institute, March 2017
Corrections Tech 2020 from March 2017

"This white paper is a survey of technological trends, current and potential, which are likely to impact the corrections environment in the next 3-5 years. The aim is to provide a ‘one stop’ high-level overview for the leadership of correctional agencies and their information technology (IT) organizations, to help understand how these capabilities are evolving, and anticipate where technology may be applied to address current and future business problems. We have attempted to include both existing technologies which could be adapted or extended to serve the correctional mission, and areas where new technologies may be needed to address gaps. Our definition of corrections includes any public or private entity engaged in both custodial and community supervision, at any level (federal, state, county, tribal and territorial), and touches on related developments across the criminal justice spectrum as a whole. Our primary focus is the United States, though we have also noted selected developments in other English-speaking countries."

Procuring and Implementing Offender Tracking Technology Challenges and Needs
Russo, Joe, and George B. Drake. Justice Technology Information Center, April 2018
Procuring and Implementing offender tracking technology by the NIJ

Criminal justice agencies increasingly leverage offender tracking technology in the supervision of accused and convicted criminal offenders. According to a 2016 survey conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, agencies were supervising more than 88,0001 individuals with offender tracking technology, a 30-fold increase from the roughly 2,900 reported a decade earlier.
Although this represents a rapid growth curve, it may be expected that as initiatives across the country designed to reduce jail and prison populations gain traction, the use of this technology as a means to safely supervise individuals in the community will further expand. In light of the increasingly important role that offender tracking technology plays in community supervision, the Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC), a program of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), embarked on an effort to better understand the challenges faced by agencies and the assistance they require to make better decisions about identifying, evaluating, selecting, procuring and implementing this technology. 

Body Worn Cameras

Body Worn Cameras web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 13:18
South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services Body Worn Cameras Policy
South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services Policy on body cameras
A Primer On Body Worn Cameras For Law Enforcement
NIJ Body Worn Cameras for Law Enforcement Primer
Body Worn Camera Policy And Implementation
a Body camera hooked to a shirt pocket

Many law enforcement agencies in America have instituted the use of body worn cameras (BWC’s) and their potential use in community supervision has gained interest in the past few years. While several community- based supervision agencies have implemented the use of body worn cameras, we are still learning about the benefits and challenges of this new technology. The intent of this section of the micro site is to share information from the field about BWC and experiences that will include how this technology has enhanced community supervision as well as lessons learned.

Body worn cameras (BWC’s) are relatively small devices that record interactions between the officer and a subject. The recordings from BWC’s may be used in a variety of ways – as staff training aids, to discourage unprofessional behavior by the officer, and to clarify the interactions between the officer and a subject.

There are a number of things to consider prior to investing in the implementation BWC’s, such as, proper training on the purpose and use of equipment, whether your officers are sworn or not, what your state law says about recordings and their use, the type and cost of equipment, data storage and management, and retention schedules.

Please contact us if you have additional information that you believe would benefit others in the field on specific topics and it will be considered for inclusion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the challenges to implementing a BWC Program?
Restrictions or lack of protections under current state law... etc.

Voices from the Field

Under Development


Legal Issues Body Camera Update

AELE’s Evidence Preservation Information Center (EPIC)
Police Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs)


Should our agency use body worn cameras?

Implementing a Body Worn Camera Program

Understanding the Technology Behind Body Worn Cameras


How does our agency store the data from body worn cameras?

Body Worn Camera Data Storage

Body Worn Camera Video Storage and Management

Debunking the Myths of BWC Video Storage


General Information

Body-Worn Cameras in Law Enforcement Agencies, 2016 Bureau of Justice Statistics

Justice Technology Inforamtion Center, Body Worn Cameras


BWCs In the News

Department of Community Supervision goes high tech, 2016
Georgia's Department of Community Supervision is the agency in charge of supervising those on parole and probation. Soon, some 250 officers who interact with those still serving portions of their sentences outside of jail will wear body cameras to capture those interactions.


Mobile Offices

Mobile Offices web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 15:56

Probation Office Pilots Lean, Open Design to Shrink Space, Rent Bills

The Chicago project shows IWI’s dramatic potential for cutting space, and rent costs. When the probation officers relocated in 2015, they moves from 53,000 feet of leased commercial space to about 20,000 square feet in the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building, located downtown near the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse. That represents a space reduction of 55 percent, and projected annual rent savings of more than $1.4 million.

Judiciary Now: Chicago Probation Integrated Workplace Initiative

The Chicago Probation office is unveiling a state-of-the-art facility. The new, ultra-modern space uses technology and an open floor plan to provide a cost effective solution for the reduced space. This office also emphasizes a collaborative work culture by bringing together the entire workforce, from officers to supervisors.

Social Media

Social Media web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 15:54

Monitoring Offenders

Social Media in Community Supervision: Promising Practices for Policy and Implementation [Webinar] (2015)

Hosted by the National Reentry Resource Center and the American Probation and Parole Association, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Justices’ Bureau of Justice Assistance

"In recent years, social media has become a valuable tool for community supervision agencies to monitor and address the activities of people on probation or parole, and in the pre-sentencing investigations of people charged with crimes. This webinar shares emerging research regarding the importance of establishing policies around the use of social media by community corrections administrators, managers and supervisors including the administration of social media content; setting expectations for appropriate employee personal use; and investigation and supervision standards."

Issue Paper on The Use of Social Media in Community Corrections (2014)

American Probation and Parole Association is external).

"This paper was developed to elevate the awareness of the potential of social media, also known as social networking, in the field of community corrections. Monitoring client activity on social media can be an important component of the investigation or supervision process, however with opportunities come challenges. This paper will highlight the importance of establishing policies around social media use and identify some of the issues community corrections agencies may encounter as they incorporate social media in their investigation and supervision practices. Specifically, the paper addresses four areas of interest with social media usage in community corrections: client investigations and intelligence gathering; policy development available tools to assist agencies monitor social media; and training resources."

Voices From The Field

Under Development


Supervision web_admin Wed, 12/08/2021 - 15:50

Smart Phones

Monitoring With Smartphones: A Survey of Applications  

Russo, Joe, George Drake. Journal of Offender Monitoring, Volume 30 no. 1, Spring/ Summer 2017, p. 5-16.

Abstract: The power of today’s smartphone combined with its prevalence in society have made smartphone applications a very attractive supervision tool, one without the stigma associated with more traditional electronic monitoring devices. The Journal invited all known companies currently offering smartphone-based supervision services to complete an extensive survey, with questions about the functionality of the applications they offer. Eleven companies responded to the survey and the results are organized in six groups of tables covering basic approach and technical requirements; verification of offender identity and proximity to smartphone; general supervision and monitoring; offender support functionality; location monitoring; and data, platform and reporting capabilities. The primary objective of this survey is to provide agencies with a better understanding of the technology and what it can do, the market participants and their offerings, and as a starting point for agencies employing offender monitoring to their supervision workloads, and researchers seeking to study the impact and effectiveness of this new approach to offender monitoring.

Using Mobile Phone Technology to Provide Recovery Support for Women Offenders

Scott, Christy K., Kimberly Johnson, Michael L. Dennis. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association, Volume 19 no. 10, October 2013, p767-771.

Abstract: Background Mobile technology holds promise as a recovery tool for people with substance use disorders. However, some populations who may benefit the most may not have access to or experience with mobile phones. Incarcerated women represent a group at high risk for recidivism and relapse to substance abuse. Cost-effective mechanisms must be in place to support their recovery upon release. This study explores using mobile technology as a recovery management tool for women offenders residing in the community following release from jail.

Specialized Smartphones Could Keep Released Offenders on Track for Successful Reentry

Green, Brannon and Christopher Rigano. April, 2020.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in a 2019 grant program, is engaging researchers to find new pathways for using smartphones and other mobile devices to help offenders returning to the community. Initially, a research team from Purdue University plans to develop devices that deploy artificial intelligence (AI) to provide early warning of risky offender behavior, as well as tools to curb that behavior and help offenders comply with reentry conditions.

Leveraging The Power of Smart phone Applications to Enhance Community Supervision.

American Probation and Parole Association April 7, 2020.

This paper will address the use of smartphone applications installed on a client’s personal device, or a device provided to the client, to be used in support of the community supervision process.


Voices From The Field