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Dosage Probation Rethinking the structure of probation sentences

This is a great introduction to a new probation strategy which links “the duration of probation supervision to the optimal amount of intervention an offender needs in order to reduce risk of reoffense”. This monograph “provides a policy and practice framework upon which this new model of supervision can be constructed. It offers a review of evidence-based approaches to reducing recidivism in our communities, the most recent research on dosage, and its applicability to sentencing and community supervision practices. It describes the model’s promise for increasing community safety through recidivism reduction, as well as achieving fiscal savings by reducing periods of supervision. Finally, the monograph offers a summary of the work of Milwaukee County’s criminal justice stakeholders as they design and conduct the nation’s first dosage probation experiment.” Sections of this publication include: introduction to the dosage model of probation; the principles of effective intervention—who we target for intervention matters (the risk principle), what we target for intervention matters (the need principle), how we intervene and interact matters (the responsivity principle), how well interventions are implemented matters, fidelity and integrity of corrections professionals’ interventions, and the relationship between early termination of supervision and recidivism; adding dosage to the equation—how much dosage is delivered matters, and further study needed; implications—the dosage probation model of supervision; and dosage probation in Milwaukee County.

White Paper
Dosage Probation, a prescription based on two pilot sites' experiences

The dosage probation model suggests that the length of supervision should be determined by the number of hours of intervention necessary to reduce risk as opposed to a standard probation term, such as 3, 4, 5, etc., years. Dosage probation is designed to incentivize behavior change by providing an opportunity for the individual under supervision to receive early termination from probation if they successfully engage in risk reduction interventions tailored to their criminogenic needs, in a "dose" matched to their risk level. For the supervising agency, it positions officers to focus their work on risk reduction activities and to manage scarce resources more efficiently. For community service providers, the dosage model establishes a method to effectively match probationers to services and to encourage individuals’ active participation in treatment. For external stakeholders, the dosage probation model offers transparency around the case management process and clear criteria for the granting of early termination from supervision. Indeed, the pilots have demonstrated that justice system decision makers (particularly prosecutors and judges) can embrace the approach; many justice-involved individuals demonstrate significantly higher levels of motivation to engage in risk reduction services; supervision officers are more directed in their case planning efforts and one-on-one interactions; treatment providers willingly undergo an independent evaluation of their services and modify practices to more closely align with evidence-based practices; and, importantly, probation terms can be dramatically reduced. This document, the second in a series, provides background information on the dosage probation project; a summary of the literature pertinent to dosage; and information about the dosage pilot sites, including key lessons that emerged from the pilot project. It also lays the foundation for a forthcoming set of resources on this topic: The Dosage Probation Toolkit.

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