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Alcohol and Drug Monitoring for Community Supervision

NCJ Number
Date Published
22 pages

This technology brief is the third document in a four-part series on technologies to support the monitoring and supervision of individuals on pre-trial release, probation, and parole; it highlights technologies and solutions used to monitor alcohol and drug use for individuals on community supervision.


This document is part of a four-part series covering technologies that support the monitoring and supervision of people on pre-trial release, probation, and parole (i.e., community supervision). The series goals are to offer foundational insights from use cases, examine the challenges of community supervision, highlight example products, and discuss the future of select technologies and their implications for community supervision. This brief focuses on technologies and solutions used to monitor alcohol and drug use for people on community supervision, also known as community corrections or parole; its main goals are to serve as a resource for community supervision agencies that are considering the adoption of alcohol and drug monitoring technologies and solutions, providing objective research on the benefits and limitations of different technologies and approaches after the determination to monitor has been made. Key takeaways include: providing reliable, timely, and cost-effective monitoring of alcohol and drug use as a condition of their release is a serious challenge since there is a high volume of caseloads as well as public safety concerns; innovations in drug monitoring is hindered by technological limitations and logistical challenges; the Covid-19 pandemic affected drug monitoring for people under community supervision, altering what some agencies did to adapt; while some remote solutions for alcohol monitoring are available, equivalents for drug monitoring do not exist; and alcohol and drug monitoring solutions play a role in community supervision today, but more research is needed to determine if there is a clear link between regular testing and reduced recidivism or changed behavioral health outcomes.

Date Published: January 1, 2023