In 1990, Minnesota enacted legislation to implement intensive community supervision (ICS) programs as alternatives to prison and routine parole.
Minnesota's ICS programs provide for maximum community surveillance and supervision in a phased process that includes a lengthy period of home detention and close contact by specially trained agents with small caseloads. If offenders in ICS violate program rules, for example, fail a drug test or leave their home for other than approved activities, they may be sent back to prison. Two randomized field experiments were conducted to measure the implementation and impact of ICS programs. Detailed information was collected on offender background, services received, and 1-year outcomes for 300 participants. Results showed that ICS programs were fairly well implemented. Followup indicated that prison diversion offenders under ICS posed no greater risk to public safety than those initially sentenced to prison. Prison diversion resulted in savings of about $5,000 per offender per year, but these savings were offset by the greater cost of intensive supervision for parolees. 20 references, 14 notes, 6 tables, and 2 figures