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Evaluating the Impact of Probation and Parole Home Visits

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018
37 pages
This is the Final Report/Project Summary of the findings and methodology of a study that describes the practices of home and other field contacts in community supervision, documents their use nationwide, and evaluates their effectiveness in maintaining public safety and promoting compliance with supervision requirements.
A nationwide survey of community supervision agencies was conducted at the federal, state, and local levels for the purpose of determining common practices in the execution of home visits. The research team partnered with two community supervision agencies, one in Ohio and one in Minnesota, to implement three study components designed to understand and document home and field contact policies and practices. The study components were 1) a quantitative historical analysis of how supervision outcomes vary according to home and field contact practices within each agency; 2) a brief checklist officers completed after conducting a home/field contact to document the circumstances and activities of a contact; and 3) a qualitative examination of how agency staff use home and field visits in supervision. The study found that field work accounts for a significant proportion of community corrections resources and is a primary source of stress for line officers. Such work is resource-intensive and can expose officers to harm. Home and field contacts vary across agencies in terms of goals, policies, and practices. Regarding the effectiveness of home and field contacts, the study shows that whether by serving as an additional deterrent to recidivism or enabling officers to better understand the stressors affecting their probationers/parolees, field contacts result in noticeable reductions in recidivism; however, findings vary by supervisee risk level. What works for higher risk individuals often does not work as well or even be worse for low-risk individuals. 12 figures, 4 tables, and 15 references

Date Published: December 1, 2018