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Revisiting Washington State's Swift-and-Certain Initiative

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This chapter describes how the swift, certain, and fair (SCF) approach to supervision was implemented in Washington state, where it was known as swift-and-certain (SAC) sanctions.


The authors of this chapter discuss community supervision in the U.S., and specifically how the swift-and-certain (SAC) sanctions were implemented in Washington state. The SAC approach, otherwise known as swift, certain, and fair (SCF), was developed in response to high probation revocation and recidivism rate and some variation of SCF has been implemented by over 40 jurisdictions. Although many of those jurisdictions have observed benefits, there have been mixed results with SCF. In this chapter, the authors describe how SCF was implemented in Washington state; the findings from a previous publication evaluating the impacts of SAC for supervision outcomes and cost effectiveness are revisited while highlighting the investigative process and local context. The chapter also presents the current evidence surrounding SCF as a whole, and discusses its criticisms, before discussing the use of deterrence in community supervision, and offers reasons for the mixed results surrounding SCF.

Date Published: January 1, 2021