Panel Paper: Linkage between Response to Violations and Probation Outcomes: Is There Support for SCF?

Friday, November 9, 2018
Wilson B - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Pamela K. Lattimore, RTI International, Inc.

Pamela K. Lattimore


Matthew DeMichele


RTI International

Swift, Certain, and Fair (SCF) programs (and the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement or HOPE program) are premised on the assumption that consistent response to probation violations will result in positive behavior changes, including increased compliance with conditions of supervision, reduced substance use, and reduced recidivism. These “consistent” responses are envisioned as needing to occur quickly (“swift”), with certainty (“certain”), and moderate to the offense (“fair”). In the HOPE Demonstration Field Experiment (HOPE DFE), a four-site random control trial that tested the effectiveness of HOPE in improving probationer recidivism outcomes, SCF translated to always holding a hearing following a violation, to holding the hearing as soon after the violation as possible, and to (generally) limiting the penalty to a few days in jail. Data from the HOPE DFE evaluation are used to examine the relationship between responses to violations and recidivism outcomes. Among the eight groups in the DFE (four HOPE groups and four control or probation as usual groups), the likelihood that a violation would be followed by a jail term ranged from about 13% to 75%. Preliminary analyses suggest no relationship between the likelihood of jail following a violation and multiple measures of recidivism, including new arrest and new conviction. These findings are discussed relative to implications for probation policy and practice.