Panel Paper: Swift-Certain-Fair Sanctioning during Reentry: Results from the Pennsylvania SIP Pilot Evaluation

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

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jordan Hyatt, Drexel University

Jordan M. Hyatt, Drexel University

Nicolette Bell, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Samuel DeWitt, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

  1. Bret Bucklen, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Geoffrey C. Barnes, Cambridge University

The Pennsylvania State Intermediate Punishment (SIP) program consists of a determinate 2-year sentence with intense inpatient and outpatient alcohol and drug treatment components during incarceration. The latter half of the SIP sentence is served in a residential community correctional facility. Although a successful program, persistent low-level violations remained problematic. In response, and beginning in 2015, a multi-year pilot was implemented at two sites (n= 325). The program model, based on deterrence theory and the swift-certain-fair model, includes a monitoring and sanctioning system with clearly defined rules that are applied proportionately to the severity of individual infractions. The focal points of the program was the reduction of substance abuse and behavioral violations. Graduated sanctions for violations of these key areas were clearly outlined and reinforced for all participants in a variety of media. Enhanced monitoring practices were used to detect violations, including weekly random instant drug testing. Due to strong criteria dictating the assignment of parolees to a community correctional facility, the program evaluation employed a quasi-experimental design. The resulting propensity score matching procedure paired SIP cases transitioned through the pilot site with a similar SIP participant not enrolled in pilot program over the previous five years. The resulting matches (n= 271) were compared during the two year period after their individual release from custody. Outcomes include program completion, employment, drug abuse, escapes, reincarceration and rearrest. Policy implications for SCF in the reenty context are considered