In the December 2015 issue of Federal Probation, there was an article presenting the recidivism research the Administrative Office of the U.S. Court recently completed. This study is one of the few I’ve come across with current data and further confirmation that supervised released reduces recidivism. The report is well worth the time to read it.
But as I continue working in the electronic monitoring/GPS industry, I wonder is there more that can be done to further reduce recidivism? Everyone and anyone can play the “what if” and “what about” games:
- What if the caseloads were smaller for supervising agents?
- What if the agents increased their interaction with the offender?
- What if a treatment plan was required for every offender?
- What if technology was used to further supervise the offender?
- What about increased involvement with the family or support structure by the agency?
I always present our devices and services as a component of a good supervision model. But technology isn’t right for everyone. For some it’s overbearing and may create additional obstacles for the offender. For others, it’s the right balance of additional supervision and accountability, while allowing the offender the ability to reconnect to the community. The challenge for agencies is making sure they have access to the tools, experts, studies to further reduce recidivism. Giving people the chance to be successful helps everyone in the community.
It’s a great time to be a supporter of community supervision and interaction. The days of locking people up because we can, not because we should, appear to be fading into the past.