Probation Trends Dr. Melissa Alexander Chief USPO, MD/NC Working Smarter, not Harder • Understanding individual cases better, not treating everyone the same • Dedicate resources to the highest risk clients • Utilize evidence-based practices to provide the most effective interventions Risk Assessment • Actuarial tools used to help predict success/failure • PTRA (pretrial) and PCRA (postconviction) • No current AO-sanctioned tool for presentence Why is risk important? • Will make a difference in release/detention recommendation • Could impact sentencing • Opportunity for you to advocate for your client • Makes a difference in supervision strategies and responses to violations • Could impact arguments in revocation proceedings Pretrial Risk Assessment (PTRA) • Administered by the probation officer, used along with other information to make recommendation for release/detention • 11 scored and 9 unscored items • Criminal History • “Other” Release Rates by PTRA Category 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% National MDNC 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Category Category Category Category Category 1 2 3 4 5 Why Risk Matters • 225 pretrial defendants supervised over the past year • Only 13 had violations of any kind (6%) • 5 revoked • 4 of the 5 were in the highest risk categories (Category 4 or 5) For more info on PTRA… • See Sept. 2011 and Sept. 2012 issues of Federal Probation journal • http://www.uscourts.gov/viewer.aspx?d oc=/uscourts/FederalCourts/PPS/Fedpr ob/2011-09/index.html • http://www.uscourts.gov/viewer.aspx?d oc=/uscourts/FederalCourts/PPS/Fedpr ob/2012-09/index.html How you can help • Provide as much information as possible upfront • Short turnaround time makes it difficult to fully investigate everything • Understand the 3rd party custodian responsibilities, and ensure they do too • Several are now “backing out” as they don’t realize what they’ve signed up for Presentence • No risk assessment formally conducted during the investigation at this time • Many dynamic risk factors are included in the report • Criminal history Age at first arrest, # of arrests, varied offending • Part C Substance abuse, education/employment, social networks 3553(a) Factors to be Considered (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant; (2) the need for the sentence imposed— (C) to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and (D) to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner; Reasons for Departure (partial list) • • • • • • • • • • Criminal History Inadequacy Age Education and Vocational Skills Mental and Emotional Condition Physical Condition Employment Record Family Ties and Responsibilities Military Record, Charitable Service, Good Works Aggravating or Mitigating Circumstances • Why might these matter? Dynamic Risk Factors • Factors an individual may demonstrate that can change (for better or worse) • Changes in turn directly impact likelihood of recidivism • If you can demonstrate potential change, better argument for “appropriate” sentence Example: Education/Vocational Skills • Those with no diploma or ONLY a GED have higher risk to recidivate • Those with GED plus vocational certificate, or some college, have lower risk (records MUST be verified) • What is the client doing/could do that might address this issue that could reduce risk? Example: Substance Use • Recent use higher risk than history (i.e. more than 12 months old) • Has it caused problems in work, family life (if not, less likely it’s a “problem”) • If current use that is problematic, are they in treatment or willing to go Example: Social Networks & Cognitions • Social Networks • Married lower risk than single • More pro-social support the better • Fewer antisocial and/or willing to cut ties with antisocial peers • Any pro-social recreational activities? • Cognitions • Overall antisocial thinking/attitudes? • Motivated to change? Static Factors • Those that can’t change • Biggest is criminal history • However, lack of certain characteristics could be argued as lower risk • Example: Lower risk if fewer arrests (less than 8), no violent, only 1 offense type (always drugs), successfully completed supervision previously How you can help • Help provide verified records (better for risk assessment and for BOP programming) • Help get interviews done ASAP • More time to gather collateral info. Post-conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA) • Administered by officer at the beginning of supervision • Five major areas • • • • • Criminal History Education/Employment Substance Abuse Social Networks Cognitions • Used to determine intervention strategies PCRA Case Distribution 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% National MDNC What Difference does it make? 2013 Revocation Rates Prior to EBP (2010), overall National avg. = 28.8%; MD/NC = 32.4% 80.0% 70.0% Percent Cases Revoked 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% National Avg MD/NC Overall 28.7% 23.0% High Risk 72.1% 59.1% Moderate Risk 55.4% 45.9% Low/Moderate Risk 24.4% 11.0% Low Risk 4.8% 1.3% For more info on PCRA…. • See US Courts website for videos and a downloadable report • http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts /ProbationPretrialServices/Supervision/ PCRA.aspx What Happens during Supervision? • Focus on supervision by risk • i.e. High risk seen at least twice per month • Focus on the individual’s dynamic risk factors • Use of STARR techniques • Result: Over 30% decrease in revocations over the past 4 years! • 12 month revocation rate in 2010 was 31% • Current 12 month rate is 21% STARR Skills • Active Listening • Role Clarification • Effective Reinforcement • Effective Disapproval • Effective Use of Authority • Effective Punishment • Teaching the Cognitive Model • Applying the Cognitive Model • Reviewing the Cognitive Model • Problem Solving Impact of Starr It has helped me a whole lot because not only, you know supervising somebody on probation yeah that’s their job but by them actually wanting to know how I’m feeling, as far as different situations, let’s me know that ok they’re not just doing their job, they showing that they care, they showing that they want to see me to do better, so it has helped me to think differently, and react to a lot of different things in more positive ways, as far as a lot of the questions, and I think it’s called cognitive thinking….that is very helpful because it helps you look at the ins and outs before you react to something. For one I was always the type of person to where I would do something and think about, you know, the consequences of it later….let’s say someone makes me mad and I want to punch this person in the face, well as soon as I feel that I want to punch this person in the face I go on and punch him in the face, that’s how I used to do, versus now the thought comes up I want to punch him in the face but then I stop and think ok now if I punch this person in the face it can lead to us fightin’, police comin’, or him shootin’ me or us shootin’ at each other and what am I gonna get from all this a charge, locked up, hurt, possibly dead, so then I just sit and think ok now if I don’t hit him in the face and I just go on about my business then, I’ll be ok ain’t gotta worry about the police, I ain’t gotta worry about gettin’ shot, ain’t gotta worry about him trying to come back later on with a few of his friends so basically I go with the positive side, so it actually help me to stop, think, then react. What Can We Do to Help You? • Our office is here to provide the best service to the court and the community • Justice best served when we all work together • Focus on continued quality improvement in services and outcomes • Contact me directly at any time!