New York – Today, Arnold Ventures and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) announced the launch of the Reducing Revocations Challenge, a new national initiative dedicated to transforming probation supervision and reducing unnecessary failures that contribute to mass incarceration. The launch of the Challenge responds to an emerging consensus that the status quo for probation is unacceptable and unsustainable. Despite evidence-based strategies such as graduated responses and risk- and needs-based supervision that have effected change in many jurisdictions, success rates remain far too low, and revocations to jail or prison are far too common.
The Reducing Revocations Challenge will address these issues by supporting action research in up to 10 jurisdictions around the country to better understand why revocations occur and how they can be prevented, with the goal of informing specific policy and practice interventions that can be piloted and tested in a potential second phase of the initiative. Jurisdictions will be selected through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process. ISLG will serve as the research intermediary for the initiative.
“In some states, more than half the prison admissions are a result of probation or parole failures,” said Amy Solomon, Arnold Ventures Vice President of Criminal Justice. “Probation should help people succeed in their communities, not serve as a gateway to incarceration. Through the Reducing Revocations Challenge, jurisdictions will examine what’s driving revocations and advance reforms to safely reduce correctional control and incarceration. The ultimate goal is to improve outcomes for individuals and communities.”
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Arnold Ventures on this important initiative,” said Michael Jacobson, ISLG’s Executive Director and former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation. “Despite being an alternative to incarceration, probation remains one of the biggest sources of jail and prison admissions in this country. It’s time to refocus the limited resources that exist toward efforts that will prevent crime and help people successfully complete supervision.”
“For too long, we have known that people on probation are at great risk of failure, but have lacked the tools to help them succeed,” said Mark Carey, President of The Carey Group and former Deputy Commissioner of Community and Juvenile Services for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. “The Reducing Revocations Challenge aims to develop those tools, turning probation into a means to help people succeed in the community instead of a feeder for jails and prisons.”
“Probation was designed in the 1800s as a community based alternative to incarceration, but it is now too often a trip wire back to incarceration,” said Vincent Schiraldi, co-director of the Columbia University Justice Lab and former Commissioner of New York City Probation. “The Reducing Revocations Challenge brings much needed expertise to jurisdictions looking to reduce unnecessary and harmful revocations and instead, help probation return to its roots as an entity that helps people turn their lives around.”
In addition to carrying out action research, Challenge grantees will receive technical assistance from experts in the probation field and participate in a peer learning network that includes a cross-site summit where grantees will share research findings and discuss policy implications.