Decatur Among Pilot Sites For DOJ-Funded Intensive Probation Supervision Program
DECATUR – The Department of Justice has awarded the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles $370,000 through a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant to develop four intensive supervision pilot programs across Alabama, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Pardons and Paroles Executive Director Cynthia Dillard.
The pilot programs will take place in local Pardons and Paroles offices in Mobile, Montgomery, Decatur and Greenville. Those cities are in counties that collectively contribute more than 20 percent of inmates annually admitted to the Department of Corrections. Within the four pilot programs, individuals deemed moderate- to high-risk to reoffend will receive intensive supervision by local Pardons and Paroles officers and will be subject to swift, certain sanctions if they violate the terms and conditions of release.
Swift and certain sanction programs are intended to: (a) improve supervision strategies that reduce recidivism; (b) promote and increase collaboration among agencies and officials who work in community corrections and related fields; (c) enhance the offender's perception that the supervision decisions are fair, consistently applied and consequences are transparent; and (d) improve the outcomes of individuals participating in these initiatives.
Alabama’s program will be based upon Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation and Enforcement program. Within three months of its implementation, the HOPE program led to an 83 percent reduction in failed drug tests, 71 percent reduction in missed appointments with probation officers, and a 70 percent reduction in the revocation rate for participating probationers.
“Programs like HOPE have led to lower recidivism rates around the country by taking action before a probationer becomes a repeat offender," Vance said. "Swift and certain sanctions ensure that probationers and parolees receive prompt attention and additional supervision at the first indication of misconduct.”
As nearly 40 percent of inmates coming into Alabama prisons each year are individuals who were unsuccessful in their probation or parole supervision, the Alabama Prison Reform Taskforce is currently examining methods to improve the success rates of parolees and probationers. State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, chairman of the Prison Reform Task Force, said, "The reform efforts underway in Alabama seek to develop programs such as this, that are proven to reduce recidivism in corrections systems. By making community supervision work better, we will make our communities safer and save taxpayer dollars."
State Sen. Arthur Orr, a member of the Prison Reform Taskforce, and whose district includes Decatur, said, "We are appreciative of the Department of Justice’s support to help us reduce recidivism among our inmates under community supervision. By working together, we not only help our prison overcrowding situation in Alabama but also, and more importantly, we help newly released individuals get on the right path through the improved supervision measures funded by this grant."