Intensive Probation Supervision:

Mixed Effectiveness in Controlling Crime

PEMD-93-4: Published: Jun 4, 1993. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 1993.

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GAO evaluated Arizona's intensive probation supervision program (IPS), focusing on: (1) IPS ability to control criminal behavior; and (2) whether intensive supervision was a cost-saving alternative to incarceration.

GAO found that: (1) in the two Arizona counties studied, the standard probation, prison, and IPS groups showed few differences in gender, ethnicity, or education, but they did differ in age; (2) a higher percentage of IPS participants had been convicted of more serious offenses than the standard probation or prison groups; (3) the standard probation group had fewer prior arrests that the other groups; (4) Arizona developed a risk assessment methodology to determine offender eligibility for the program; (5) more IPS participants had their sentences revoked or were arrested for new crimes than the offenders sentenced to standard probation, indicating that IPS failed as a sentencing option; (6) IPS offenders had fewer arrests than standard probationers while they were under IPS, but had more arrests after leaving IPS; (7) up to 25 percent of IPS participants had their sentences revoked within the first 6 months; (8) arrest rates for offenders under IPS supervision were low because many IPS offenders sent to prison were not subject to arrest; (9) the prison groups in one county had fewer arrests mainly because they had a lower risk of recidivism than the IPS group; (10) IPS effectiveness was difficult to determine, since variations in assumptions, administrative units, and observation periods greatly affected the study's results; (11) present sentencing options do not achieve real crime control; (12) incarceration did not reduce the overall volume of crime; and (13) IPS was effective while offenders were under its direct supervision.

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