Print Issue Volume 99 - Issue 5

Substituting Effective Community Supervision for Incarceration

Community supervision systems—chiefly probation and parole—handle many more offenders than do the prisons and the jails. Typically, offenders subject to community supervision face only unsystematic attempts to monitor their compliance with probation or parole conditions, and are subject to sporadic and delayed, but occasionally severe, sanctions for non-compliance: a practice inconsistent with what is known about techniques of behavior change. This Article explores how effective alternatives to incarceration should be organized, and suggests that applying systems of close monitoring and swift, certain, and fair sanctioning could improve compliance and reduce reoffending and time behind bars.

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