Research Report  |  Adult Redeploy

Performance incentive funding for prison diversion: An implementation study of the DuPage County Adult Redeploy Illinois Program

 |   | 

Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) applies evidence-based, data-driven, and result-oriented strategies to curb prison overcrowding and enhance public safety. Since 2010, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (Authority) has administered grant funding for ARI and offered research, evaluation, and technical assistance to the program.

In exchange for grant funding, jurisdictions agree to implement an evidence-based prison-diversion program and reduce by 25 percent the number of non-violent offenders sentenced to prison from a target population. Results show this approach leads to significant cost savings to the state. The average annual ARI intervention costs about $4,400, while the annual incarceration cost per capita is estimated at $21,500.

Authority researchers conducted an implementation evaluation of the ARI-funded DuPage County Intensive Probation Supervision Program (IPS) with treatment. Evaluated were planning and implementation during the program’s pilot phase from January 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012. Data included interviews with ARI staff, stakeholders, and program participants, analysis of program data, and client criminal records pre- and post-program participation.

During its pilot phase, DuPage County ARI exceeded its 25 percent prison admission reduction goal of 35 clients by successfully diverting 127 non-violent individuals from prison.

DuPage County ARI clients and reduction goal
Overall clients enrolled 137
Clients re-sentenced to IDOC 10
Other ineligible (removed from count) 0
Total successful diversions 127
Reduction goal 35
Percent of goal reached 362.9%

Most of the sample had prior convictions (80 percent); of those, 40 percent were convicted of drug offenses and 35 percent for property offenses. More than half of all probationers sampled were determined to be at high risk for recidivism. About half of the participants sampled were convicted of a Class 4 felony (51 percent), 40 percent convicted of a drug offense, and 25 percent convicted of a property offense.

Of the 106 participants sampled, 19 were rearrested during the study period. Of the 37 clients who completed the program during the period studied, 46 percent were deemed successful, while 27 percent were reincarcerated.

ARI probation officers applied a variety of evidence-based supervision tools and methods, including a cognitive-behavioral supervision model, a, cognitive-behavioral change program, and homework assignments to help clients change factors underlying their offending behavior.

In interviews, clients reported probation officers were fair, respectful, and assisted in their compliance with court conditions. To support program compliance, county probation officers offered rewards and incentives, such as praise from the sentencing judge or a gift card to a local business. Overall, the ARI program and probation officers were highly regarded by the probationers.

While there are opportunities for further impact, the DuPage County ARI program is promising as a model for future prison diversion programs.

Implications for policy and practice

Researchers examined the program’s fidelity to its evidence-based program model of IPS with treatment; the program met eight of 10 program model criteria.

Researchers suggested that program managers set minimum and maximum lengths of offender supervision. The administrative data indicated that clients were seen less often than the literature-recommended two to four times per month during part of the program period. ARI staff should ensure that clients are receiving a stable frequency of contact within each phase of program.

Researchers suggested the program build in more probation officer/probationer contact initially with fewer contacts toward program end. In order to adhere to an IPS model, the program should have “phases” with minimum and maximum lengths of participation and clients should progress through them as they complete their case plan goals and demonstrate pro-social behavior. ARI probation officers should ensure that clients are aware of the structure of phases, which includes explicitly stating the intended timeframes for each phase.

The full implementation of these standard phases and time parameters will bring DuPage County’s ARI program fully into line with the expectations for a treatment-service-focused IPS program.

This evaluation is first in a series of 10 on ARI programs.

Performance incentive funding for prison diversion: An implementation study of the DuPage County Adult Redeploy Illinois Program