Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $715,000)
The goal of this project is to support client behavior change and positive reinforcement, while increasing access to treatment and reallocating resources to reduce burdens of high caseloads and geographic barriers. Maine’s Division of Community Corrections (ACC) will implement Reconnect Community, a mobile application designed to support improved client outcomes and greater efficiency by streamlining PO responsibilities, increasing participant flexibility, encouraging a focus on positive reinforcement and progress toward key goals, and reallocating resources to focus on higher need individuals while maintaining a high standard of accountability. This project proposes implementation of Virtual Supervision in Maine (VSM). The VSM project will implement a mobile application making several changes to traditional supervision for its highest risk clients, including enhancement of in-person contact via video chats, increased ability to communicate through messaging, use of mobile check-ins to allow POs to intervene and provide support and positive reinforcement virtually, and use of benchmark progress tracking to identify positive steps toward goal completion and structure supervision around goal completion rather than noncompliance. The mobile application will increase access to services via access to remote treatment programming, which will both increase capacity for treatment across the state and reduce client burden through reduced travel and wait times. Lastly, the mobile application will support risk-based resource allocation via a reduction in in-person office visits and collateral visits and a reduction in PO administrative tasks saving officer time and allowing them to focus on clients with higher needs. A randomized controlled experiment will be conducted with 1500 individuals on probation supervision to examine the impact of the VSM on client treatment and recidivism outcomes. A process evaluation will be conducted to identify key barriers and facilitators associated with mobile application implementation and inform quality improvement over the duration of the study. Deliverables include policies and procedures to guide virtual supervision of community corrections clients, a mobile application designed to community supervision services including virtual treatment programs, an action plan guided by quality improvement data, and reports/publications to disseminate all results. Results from this study will be used to inform long-term strategies for promoting implementation and adherence to evidence-based practices to support individual change and engagement in prosocial behaviors. If effective, ACC is committed to expanding the use of technology across the state to better serve its clients and the community through increased capacity to provide rehabilitative services and promote public safety.