Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $715,000)
The Arkansas Division of Community Correction (DCC) implemented its Offender Violation Guide (OVG) to provide probation and parole officers a matrix of graduated sanctions and interventions for responding to non-compliance. The OVG has reduced recidivism since implementation, but some challenges remain. This project has four goals to improve supervision practices: it will better align the OVG with evidence-based practices particularly for those at risk of violent reoffending; improve fidelity to OVG use; increase officer time for intervening with high-risk clients; and improve supervisors' ability to evaluate and enhance performance outcomes. DCC will collaborate with the Parole Board to determine OVG changes, such as including the client's risk level in the matrix, and adding interventions, incentives and local service options. Staff will be trained to improve OVG fidelity, and to increase positive reinforcement responses according to best practices of a 4:1 ratio of positive to negative responses. Officer dashboards will be implemented to reduce time spent completing administrative tasks, and to increase time for officers to develop relationships with high-risk clients. Supervisor dashboards will be implemented to provide data analytic tools to track officer duties, measure outcomes, and make quality improvements. Clients will be provided OVG information through a smartphone application to promote prosocial behavior. If proven effective, this project will be implemented statewide for all clients, officers, and supervisors. DCC will partner with evaluators from the University of Central Florida, who will provide critical data on the implementation via a process evaluation and effectives via an outcome evaluation. The process evaluation will assess the implementation and the alignment of program practices with empirical research on best practices. The evaluators will administer surveys and interviews with officers and clients. They will provide reports to DCC to inform quality improvement processes and ensure implementation with fidelity. The outcome evaluation of the OVG will be done through a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) using stratified, random sampling of 800 clients. The RCT will evaluate the best means to present the OVG information through the clients' smartphone application. The evaluators will examine seven primary outcomes: revocation, rearrest, technical violations, failure to appear, and treatment initiation, attendance, and completion. They will track adherence to the OVG, trends in overrides of OVG recommendations, and trends in use of sanctions and interventions across risk groups and those at high risk of violent crime. Deliverables will include an action plan with logic model, periodic reports, and a final report.