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Community Supervision Strategies

A Second Chance Act Program


The Community Supervision Strategies program seeks to enhance community supervision agencies’ capacity to help reduce recidivism among, and improve outcomes for, people under supervision by using the swift, certain, and/or fair (SCF) principles of intervention. This program was previously called the Swift, Certain, and Fair Supervision Program.

The SCF principles of intervention are:

  • Swiftness—responding to behavior promptly so that people under supervision connect the response to their behavior.
  • Certainty—ensuring that sanctions and rewards are applied with consistency and predictability.
  • Fairness—making sanctions proportionate to negative behavior and rewards appropriate to positive behavior.

 Read our April 2024 blog post to learn more.

Program Goals

The goals of the Community Supervision Strategies program are to improve outcomes for people on community supervision by supporting community supervision agencies with the following:

  • Identifying a target population for the project using a collaborative, data-driven process that is responsive to local circumstances.
  • Developing and implementing supervision strategies based on best practices in community supervision that incorporate key SCF principles.
  • Evaluating the efficacy of implemented strategies.

Applying the SCF Principles in Diverse Settings

SCF projects may be led by diverse stakeholders (courts, community supervision agencies, state or local corrections agencies, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutor’s offices) to address a variety of public safety challenges at the state and local levels.

Implementation of the SCF principles may be applied to many different criminal justice populations including, for example, people under pretrial supervision, probationers and parolees who are high- and moderate-risk to reoffend, people on probation for misdemeanor domestic-violence offenses, young-adult probation clients, female probation clients, and parolees with opioid use disorder, using a variety of responses to deter unwanted behavior and incentivize positive behavior. Common sanctions include community service, increased drug testing, curfew, increased or modified reporting, electronic monitoring, home detention, and brief jail stays in the case of more-serious misbehaviors. Common rewards include verbal praise, letters of recommendation or recognition, reduced drug testing, reduced reporting, reduced supervision fees, reduced mandatory community service, and early termination from supervision.

Every jurisdiction has a unique set of circumstances—problems, environments, and resources—and those differences should be reflected in design decisions. For example, the target population, type of recidivism or outcome, time from client behavior to intervention, types of rewards and sanctions available, and the level of collaboration with justice partners (e.g., parole boards and courts) vary by jurisdiction, so their starting points, proposed activities, and target outcomes should vary as well. Also, program design and implementation should incorporate stakeholder input (which includes the perspectives of people under supervision) to yield locally-conceived and implemented SCF initiatives that comport with perceptions of fairness.

For examples of previously funded SCF projects, visit scfcenter.org/programs/.

Date Modified: April 8, 2024
Date Created: February 26, 2018