APPA Supports Broken Windows Report
For Immediate Release: 08/21/1999
At a press conference on August 19, 1999 the Manhattan Institute released a report titled "Broken Windows Probation: The Next Step in Fighting Crime". The report is the work of John Dilulio and thirteen veteran practitioners, including several present or former leaders of the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and the National Association of Probation Executives (NAPE). The group met and deliberated independently over the past two years in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. During APPA’s 24th Annual Training Institute plenary session entitled, Reinventing Probation – A Global Strategy, an expanded version of the plan was presented to adult and juvenile probation and parole practitioners.
Several recommendations were made along with a plea to probation department administrators to commit to a restructuring which will allow probation officers to perform their duties effectively and efficiently.
Public safety must come first. Supervision must take place where offenders live and work. Supervision is not effective when it takes place in a probation officer’s office.
Probation officers must spend more time supervising offenders who pose the greatest public safety risk (i.e., sex offenders, gang members, drug dealers and those with a history of violence). The allocation of such supervision should be based on knowledge obtained through pre-sentence investigation reports, juvenile records, psychological evaluations and risk/needs assessments. In addition, officers and agencies must continue to use offender-specific assessments to routinely monitor their progress.
Assigning probation officers to supervise specific geographical areas rather than being randomly assigned to offenders affords an excellent opportunity for developing law enforcement and corrections partnerships. This concept is referred to as "place-based supervision".
For probation to be effective, permissive practice must be abandoned. Response must be swift and sure. Rather than each violation resulting in revocation of probation, graduated sanctions such as curfew, house arrest, electronic monitoring, mandatory drug treatment must be imposed.
Involvement of other agencies, organizations and interest groups is critical to the success of probation. Community leaders and groups should be included whenever there is a need to develop policies, initiate new programs and deliver services. Partnerships with neighborhood groups, schools, businesses and faith communities should be developed. Cooperative partnerships between probation, law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies that focus on public safety.
The allocation of resources should be based on a based on program performance. Good evaluation models must be developed to measure program effectiveness.
Leadership in probation does not come from unwieldy state bureaucracies, nor does it emanate from the work of agency committees. Clear and effective leadership comes from individuals who care deeply about probation, who are not satisfied with the status quo, who possess the courage to critique their profession and act with vision and dedication to do something about it.
APPA in partnership with NAPE and the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Civic Innovation looks forward to promoting and assisting such efforts in cities all across the country. The report can be downloaded from http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_7.htm