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Focus Areas

Community Corrections

Rigorously evaluating novel programs and the use of innovative technologies, translating research about “what works” to improve outcomes of individuals under community supervision, and collecting administrative data to document population trends in probation and parole.

Staff in the RTI Center for Courts and Corrections Research are dedicated to understanding programs, technologies, and population flows of adults who are sentenced to community corrections. Community corrections populations include individuals who struggle with substance abuse and mental health conditions and face housing and employment challenges as they must meet the requirements of their supervision. 

Our staff work with local, state, and federal governments and philanthropies to develop practical solutions to improve community corrections outcomes. We undertake studies to inform community corrections stakeholders, assess solutions to improve supervision success, and identify innovative responses to the continually evolving nature of community corrections. Studies assess the incorporation of electronic technologies to improve communication, interaction, and treatment access. Our staff use advanced statistical techniques to create tools for community corrections officers to classify individuals by their likelihood of success on supervision and to identify their treatment needs. Our staff provide information about the size and composition of community corrections populations to improve organizational structures (e.g., workload, budgets).

Aerial photograph of neighborhood
Aerial photograph of neighborhood

Integrated Dynamic Risk Assessment for Community Supervision

RTI and its partners are working with the Georgia Department of Community Supervision (DCS) to improve the understanding of the risk factors for recidivism while on community supervision. Through the Integrated Dynamic Risk Assessment for Community Supervision (IDRACS), we are incorporating dynamic data collected by community supervision officers (CSOs) to build predictive algorithms that give CSOs time-specific risk profiles for all the offenders on their caseload. These algorithms alert CSOs as to when offenders require more services or attention and when they consistently present less risk to public safety in order to help officers prioritize their time. The IDRACS algorithms, which use advances in machine learning to increase predictive accuracy, are integrated statewide with DCS’s case management system to support its community supervision duties. 

Technician installing memory RAM
Technician installing memory RAM

Interactive Computer-Assisted Recovery Enabler (ICARE): Case Management Support Tool for Substance Using Probationers

RTI is partnering with a software development company, Uptrust, to develop, implement, and assess whether the use of a mobile phone texting notification system, known as ICARE, can improve behavioral health case management compliance among Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC) clients who are on probation. Functionally, this tool provides automated appointment reminders and allows clients to confirm attendance at those appointments. The assessment of ICARE involves a randomized controlled trial of TASC clients to receive the texting notification tool or “appointment reminders as usual” in select urban and rural counties in North Carolina. Outcomes from this study include TASC appointment attendance, probation compliance, and recidivism. If shown to be effective among TASC clients in North Carolina, ICARE has the potential to be scaled up to improve case management engagement among justice-involved populations in other jurisdictions.