skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 234596 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: A Multi-Site Evaluation of Reduced Probation Caseload Size in an Evidence-Based Practice Setting
Author(s): Sarah Kuck Jalbert; William Rhodes; Michael Kane; Elyse Clawson; Bradford Bogue; Chris Flygare; Ryan Kling; Meaghan Guevara
Date Published: 2011
Page Count: 77
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
NLECTC Small, Rural, Tribal and Border Regional Ctr
Somerset, KY 42501
Grant Number: 2006-IJ-CX-0011
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Dataset: DATASET 1
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explored the characteristics of probation officer caseload size to determine whether smaller caseloads improve probation outcomes.
Abstract: Criminal justice researchers have studied caseload size to determine whether smaller caseloads improve probation outcomes. With exceptions, these findings have shown that reduced probation officer caseloads have not reduced criminal recidivism for high risk probationers and have increased revocation rates. One explanation is that officers with reduced caseloads do not materially change their supervision practices when caseloads are reduced, either failing to achieve increased supervision or failing to improve treatment intervention or both. This raises the question: Would reduced caseloads improve supervision outcomes for medium to high risk offenders in a probation agency that trains its officers to apply a balance of controlling and correctional/rehabilitative measures? The logic is that the reduced caseload would allow probation officers to better deliver correctional interventions, thereby reducing recidivism without unduly increasing revocations. The research answered this question in three purposefully selected probation agencies: Oklahoma City, where we implemented a randomized controlled trial experiment; Polk County, Iowa, where we implemented a regression discontinuity design study, and four judicial districts in Colorado. The results showed that reducing probation officer caseloads can reduce criminal recidivism when evidence based practices are implemented. The results suggest that reduced caseloads can lead to improved recidivism outcomes when evidence based practices trained officers with reduced caseloads are better able to identify treatment needs among their clientele, and thus better able to direct resources to those most in need. Consequently, reduced caseloads result in more efficient distribution of resources, and improved average probation outcomes. This study did not demonstrate the efficacy of the full complement of evidence based practices. Nevertheless, the implication is that evidence based practices mattered: the literature demonstrates that without evidence based practices reduced caseloads do not reduce recidivism.
Main Term(s): Probation
Index Term(s): NIJ final report; Probation casework; Probation effectiveness; Probation evaluation; Probation officer training evaluation; Probation outcome prediction; Recidivism; Recidivism prediction
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.