Evidence-Based Sentencing

4. Supervise: Use assessment results to inform community corrections decisions about how to effectively manage offender behavior

What does this involve?

As part of a coordinated evidence-based sentencing approach, judges and other stakeholders must understand the philosophy and operations of the agencies responsible for supervising offenders in the community.

To implement an evidence-based decision-making approach at sentencing, the jurisdiction’s probation department or other assessment and supervision agency must first have an infrastructure grounded in evidence-based correctional practices. This agency should also employ skilled staff who are well-trained on effective recidivism reduction strategies, including on how to: (a) conduct and use offender assessment information, (b) align offender case plans with individual assessment results, (c) motivate offenders to fully engage in recidivism reduction interventions as applicable, and (d) implement effective incentive and sanctioning strategies in response to offender behavior (for more about sanctioning strategies and revocation decisions, specifically, see 5. Respond to Violations).

Not only must the internal organizational policies and practices of the correctional agency adhere to known principles of effective intervention, but policies related to collaboration with external agencies and the use of community-based programs as treatment interventions must also be in place (see Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice, 2009). The agency must have access to a menu of effective treatment services to address the array of criminogenic needs and responsivity factors in the local offender population. Policies should address the variety and quality of these options.


In addition to Key NCSC Resources, see: