Pennsylvania expands parole, evidence-based practices based on positive results

Pennsylvania released a budget that reflects its belief that parole officers who understand evidence-based practices can affect offender behavior change and reduce recidivism. Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13 includes increased funding for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to continue its focus on the successful transition of offenders into society.

According to the state, the parole board’s use of proven programs and strategies has led to a six-percentage point drop in recidivism over three years, to 42%. In addition, the state reported the number of offenders who successfully completed parole during this three-year period was up 20%, and the number of parolees who violated parole and returned to prison was down 36%. Even the number of offenders who absconded was cut in half during this time.

BI has worked with several counties in Pennsylvania to introduce evidence-based practices and cognitive behavioral therapy, items the state highlighted as influential in the positive trend. In addition, the state highlighted other best practices making an impact, including the use of risk and needs assessments to determine the likelihood an offender will re-offend and referring offenders to drug and alcohol treatment and other counseling interventions as needed.

“One of the most basic responsibilities of government is to protect its residents,” Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole Chairman Michael C. Potteiger said. “Parole agents work with offenders using evidence-based practices to change offender behavior. Our results are showing that this works.”