Justice System Partners Joins National Challenge to Increase Probation Success and Protect Public Safety

By JSP Team

In partnership with Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department (HCCSCD), Justice System Partners (JSP) is excited to announce that it has been selected to participate in the Reducing Revocations Challenge, a national initiative of Arnold Ventures and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) dedicated to understanding the drivers of probation revocations and identifying ways to reduce the community supervision failures that send almost 350,000 people to jails and prisons each year. While Harris County CSCD have reduced revocations significantly over the past 5 years, there is always more to learn and more to do. The Challenge aims to increase success on probation through the identification, piloting, and testing of promising strategies grounded in a robust analysis and understanding of why revocations occur.

To carry out this work, JSP will receive a $200,000 grant to conduct on the ground, in-depth research and data analysis on the drivers of probation failures. The findings will be used to propose evidence-based solutions for policy and practice; selected strategies may receive additional funding in a potential second phase of the initiative. Harris County CSCD will be part of a learning network alongside the nine other jurisdictions selected to participate in the Challenge, including participation in a cross-site summit, where findings and potential solutions will be shared and discussed. Members of the learning network will also receive guidance and technical assistance from ISLG and an Advisory Board of experts in the field at each step along the way.

“What an incredible opportunity to truly understand the drivers of revocation and make a difference in people’s lives” said Dr. Brian Lovins, Principal at Justice System Partners. “The probation field has made significant strides over the past 5 years, moving to more data driven decisions, shifting from a referee to coach model, and recognizing the worth of system-involved individuals. We see this project as the next iteration of this work—if we can truly understand what drives revocations, we can start to make a significant impact on the number of people who end up in prison.”

“Harris County CSCD is very excited to participate in an initiative that provides an opportunity to learn and make meaningful changes to the community supervision field that are truly transformative” said Dr. Teresa May, Department Director at Harris County CSCD. “The first of its kind, the Reducing Revocations Challenge is a smart approach that uses a comprehensive, in depth, analysis to truly identify what is working and what isn’t in our field. It is the first opportunity for the probation field to build on our success and find real solutions to the challenges we face as we work to transform lives and strengthen our communities. It is the most exciting opportunity of our time in the field of probation!”

“Probation revocations are a significant driver of incarceration—in light of that, it’s great to see corrections leaders stepping up to transform what’s not working and expand what is,” said Amy Solomon, Vice President of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures. “The Reducing Revocations Challenge sites represent the cutting edge of research-practitioner partnerships, and each site will serve as a model for other jurisdictions, demonstrating the most effective ways to reduce probation failures, strengthen public safety, and ensure greater equity in our communities.”

“Probation violations have resulted in significant increases to prison populations to no good effect, and it’s time to refocus resources on policies and practices that will help people succeed and increase public safety,” said Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of ISLG and former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation. “We look forward to collaborating with these 10 sites in their pioneering efforts to do just that. Understanding what drives revocations—and for whom—is a critical first step, and the insights we gain from the Challenge can help probation offices around the country advance effective strategies for increasing success.”

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