22 July 2010

Criminal Record Predicts Supervised Release Failure

Despite judicial screening of eligibility to supervised release in the federal judicial system, which is similar to parole, criminal history at the time of sentencing is still an important predictor of the likelihood that an offender will successfully complete the terms of that offenders' supervised release sentence:

Supervised release is a “unique” type of post-confinement monitoring that is overseen by federal district courts with the assistance of federal probation officers, rather than by the United States Parole Commission. A sentencing court is authorized (and, in some cases, required) to impose a term of supervised release in addition to a term of imprisonment. While on supervised release after reentry into the community following release from imprisonment, an offender is required to abide by certain conditions, some mandated by statute and others imposed at the court’s discretion. If an offender violates a condition, a court is authorized (and, in some cases, required) to “revoke a term of supervised release, and require the defendant to serve in prison all or part of the term of supervised release without credit for time previously served on post[-]release supervision.”...

[N]early one million federal offenders . . . [have] been sentenced to supervised release since the passage of the Sentencing Reform Act [in 1984] (including more than 100,000 offenders currently on supervised release) and with revocations occurring in approximately one-third of cases in which supervised release terms were imposed ....

[T]he percentage of successful terminations of supervision for certain offense types (e.g., drug cases) has been significantly higher than for other offense types (e.g., firearms cases). Furthermore, success rates in supervision are highly correlated with offenders’ criminal history categories at the time of the original sentencing. On average, the lower the criminal history category an offender has, the greater likelihood that the offender successfully will complete supervision without revocation for violation of the conditions of supervision.

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