How can incentives be used along with negative sanctions to ensure that released prisoners comply with parole requirements and to encourage desistance from crime? What types of incentives (e.g., shortening the length of parole, relaxation of certain requirements) are most effective? What is the benefit of state issued “certificates of rehabilitation” in fostering desistance?
What types of incentives are most effective in improving the morale and performance of parole officers and system response to released prisoners? Would a regime that ties organizational rewards to improved monitoring, service delivery, and compliance with parole requirements spur organizational innovation? Can such a system increase desistance from crime by parolees in comparison with traditional parole procedures and practices?
How valid are arrests, technical violations, and other recidivism indicators as measures of desistance from crime among parolees? How well do violations of the technical requirements of community supervision predict the commission of new crimes? To what degree do recidivism measures, such as arrests, confound criminal offending with the system response to offending? Are conventional recidivism indicators more valid for some groups of parolees than others?
As this review unmistakably demonstrates, the application of scientifically rigorous methods in research and evaluation on community supervision has not been the norm and is only now beginning to emerge. Inadequate implementation of program principles and procedures appears to be a significant obstacle in the way of program effectiveness or of finding out whether a program might have benefits for participants. A major limitation of current program evaluation results is the failure to account fully for self-selection bias. Random assignment of persons to treatment and control conditions remains rare in research on the reentry process. What kinds of experimental evaluation and cost effectiveness studies could be designed and implemented to address and improve this situation? What methods are