Spring 2019 Gavel Spring Gavel 2019 - Page 17

j. Responses: The various treatment programs designed to address the criminogenic needs and barriers of offenders. II. Identify the situations where use of community treatment responses are not appropriate. k. Success: The measure of various treatment programs. It may reflect the offender’s performance during the program, whether the program was completed, and whether the offender stayed clear of the criminal justice system for a specified period of time. There are a number of areas where use of community treatment responses are not possible, not prudent, not necessary, or not acceptable. These various areas need to be specifically identified and should include: l. Recidivism: Reflects entanglement in the criminal justice system. In a well-thought-out system, types of recidivism would be distinguished between technical violations, criminal violations, arrests, convictions, and return to incarceration. Once common definitions are reached, then these items can be compiled to produce: 2.) Empirical evidence: Every action in the criminal justice system has successes and failures. Every program can point to anecdotal success stories. To achieve sustainable long-term results, however, decisions need to be based on objective empirical evidence that reflects the totality of outcomes, both good and bad (Cullen, Myer, and Latessa, 2009). In North Dakota, there are in excess of over 30,000 new criminal cases filed every year. Operation of such a complex system by applying anecdotes of past singular experiences is not appropriate as proven by past outcomes. Objective and scientific responses produce better outcomes and the data required must be readily available. 3.) Expanded use of technology: a. Dissemination of information: North Dakota’s information technology systems must be adjusted so that empirical evidence is available to be used where needed (see Warren, 2007). b. Public safety: Technology systems must be able to objectively document the risk, danger, and public impact (other than danger) potentially posed by offenders. The system must also be able to historically record the actual public safety impacts. c. Accountability for program and offender outcomes: Technology systems must be able to document performance of programs and offenders by documenting outcomes for recidivism, success, and cost. d. Expand use of technology for responses: In addition to using technology to track and predict outcomes, expanded technology must be used to facilitate implementation of various responses. Such items as matching offender needs to responses, reminding offenders of appointments, and tracking whether they made an appointment are items where technology rather than human labor could be employed more efficiently and effectively. 1. The offense is too insignificant for meaningful intervention. Where the offense is too small, e.g., littering, to allow for a meaningful criminal justice system intervention, no consideration should be given to intervening and these individuals should not be considered for services. 2. Proposed treatment responses are not effective. Science indicates low-level repetitive treatment programs actually increase the rate of recidivism (Latessa and Holsinger, 1998). These ineffective treatment programs need to be identified and eliminated from use. If these are the only responses available, it is better to do nothing. 3. Offenders who do not need treatment. Many offenders in the justice system are ordinary individuals who made a mistake. A large number of these folks have a low risk to ever see the court system again. The trauma of being arrested, appearing in court, admitting their crime, and accepting their sanction has a lasting impact on them. These individuals understand basic responsibility, and the error of their ways. There is no need to entangle these individuals in the criminal justice system any longer than is necessary. The recidivism rate for these individuals is lower than the failure rate for even the best rehabilitation programs. It is more effective for society to identify these individuals and extricate them from the criminal justice system promptly (Lowenkamp & Latessa, 2004). Removing these low-risk individuals from the system reduces the risk of these offenders learning criminal traits from higher-risk offenders in the system. Over-involvement in the system also increases the risk of compromising the support low-risk people already have in their life (e.g., work, family, pro-social friends, et cetera). Identifying these low-risk offenders would be possible with use of a tool similar to the diversion tool currently used by the Department of Corrections that, if automated and available to the court system, could be used to help remove individuals from the system and avoid the inefficient use of limited resources and provide better outcomes. 4. Punishment is the primary goal. There are crimes so heinous, e.g., murder, that even for a first offense, society expects significant retribution as a response. In these instances, any rehabilitation programing is of secondary concern and would be addressed in prison. SPRING 2019 17