Probation and Parole

“Health service use and social vulnerability in a community-based sample of women on probation and parole, 2011–2013” 

Lorvick et al. (2015) Health and Justice. Accessed June 27, 2017 

Abstract from study: Background: Most women involved in the criminal justice system are not incarcerated, but rather on probation or parole. We examined the receipt of health services and social vulnerability among women on parole or probation in the past year. Methods: In a community-based sample of 776 women who use crack cocaine or injection drugs, we compared those who had been on probation or parole in the past year with those who had no criminal justice involvement in the past year. Results: Women recently on probation or people were no more likely have health insurance, or to receive most health services, than women not in the criminal justice system. In addition, we found social vulnerabilities that contribute to poor health to be significantly more prevalent among women on probation or parole. Conclusions: There is a missed opportunity to address health and social needs of women on probation or parole.

Does Prison Crowding Predict Higher Rates of Substance Use Related Parole Violations? A Recurrent Events Multi-Level Survival Analysis. 

Ruderman MA, Wilson DF, Reid S. (2015)  PLoS ONE 10(10). Accessed June 27, 2017 

Objective from Study: This administrative data-linkage cohort study examines the association between prison crowding and the rate of post-release parole violations in a random sample of prisoners released with parole conditions in California, for an observation period of two years (January 2003 through December 2004).

“Social support quality and availability affects risk behaviors in offenders” 

Spohr et al. (2016) Health and Justice 4:2. Accessed June 27, 2017 

Abstract from study: Background: People involved in the justice system are at 2.5 times the risk of HIV infection compared to the general population, which is further complicated by substance abuse. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of social network quality and quantity on unprotected sex, criminal risk, and substance use. Methods: We used data from 330 drug-involved offenders. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to model and test path directionality and magnitude between the latent constructs of social support quality and quantity on risky behaviors. Results: The SEM indicated the latent construct of social support quality was significantly associated with reduced sexual risk behavior (β = −0.27), criminal risk (β = −0.26), and reduced substance use (β = −0.33). Additionally, the proposed model found that social support quantity was significantly positively associated with increased sexual risk behavior (β = 0.40) and substance use (β = 0.20). Conclusions: Social support quality is an important predictor of risky behaviors; as the quality of an offender’s social support increases, engagement in risky behaviors decreases. Probationers who had broader social support availability also had increased substance use and unprotected sex. Probation systems may be able to reduce substance use and STD/HIV infection risk in offenders by strengthening the quality of social support networks

“Health-related factors predict return to custody in a large cohort of ex-prisoners: new approaches to predicting re-incarceration” 

Thomas et al. (2015) Health and Justice 3:10. Accessed June 27, 2017 

Abstract from study: Background: Numerous poor health outcomes have been documented in the world’s large and growing population of prisoners and ex-prisoners. Repeat justice involvement and incarceration is normative for ex-prisoners in most countries. This study aimed to identify important health-related predictors of re-incarceration and to quantify their contribution to predicting re-incarceration. Methods: Participants were 1 325 adult ex-prisoners in Queensland, Australia. We developed a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model for re-incarceration including health-related covariates from a pre-release survey. Results: In addition to well-established risk factors (criminal history, drug-related sentence, younger age, male gender and Indigenous ethnicity), several health-related variables were important risk factors for re-incarceration in multivariate analyses, including risky use of cannabis (hazard ratio 1.27; 95% confidence interval 1.06, 1.51), amphetamines (HR 1.20; 95%CI 0.99, 1.46) or opioids (HR 1.33; 95%CI 1.08, 1.63) prior to incarceration, central nervous system medication prescription (HR 1.28; 95%CI 1.06, 1.54), reporting that maintaining physical health post-release was not important (HR 1.52; 95%CI 0.98, 2.36) and poverty prior to incarceration (HR 1.24; 95%CI 1.02, 1.52). Sedentary behaviour (HR 0.82; 95%CI 0.68, 1.00), obesity (HR 0.81; 95%CI 0.64, 1.02), multiple lifetime chronic illnesses (HR 0.85; 95%CI 0.71, 1.01) and a history of self-harm (HR 0.72; 95%CI 0.59, 0.88) were associated with a reduced risk of re-incarceration. Inclusion of health-related variables in the model improved prediction of re-incarceration compared to a model with only demographic and criminal justice predictors, leading to an increase in adjusted proportion of explained variation of 0.051 (95%CI 0.031, 0.107). Conclusions: Health-related factors predict re-incarceration after adjustment for demographic and criminal justice factors. Further research is required to establish the reproducibility of our findings and understand the causal pathways linking health at release from prison to re-incarceration.

“Probation Staff Attitudes Toward Substance Abuse Treatment and Evidence-Based Practices.” 

Steven Belenko et al. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 2018, Vol. 62(2) 313–333 (2018) Accessed March 8, 2018

Abstract: Given the substantial need for and relatively low access to effective substance use disorder treatment for people on probation, it is critical to understand organizational and staff attitudes that may hinder or facilitate treatment linkage and willingness to adopt evidence-based practices. This study used survey data from a large county probation department to assess staff members’ attitudes and perceptions regarding their organization’s climate for innovation, role of substance use disorder treatment, support for evidence-based treatment, and organizational barriers to change. Probation staff were open to incorporating treatment into probation supervision, expressed support for rehabilitation models, and agreed that they would adopt innovations if required or they found them to be appealing. However, they expressed some concerns about the level of agency support for innovation and collaboration. Attitudes and perceptions varied by staff characteristics. Implications for expanding organizational change and adoption of evidence-based treatment practices in probation are discussed.