The Delaware Department of Correction this week released “Probation and Parole in Delaware: Focus on Success,” a document that highlights Delaware's “modern and dynamic probation system that leverages proven evidence-based practices and strategies to support reentry, improve compliance by probationers and reduce the rate of reincarceration.”
As of August 2020, achievement highlights include:
• 83 percent decrease in zero tolerance special conditions of supervision between 2018 and 2020. This resulted from a probation and parole directive, and partnership with, the Delaware Judiciary that increased the ability to address minor violations, reducing a probationer’s risk of reincarceration.
• 38 percent decrease in administrative warrants issued between 2014 and 2019, resulting in fewer probationers being detained pending a violation hearing.
• 102 percent increase in graduated responses between 2014 and 2019, with a 1,523-percent increase in graduated incentive responses specifically. Graduated sanctions provide additional opportunities to resolve non-compliance rather than an immediate return to incarceration. Graduated incentives serve to reinforce positive, prosocial behaviors.
• 398 percent increase in administrative commitments of probationers to short duration stays in corrections centers, in lieu of violation of probation reports being submitted to the courts, which could result in longer incarceration.
• Accreditation and reaccreditation, in 2019, by the American Correctional Association, achieving a 100 percent compliance score both times.
*Working with eligible, moderate to high risk probationers to secure housing and pay the first months’ rent using grant money.
*Expansion of case management by a community-based organization at all probation offices statewide to help probationers find employment, housing and other critical services.
Delaware's method of community supervision has “driven the successful closure of court-ordered probation cases consistently at about 77 percent for the past six years,” according to a news release from Jason Miller, DOC chief of communications and community relations.
DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said the success is “supported by a comprehensive program that identifies probationers’ needs and risk factors, tailors supervision plans for each participant, and meets their individual needs through responsive supervision, referral to services and engagement with community supports,” according to the news release.
“Delaware Probation and Parole Officers are highly trained and dedicated to helping individuals on probation lead productive lives in our communities. This report documents how their training, skills and innovative community supervision efforts are helping to keep probationers out of prison and our communities safer,” she stated.