Intensive supervision programs (ISP) have proliferated in the past decade. They generally emphasize reduced caseloads, close surveillance, urinalysis, treatment, and employment. RAND, in a randomized field experiment, evaluated a national ISP demonstration project in fourteen jurisdictions in nine states. The programs were implemented well, particularly with respect to probation and parole officers' contacts and drug testing but were less successful at increasing treatment participation. Intensive supervision probation did not decrease the frequency or seriousness of new arrests but did increase the incidence of technical violations and jail terms. Stepped-up surveillance and frequent drug tests increased incarceration rates and drove up program and court costs compared with routine supervision. Development of an array of sentencing options to create a graduated sentencing system should justify continued development and testing of ISP programs.

Originally published in: Crime and Justice, v. 17, pp. 281-335.

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