Program Type: Pre-Trial/Pre-Sentencing Sanctions
Program  Location: Arkansas
Lead Agency: South Arkansas Substance Abuse Primary Program
Partners: Offices and agencies in the Thirteenth Judicial District of Arkansas, including the Governor’s Office, the Arkansas Department of Community Correction, the Arkansas Supreme Court, the National Partnership for Alcohol Misuse and Crime, Robert DuPont Institute for Behavioral Health, and Texas Christian University Institute of Behavioral Research
The Issue: Prevention
Treatment
Recidivism
Reduce Spending
Program Target Population: Repeat Offenders
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement

The Smarter Sentencing Pilot Program (SSPP) aims to reduce felony convictions, increase public safety, and reduce Department of Corrections spending by using effective evidence-based sentencing practices for nonviolent felony-level offenders.  The program offers innovative pre-trial and pre-sentencing sanctions and services for offenders who are accepted into the program.  Law enforcement, the judiciary, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, and community service providers work together to guide the administration and operation of the program.

The SSPP focuses on criminogenic risk and need factors with a thorough assessment process that examines participants’ criminal history, education, employment history, finances, family and social support, environment, substance abuse and mental health, peer associations, and criminal attitudes and behavioral patterns. The SSPP incorporates the Ohio Risk Assessment System.

This risk/needs assessment process leads to classification and placement within SSPP’s  three tiers. The assessment is re-administered as the offender progresses in the SSPP to ensure best use of resources and compatibility with offenders’ needs. Each tier includes community-based correctional programs. 

Tier 1A

Tier 1B

Tier 2

Tier 3

8 weeks in peer-to-peer accountability group.

8 weeks in peer-to-peer accountability group.

28 weeks outpatient treatment and up to 20 weeks in peer-to-peer accountability group.

28 weeks outpatient treatment and 20 weeks in peer-to-peer accountability group.

Participation in community-based programs (treatment, family counseling, anger management, job training, mental health therapy and education services). Participation is optional unless ordered by the SSPP team.

Participation in community-based programs (treatment, family counseling, anger management, job training, mental health therapy and education services). Participation is optional unless ordered by the SSPP team.

Required participation in community-based programs including outpatient treatment, anger management, co-occurring mental health/substance abuse treatment, mental health therapy, help with prescriptions, child daycare, transportation, and transitional housing.

Required participation in community-based programs including outpatient treatment, anger management, co-occurring mental health/substance abuse treatment, mental health therapy, help with prescriptions, child daycare, transportation, and transitional housing.

Payment of restitution associated with case.

 

Random breathalyzer/urine analysis testing.

Mandatory 24/7 drug and alcohol monitoring and regular meetings with resource officer and compliance technician.

Reside in halfway house, continuous alcohol monitoring, and house arrest. Twice-a-week meetings with resource officer and compliance technician.

Complete any other SSPP requirements.

Payment of restitution associated with case.

Monthly accountability: SSPP team reviews and reassessments to measure offender progress.

Monthly accountability: SSPP team reviews and reassessments to measure offender progress.

 

 

Complete any other SSPP requirements.

Pay restitution associated with case.

Pay restitution associated with case.

 

 

Complete any other SSPP Program requirements.

Complete any other SSPP requirements.

Offenders who test positive for drug or alcohol use or who fail to comply with other terms of their accountability agreement are subject to sanctions that include flash incarceration, extra community service hours, and increased supervision on a first offense. Additional positive tests result in increased sanctions, additional time in the program, transfer to a more restrictive tier, or termination from the program.

Positive participation in the program can result in encouragement and simple rewards for progress made.

The SSPP also utilizes data collection and screening assessment instruments that enable cross communication and collaboration among supportive agencies. This enhances the ability to effectively communicate, collect data, and evaluate outcomes of offenders.  

The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council governs the program and is composed of the public and private partners responsible for the operation of the criminal justice system and supportive services of the Thirteenth Judicial District Division 1.

Program Effectiveness:

The SSPP incorporates evidence-based practices that specifically target criminogenic risk and need factors. Empirical evidence shows that community-based programs that target criminogenic risk and needs, incorporate effective classification strategies, and hire and retain efficient staff to administer programs can increase successful outcomes (reducing recidivism) by as much as 80 percent.  Around-the-clock monitoring detects relapse and can present opportunities for therapeutic intervention.

Program Cost Effectiveness:   

Risk and need assessments better ensure that program participants are given the treatment that would best help them and maximize the effect of scarce resources.

Sources of Funding:

  • SSPP participants
  • A Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant

Factors to Consider When Replicating the Program:

  • Potential resistance among prosecutors to community programs versus traditional imprisonment
  • The need for empirically-validated mental health assessment tools
  • The need for education on criminogenic risk and need assessments

 

For more information on this program, please contact

Paul Meason
870-881-9301
paulmeason@sasaeldo.org