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Reinventing Community Corrections in Washington State

Lehman, Joseph D
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Corrections Management Quarterly 5(3).

The crisis in the criminal and juvenile justice systems was seen as fueled by the public’s view that the system no longer represented an effective response to crime. There was skepticism over the system’s ability to provide the necessary assurances for public safety. Washington State took on the challenge and reinvented probation and parole through partnerships and developed a community-oriented model of supervision. The initiative began in 2000 with the passage of the Offender Accountability Act. Using a combination of actuarial-based instruments and criteria dealing with defining the nature of harm done, levels of supervision were determined, risk factors were identified, and conditions were imposed. The connection to the community was established through risk management teams made up of department staff, victims or their advocates, police, treatment providers, and community members called guardians. The key to being successful in the releasing of offenders back to our communities is recognizing that corrections professionals cannot do it alone. The ownership and solution of the problem associated with releasing offenders back to their communities must be a collaborative venture.


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