Ramsey County Community Corrections and the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice partnered to participate in the Reducing Revocations Challenge, a national initiative of Arnold Ventures and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance dedicated to understanding the drivers of probation revocations and identifying ways to reduce them when appropriate. The project aimed to increase success on probation in Ramsey County through in-depth analysis of data from multiple sources and participation of local criminal justice and community stakeholders.
Minnesota has historically had a low incarceration rate compared to other states, but has utilized probation at a significantly higher rate. In 2016, while Minnesota had the fifth-lowest incarceration rate at 380 individuals per 100,000 adults, the state also had the fifth-highest community supervision rate, at 2,450 people per 100,000 adults.1 Given the high reliance on community supervision, it is imperative to develop policies and practices that promote the success of people on probation.
When someone has their probation sentence revoked, they serve part or most of their sentence incarcerated, making revocations a significant contributor to prison admissions. Ramsey County Community Corrections (RCCC), the agency responsible for supervising people on probation in Ramsey County, partnered with the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice to identify changes in policy and practice that can reduce probation revocations and lead to better outcomes for individuals on probation while protecting public safety. RCCC’s engagement in this project serves as a model for the state of Minnesota.
This project involved two broad questions. First, what is the pathway to revocation for people on probation in Ramsey County? This is a critical question because revocations are the result of a complex set of decisions and the process is unique to each probation jurisdiction. Second, what are the drivers of revocations in Ramsey County? The project used the results of the research to identify key areas that may be contributing to revocations or where people on probation may need additional support.
The project leadership team convened an advisory committee made up of practitioners, stakeholders, and individuals impacted by the probation system in Ramsey County to provide feedback and inform local strategy development. Project researchers used administrative revocation data, qualitative interview data, and legal and policy review to map out the revocation pathway in Ramsey County and identify opportunities for change.
Understanding Probation Violations and Disrupting the Revocation Pathway in Ramsey County, Minnesota
The culmination of this project includes the release of a report on the local drivers of probation revocations in Ramsey County and how those drivers can be targeted to reduce them: Understanding Probation Violations and Disrupting the Revocation Pathway in Ramsey County, Minnesota. An executive summary offering highlights from the full Understanding Probation Violations and Disrupting the Revocation Pathway in Ramsey County, Minnesota report can be found here.
1. Kaeble & Cowhig, 2018.
The Reducing Revocations Challenge project is supported by Arnold Ventures.