Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Joins National Challenge to Increase Probation Success and Protect Public Safety

In partnership with Ramsey County Community Corrections, the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice is excited to announce that it has been selected to participate in the Reducing Revocations Challenge, a national initiative of Arnold Ventures and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) dedicated to understanding the drivers of probation revocations and identifying ways to reduce the community supervision failures that send almost 350,000 people to jails and prisons nationally each year. From 2002 to 2016 there were 20,400 individuals sentenced to felony probation in Ramsey County. Through the end of 2017, 4,174 (20.5%) individuals were revoked. The Challenge aims to increase success on probation through the identification, piloting, and testing of promising strategies grounded in a robust analysis and understanding of why revocations occur. 

To carry out this work, the Robina Institute will receive a $197,000 grant to conduct on the ground, in-depth research and data analysis on the drivers of probation failures. The findings will be used to propose evidence-based solutions for policy and practice; selected strategies may receive additional funding in a potential second phase of the initiative. The Robina Institute and Ramsey County Community Corrections will be part of a learning network alongside the nine other jurisdictions selected to participate in the Challenge, including participation in a cross-site summit, where findings and potential solutions will be shared and discussed. Members of the learning network will also receive guidance and technical assistance from ISLG and an Advisory Board of experts in the field at each step along the way.  

“We are honored to be working in partnership with Ramsey County Community Corrections,” said Kelly Mitchell, Executive Director of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. “Ramsey County is committed to helping people succeed on probation, and it’s a real testament to their professionalism and dedication to the community that they are interested in looking under the hood to figure out where things might not be working as expected and where resources may be needed to promote more successful outcomes. The data-driven approach we plan to use in this project has the potential to serve as a model for analyzing and addressing probation revocations throughout the state. We are eager to get started!”

“We are really looking forward to our partnership with Robina, it provides us the opportunity to work as a system to change the negative impacts of the high rates of revocation particularly in regards to racial equity,” said John Klavins, Ramsey County’s Director of Community Corrections. “We are committed to using data to understand the revocation pathways in our county and develop solutions to promote success for people on probation in our community.”

“Probation revocations are a significant driver of incarceration—in light of that, it’s great to see corrections leaders stepping up to transform what’s not working and expand what is,” said Amy Solomon, Vice President of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures. “The Reducing Revocations Challenge sites represent the cutting edge of research-practitioner partnerships, and each site will serve as a model for other jurisdictions, demonstrating the most effective ways to reduce probation failures, strengthen public safety, and ensure greater equity in our communities.”

“Probation violations have resulted in significant increases to prison populations to no good effect, and it’s time to refocus resources on policies and practices that will help people succeed and increase public safety,” said Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of ISLG and former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation. “We look forward to collaborating with these 10 sites in their pioneering efforts to do just that. Understanding what drives revocations—and for whom—is a critical first step, and the insights we gain from the Challenge can help probation offices around the country advance effective strategies for increasing success.”