Aligning Supervision Conditions with the Risk-Needs-Responsivity Framework

Two women working and talking

Community supervision, commonly known as probation or parole, involves people serving part of their sentence under supervision while living in the community. Supervision conditions are requirements that individuals must comply with during this period, such as engaging in a treatment program, maintaining employment, or regularly checking in with their probation or parole officer. However, the current condition-setting approach often focuses on setting restrictions on behavior without providing meaningful guidance for behavioral change. This policy brief proposes aligning supervision conditions with the Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) framework to improve outcomes for individuals on supervision and the community. This consists of:

  1. Imposing fewer conditions as risk level decreases. 
  2. Eliminating or minimizing standard conditions. 
  3. Using special conditions to target one or two of the highest scoring criminogenic needs.
  4. Offering services rather than conditions to address responsivity. 
  5. Imposing no, or minimal conditions, when risk and needs assessment information is not available. 

By shifting the focus from solely restricting behavior to addressing criminogenic needs and promoting meaningful behavior change, conditions can better serve their intended purposes of reducing reoffending and ensuring public safety.