|COMP STAT - Probation and Parole|
|By Kevin H. Kempf|
Thanks to the New York City Police Department, more and more police agencies are adopting COMP STAT for their Command Staff performance, planning, and overall crime reduction. COMP STAT (short for computer statistics or comprehensive statistics) was developed in 1994 and had an instant impact on crime reduction in New York. Sixteen years later, many law enforcement agencies have adopted COMP STAT for the same reasons. Only recently have Corrections and Probation/Parole agencies started to look at adopting this type of program. One state in particular, my home state of Idaho, adopted COMP STAT in 2006. We started the process by gathering all of the state’s “Best Practice” experts and worked on defining what we should and could measure. Here is what we came up with, how we did it, and the results.
First, what we came up with. We started the process by identifying things that Best Practices say reduce recidivism and enhance public safety. We talked about drug testing, risk assessments, programming, and violation rates. We agreed and put into practice a COMP STAT meeting each and every month where our statewide managers are on a conference call with the Chief of the Division and answering to what was being measured. It’s a great way to praise managers for their success and assist managers who need to improve. Here is what we measure….
Prior to COMP STAT in Idaho, two thirds of all Idaho inmates came from failed probation and parole supervision. Over the past 4 years Idaho’s Prison system experienced only 3% growth compared to 7% in prior years. After developing the Violation Matrix, violations were nearly cut in half. That’s less work for our staff and fewer violation hearings for the courts. Our time and energy is now spent on the offenders who “deserve” to be violated, not the ones we’re mad at. Prior to measuring error rates in our risk assessment, we averaged 30% to 40% errors. With COMP STAT in place, we average between 2% and 5%. Our cost of supervision collections increased because we track it and measure how we’re doing. And lastly, we track and measure our drug testing. When our programming is above standard, coupled with our drug testing, our violation rates decrease. When these numbers are down, our violations increase. It’s amazing what you’ll find when you start looking at the numbers and holding your managers accountable.
With the success Idaho has had using COMP STAT in Probation and Parole, they are adopting these same measuring tools in the Prisons and Education and Treatment Divisions. Thank you New York City Police Department and all those that helped develop this tool. Idaho department of Corrections is a data driven agency that is showing some excellent results!
Editor's note: Kevin has been in the field of Corrections for over 15 years. In that time, He has served in the capacity of Correctional Officer, Probation officer, Supervisor, District Manager, Warden, and Chief of Community Corrections. Kevin also serves as consultant/developer of POcheck LLC. Kevin is largely considered an expert in Best Practices as they relate to the Community Correction Field.
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