Parole Certain Sanctions Program
Last year KPEP was selected to pilot a program for parolees similar to the Swift and Sure Program for felony probationers in Michigan. It is called the Parole Certain Sanctions Program.
Three quarters into the fiscal year, I am pleased to report that the program is progressing very well and the early results are positive.
Soon after the FY 2016 budget was passed and it included money for this pilot, we went to work with Michigan Department of Corrections officials to design the program. The initial target population included only parolees with a history of abuse with opiates and or methamphetamine. Entry into this new program would be a result of a violation.
Participants are assigned a color and are required to call in daily to see if their color group has been selected to report for a drug test that day. While the colors change randomly, we test people twice per week on average. If a person tests positive, he/she is immediately held for three days. A second violation has a similar consequence. A third or fourth violation results in a treatment episode. The third violation would be a 15-30 day stay, while a fourth violation may result in up to 90 days in residential treatment.
Programs like this have been shown to reduce the use of substances among addicts. Having a treatment component, instead of just continual sanctions, was a very important part of this program design. While the random testing and short-term sanctions are effective, we felt it was important to provide treatment to what is a high-risk population after repeated use.
As is done with any good pilot, we have made adjustments to the program since it launched in November 2015. One early change was to add individuals with a cocaine addiction to the target population. This was at the request of parole agents in Muskegon who saw cocaine as more problematic in their area. We also have flexibility in either using sanction days when there is significant time between use or accelerating placement into treatment for an individual who makes that request, knowing that he or she needs the help immediately.
We have been very pleased with the results so far. The program started on November 1. The table below shows admissions, count at the end of the month, drug tests required and taken, monthly no-show rates and monthly positive drug test rates for the first eight months of the program.
As this data shows, the no-show rate and positive rate have decreased significantly in the last four months (March-June) compared to the first four (November-February). The no-show rate decreased from 16.8% to 8.5% for those two periods.* The positive rate dropped from 16.11% to 3.99% for those periods.†
|November 2015||December 2015||January 2016||February 2016||March 2016||April 2016||May 2016||June 2016|
|No Show Rate||51.1%||13.5%||13.0%||16.7%||8.4%||9.0%||9.2%||7.7%|
As impressive as the data is, knowing the impact the program has on parolees’ lives is the true test of its success. Just last week, MDOC shared an email from a Kalamazoo County parole agent that cites a clear example of that impact.
One of the agent’s parolees had completed six months in PCSP and asked if she could continue the program. According to the agent, “This is a first and might be the only time a parolee has made that kind of request.” The officer went on to explain that the parolee, “likes how the system holds her accountable…she feels PCSP is a big part of her being clean for the past 4-5 months.”
Because this pilot has shown significant positive results, the legislature expanded the program for next fiscal year and added three additional counties. We will be working with Michigan Department of Corrections officials to establish sites and implement protocols in each of the new areas. It will be important as this program expands to other counties and other agencies that the integrity of the program design remains in place.
* Averages were calculated by dividing the total number of no-shows over each four-month period by the total number of tests required in the same four-month period. Because the number of tests required each month varied, four-month averages do not reflect an average of the monthly no-show rate.
† Averages were calculated by dividing the total number of positive tests over each four-month period by the total number of tests taken over the same four-month period. Because the number of tests taken each month varied, four-month averages do not reflect an average of the monthly positive rate.
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