Connecticuts Alternative Sanctions Program _619 Million Saved in Estimated Capital and Operating Costs - 1998

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Connecticuts Alternative Sanctions Program _619 Million Saved in Estimated Capital and Operating Costs - 1998 Powered By Docstoc
					U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Assistance

Bulletin From the Field                                                                                         October 1998

             ractitioner                                                                      Nancy E. Gist, Director

           erspectives                                               Onsite Visits, Case Histories, and State
                                                                        and Local Innovations From the
                                                                          Bureau of Justice Assistance

   [The program] built on
                               Connecticut’s Alternative
   the wise belief that not    Sanctions Program
  every criminal should go     $619 Million Saved in Estimated Capital
    to prison continues to     and Operating Costs
   prove itself. It is money   By Patrick J. Coleman, Jeffrey Felten-Green, and Geroma Oliver, BJA

   well spent. Since 1990,

      more than 40,000                  ny visitor to the Alternative to
                                        Incarceration Center (AIC) in
   offenders, most of them              Bridgeport, Connecticut, will be
    confronted with their      impressed by the facility’s structure and or-
                               ganization. The Bridgeport center is one of
    first-ever prison term,    Connecticut’s 17 AICs, which serve refer-
 have been diverted to this    rals from the 17 state courts. Just inside the
                               front door is a control center that tracks the
   nationally recognized       comings and goings of the several hundred
   program. . . . Extensive    offenders who are assigned to the center
                                                                                Alternative sanctions clients work alongside
                               each year. During our visit on February 22       community members to build and maintain
   counseling explores the     and 23, 1998, a Connecticut Noreaster was        playscapes in Connecticut communities.
     root of the problem,      pounding the outside walls of the AIC, so
                               many clients were busy at various activities     (OAS). More physical work includes activi-
  community work teaches       within the center. For example, down the         ties like cleaning up state parks, removing
                               hall from the control center, six clients were   trash from inner-city vacant lots, or building
 reliability while restoring                                                    and maintaining giant playscapes (as OAS
                               folding and stapling newsletters for local
    dignity, and reading       nonprofit organizations to fill part of the      community service teams have a reputation
                               community service requirement of their           of doing). OAS Field Services organizes and
   programs help develop                                                        runs all of the community service opportu-
                               sentence. Ordinarily, if it had not been rain-
       valuable skills.        ing so hard, “Most of these clients would be     nities available to OAS clients.
                               outside doing much more physical commu-          The AIC also contains a classroom and a
   The Hartford Courant
                               nity service work,” according to Jim             computer room where clients are taught
    October 20, 1997
                               Greene, Deputy Director of Field Services        how to read or prepare for their general
                               for the Office of Alternative Sanctions          equivalency diploma (GED). One part of
Bulletin From the Field: Practitioner Perspectives

this educational program—Project                Community Service Labor                  adults (18 and older). Each offender’s
READ—is funded through the Bu-                  Program. This program requires that      risk of reoffending and his or her living
                                                offenders provide needed services to
reau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Ed-                                                     skills needs (staying sober, learning to
                                                the community in lieu of prosecution.
ward Byrne Memorial Formula Grant                                                        read, maintaining employment) are as-
funds. Other services available to AIC          Electronic Monitoring. Electronic        sessed by judicial branch personnel
                                                monitoring technology is used to
clients include substance abuse treat-                                                   and alternative sanctions program staff.
                                                verify that an offender remains in his
ment and a batterer’s education group.          or her home during specified hours.      The offender is then placed in the
                                                                                         program(s) most likely to protect the
Michael Lawlor, Co-Chair of the Ju-             Day Incarceration Centers
                                                (DICs). The most serious offenders       community and assist the offender in
diciary Committee in the Connecti-
                                                are supervised in DICs 7 days a week     developing skills that will keep him or
cut House of Representatives, said,
                                                during the day. At night, all DIC        her out of the criminal justice system
“[Alternatives to incarceration are]
                                                clients are monitored electronically.    in the future. Evaluations have shown
an alternative to prison, not an alter-
                                                Youth Confinement Centers                that OAS programs are saving money
native to punishment.” Alternative
                                                (YCCs). Drug-involved offenders,         and reducing offender recidivism.1
sanctions programs allow the state
                                                between ages 16 and 21, are confined
courts to ensure that all criminal of-          in these centers where they receive      How did Connecticut pull this off
fenders receive swift, certain, and             substance abuse treatment services.      when most of the nation is getting
meaningful punishment, while re-                Project Green. This project              tough on crime and building more and
paying the community and prevent-               combines extensive community             more prisons? How have the programs
ing the citizens of Connecticut from            service in state parks with substance    generated legitimacy and public sup-
having to fund the operations of new            abuse treatment.                         port for keeping criminals out of
prisons years into the future. Bill             Women and Children Program.              prison? How have they avoided the
Carbone, the Director of OAS said,              This program permits female offend-      traditional problems of overcrowding
“These programs don’t remove the                ers to live with their children during   and underfunding, which have ruined
need for prison; they reinforce the             their participation in a treatment       the effectiveness of many criminal
severity of prison as a sanction.”                                                       justice intervention programs in the
                                                Traditional Inpatient Drug and           past? How have they escaped the
AICs are just one element in a com-             Alcohol Treatment. With this
                                                                                         damaging, negative publicity that
plete continuum of alternative sanc-            treatment, clients are admitted to a
                                                residential setting where they receive   would have rained down if even one
tions. Placements are made according
                                                detoxification, substance abuse          offender had committed a high-profile
to the amount of risk a client poses to
                                                treatment, and educational/vocational    violent crime in the 8 years since the
the community. These alternatives
                                                assistance.                              program started? Do alternative sanc-
                                            The Connecticut judiciary has estab-         tions really make a difference in the
    Alternative to Incarceration                                                         safety of the community and the lives
                                            lished alternative sanction options for
    Centers. AICs provide supervision,
                                            virtually every offender who does            of offenders? Before our visit we had
    substance abuse treatment, educa-
    tional/vocational assistance, coun-     not absolutely have to be in prison.         a lot of questions about the program.
    seling, and community service           Alternative sanctions programs are           But after much background research
    opportunities. All AICs are operated    available to juveniles (up to age 16),       and 2 days in Connecticut conducting
    by private nonprofit agencies.          youthful offenders (ages 16 to 18), and      interviews with seven key political

    This series is dedicated to the exploration of vital issues in criminal justice program development and manage-
    ment. Case studies highlight the work of progressive, innovative people and programs in state and local criminal
    justice systems. Although a case study may include a detailed description of the operational aspects of a program,
    it is not a scientific program evaluation. Rather, it is a document designed to explore the interaction of factors
    such as collaboration, politics, resources, culture, and others that play a part in successful public management.

                                                                                     Connecticut’s Alternative Sanctions Program

and program players, three groups of      building, once an economic develop-          O’Neill, and members of the state leg-
alternative sanctions staff, and two      ment plumb sought by Connecticut             islature had explored the ideas of al-
groups of clients (one juvenile and       communities, was no longer popular.          ternatives to incarceration as well.
one adult) and visiting four day re-      Even enormous tax incentives offered         Director Carbone, however, gives
porting centers in two cities, our        by the state were not enough to per-         credit for the formulation of the idea
questions were answered.                  suade communities to allow the build-        and the sheparding of the legislation
                                          ing of new prisons in their midst. Also,     to Judge Aaron Ment.
History                                   it became apparent to Connecticut
                                                                                       The Honorable Judge Ment, highly
                                          residents that the prison-building
Development of the                                                                     respected Chief Court Administrator
                                          marathon had not solved the criminal
Connecticut Alternative                                                                in Connecticut, stepped forward dur-
                                          justice system’s sentencing integrity
Sanctions Program                                                                      ing the prison crisis with ideas that
                                                                                       called for more effective sanctions and
Bill Carbone, the Director of OAS and
                                          In addition, Connecticut, along with         less money. In 1990, Judge Ment pro-
a career advocate for progress in the
                                          the rest of the country in 1990, was         posed two pieces of legislation. The
Connecticut criminal justice system,
                                          experiencing an economic recession.          first created the Office of Alternative
told us, “In the late 1980s, the crimi-
                                          Mr. Carbone told us, “There was no           Sanctions and empowered judges to
nal justice system in Connecticut had
                                          Connecticut income tax in 1990, and          sentence offenders directly to interme-
lost its integrity in the eyes of the
                                          the sales tax wasn’t generating suffi-       diate sanction programs, including
public. Most offenders [including vio-
                                          cient revenue to maintain state institu-     substance abuse treatment. OAS was
lent offenders] sentenced to prison
                                          tions, let alone expand them. State          to develop a series of alternatives to
were doing 10 percent or less of their
                                          employees were being laid off, and the       incarceration for low-risk pretrial and
sentence.” This crisis was, in part,
                                          construction of any new state institu-       postadjudication offenders. OAS was
due to 1981 legislation that dis-
                                          tions became an unpopular option.”           to provide judges with a variety of
mantled the Connecticut Parole
                                          Government leaders and criminal jus-         sanctions that took into account the
System and established definite sen-
                                          tice officials realized that the prison-     seriousness of the offense and the
tencing. Definite sentencing led to
                                          building effort had resolved neither         criminal history of the offender. A get-
longer sentences for offenders and
                                          the crowding problems nor their cred-        tough side to OAS was to be set up; if
fewer releases from prison. The im-
                                          ibility problems. We spoke with Ed           an offender failed the program, he or
mediate result of definite sentencing
                                          Schmidt, Counsel to the Connecticut          she would be sent to prison to com-
was prison overcrowding, which led to
                                          House of Representatives, who told           plete the full sentence. OAS was to
a dramatic increase in the use of su-
                                          us, “Despite political differences,          base its programs on two premises:
pervised home release for offenders.
Bill Carbone told us, “The original       there was no incentive to defend the         1. Every individual convicted of a crime
response to this problem, much like       status quo.”                                    should be swiftly punished and that
                                                                                          punishment should be strictly
the current response in many other
                                          Court as a Community                            enforced. The sanctions, however,
areas of the country, was to build [fa-                                                   should be consistent with the severity
cilities to hold] 11,000 prison beds.     Problem Solver                                  of the offense, the offender’s criminal
Between 1985 and 1990 the state of        Director Carbone told us that he and            and personal history, and public
Connecticut spent over $1 billion in                                                      safety needs.
                                          several others were responsible for
this effort.”                             the idea behind the creation of OAS.         2. A continuum of credible, enforceable
                                          He chaired the Connecticut Commis-              community-based sentencing options,
By 1990, however, the citizens of                                                         falling between probation and prison
Connecticut were tired of paying for      sion on Prison Overcrowding, which              should be created in every court in
the construction and upkeep of new        had recommended alternatives to in-             Connecticut. Intermediate sanctions
prisons. The original expense of          carceration as an option for solving            must punish justly and sensibly and
building the prisons was minor com-       prison crowding and sentencing                  ensure the availability of prison space
                                          legitimacy issues. The Governor at              for violent and chronic offenders.2
pared with the ongoing expense of op-
erating them year after year. Prison      the time, Democrat William A.

Bulletin From the Field: Practitioner Perspectives

Judge Ment’s second piece of legisla-       OAS indefinitely with no additional         the Corrections Program Office has
tion demanded progressive increases         sunset clauses.                             funded a drug treatment program for
in the percentage of time served by                                                     mothers and their children to fill a
                                            All branches of Connecticut’s govern-
inmates and ultimately reinstated the                                                   large gap in available treatment ser-
                                            ment worked together to respond to the
Connecticut parole system. This legis-                                                  vices from OAS. This combination of
                                            prison and jail overcrowding crisis.
lation required that, within a year,                                                    extensive state resources and signifi-
                                            The judicial branch conducted re-
with the diversion of 1,500 inmates to                                                  cant contributions from BJA and other
                                            search that led to the development of
OAS, minimum prison sentences had                                                       OJP agencies has kept OAS well
                                            OAS and accepted the responsibility
to increase from 10 percent to at least                                                 funded and well managed.
                                            for the administration of the project.
25 percent of the sentence. In the
                                            The legislature passed the public acts
second year, with 3,000 offenders di-                                                   Selling Alternative Sanctions
                                            described above. The executive branch
verted to OAS, 40 percent of prison                                                     in a “Tough on Crime”
                                            has increased funding for these initia-
sentences had to be served. In the                                                      World
                                            tives every year, despite the state’s pe-
third year, with 4,500 offenders going                                                  In 1987, the declaration of the War on
                                            riodic financial problems.
to OAS, the parole system was to be                                                     Drugs started a trend of criminalizing
reinstated. According to this legisla-      In addition to the progressive state
                                                                                        what were previously considered to be
tion, inmates could not see the parole      financial commitment, the Bureau of
                                                                                        minor offenses, such as low-level
board until they had served 50 per-         Justice Assistance has also supported
                                                                                        drug possession.3 Most of the nation
cent of their sentence—with no time         OAS efforts steadily over the years.
                                                                                        seemed to agree that government
off for good behavior, no exceptions,       Since 1994, OAS has received more
                                                                                        should incarcerate more people for
and no frills. Judge Ment’s legislation     than $11.5 million in BJA Byrne For-
                                                                                        longer periods of time to demonstrate
was intended to restore the severity of     mula Grant funds, which are adminis-
                                                                                        its intolerance of crime.4 Three years
prison sentences and represented a          tered in Connecticut by the Justice
                                                                                        later, Judge Ment was successful in
critical element in the Connecticut         Planning Unit in the Governor’s Of-
                                                                                        getting legislation passed that would
judiciary’s effort to control prison and    fice of Policy and Management. In
                                                                                        prevent many of these same low-level
jail overcrowding by providing court-       addition to Project READ, Byrne
                                                                                        offenders from going to prison. How
based pretrial and sentencing options       funding has been used to support ju-
                                                                                        did the supporters of alternative sanc-
for judges to consider in lieu of long      venile justice centers; Latino offender
                                                                                        tions effectively sell this idea?
periods of incarceration.                   programs; AIC capacity enhance-
                                            ments; intensive supervision of sex         Judge Ment said that several things
Judge Ment told us, “I don’t consider                                                   had to be in place for him and his
                                            offenders; the New Haven, Waterbury,
myself a ‘Judicial Activist,’ but I do                                                  supporters to be successful. First
                                            and Hartford drug courts; and many
believe that the court should play a                                                    of all, there had to be a prison crisis
                                            other OAS programs. OAS has also
role as a problemsolver for the com-                                                    or they would not have needed
                                            received more than $2.5 million in
munity.” Both pieces of legislation                                                     alternative sanctions. Second, they
                                            BJA discretionary funding for correc-
passed with one condition—a 5-year                                                      had to have the support of the state
                                            tions options programs for Latino,
sunset clause. This clause was a mes-                                                   judiciary. Judge Ment said, “We
                                            female, and youthful offenders.
sage to Judge Ment and the support-                                                     avoided telling judges they had to
ers of OAS; they had 5 years to             In the last 2 years, OAS has also re-
                                                                                        [use alternatives]—we have no
demonstrate that they could safely          ceived funding from other offices
                                                                                        sentencing guidelines in Connecti-
and effectively manage low-risk of-         within the U.S. Department of Justice
                                                                                        cut.” Instead, Judge Ment offered
fenders outside prison. At the end of       (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs
                                                                                        the judges the possibility of having
5 years, the Connecticut legislature        (OJP). A Family Violence Court
                                                                                        a “full array of sanctions” and hav-
would have to pass new legislation to       Docket has been funded in three Con-
                                                                                        ing “complete control” over their
fund OAS or the program would end.          necticut cities by the Violence Against
                                                                                        implementation. Another crucial
When the 5-year period was up, the          Women Grants Office. OJP’s Drug
                                                                                        element was the accompanying legis-
legislature unanimously passed a bill       Courts Program Office has funded a
                                                                                        lation, which demanded minimums
that continued the operation of the         drug court in Bridgeport. Additionally,
                                                                                        for time served. Judge Ment said,

                                                                                        Connecticut’s Alternative Sanctions Program

“Credibility is crucial—[alternative
sanctions] have to be an alternative
to higher sanction, such as prison.”
Once the legislation was passed, the
fledgling OAS had 5 years to prove that
its solution worked. Mr. Carbone said,
“We had no time to waste, so we started
evaluating our programs from the be-
ginning.” In fact, the survival of OAS
depended upon several objectives that
had to be accomplished for potential
detractors to be sold on the idea.
Developing Firm Public
Support. To secure public support,
OAS waged an effective marketing          Clients clean up at Yale Bowl after the opening ceremonies at the 1995 World Games of the
campaign emphasizing the account-         Special Olympics.
ability aspects of alternatives to
                                          opportunities for its clients. One ex-           which has raised the public profile of
incarceration. A highly visible
                                          ample is its work with the Nutmeg                its community service work. Director
community service component was
                                          Games, an annual state athletic event.           Carbone has been open and willing to
developed that showed offenders
                                          Ordinarily, community service work-              talk to the press when approached
doing hard work to pay back the
                                          ers would clean up the trash after the           about OAS programs and evaluation
community and improve neighbor-
                                          event. But after OAS had established             outcomes. This openness, combined
hoods. Jim Greene said that “we
                                          the credibility of its community                 with the success of the program, has
had to legitimize community ser-
                                          service program, it began using of-              resulted in an ongoing positive rela-
vice. We did this by putting offend-
                                          fenders to collect the gate money at             tionship with the press.
ers along side regular volunteers.
                                          the Nutmeg Games. Jim Greene said,
It’s more changing the image of of-                                                        OAS creates its own newsletters and
                                          “We’ve collected more than $70,000
fenders than changing the offend-                                                          holds its own staff meetings, confer-
                                          over each of the last 4 years and the
ers.” OAS clients assist community                                                         ences, and program evaluations for its
                                          books have always balanced.”
volunteer organizations in building                                                        network of providers. Providers share
playgrounds, maintaining state            To make sure that the community                  the newsletters with OAS clients and
parks, cleaning inner-city vacant         service work was visible to the public,          the public. The staff meetings and
lots, and building “pocket parks”         OAS clients work alongside residents             conferences allow ordinarily isolated
on vacant lots. Jim Greene said,          from the community. People who may               providers to create and reinforce a
“We try to avoid derision of clients      have been unsure about having offend-            network that includes other commu-
and use them always as a resource.        ers work on projects in their commu-             nity providers across the state. The
. . .We have our supervisors work         nity “virtually always change their              program evaluations update local pro-
right alongside offenders.”               mind after a day of working alongside            viders on the impact of the program so
                                          one of our clients,” said Jim Greene.            that they can respond to questions
One of the problems with community
                                          Having offenders work with community             from community members about the
service programs has always been
                                          members not only raises the visibility           nature and success of OAS programs.
getting the clients to fulfill their
                                          and community acceptance of OAS
obligations. Jim Greene said, “We                                                          Another effort used to gain public
                                          programs, but also legitimizes the work
thought, ‘What if offenders actually                                                       support for alternative sanctions
                                          of the offenders while integrating them
wanted to do community service?’.”                                                         was emphasizing how much tax
                                          with the noncriminal population.
To accomplish this, OAS sought                                                             payer money the program would
out unusual community service             OAS has also attracted a good deal of            save—$25,000 is spent annually to
                                          positive attention from the press,               incarcerate an offender compared

Bulletin From the Field: Practitioner Perspectives

with $7,000 spent (with an average of
four clients per slot per year) to su-
pervise an offender through alterna-
tive sanctions. Further, Judge Ment
told us, “The late Raymond Burr
made two movies to promote and in-
form the public about alternative
sanctions. One included an interview
with a victim.” These movies relayed
the message that even victims saw al-
ternative sanctions as more appropri-
ate for low-risk offenders than prison.
Maintaining Credibility. When
asked how the program has managed
to build and maintain its credibility,
Tom Siconolfi, Director of the Justice
Planning Unit in the Governor’s Of-
fice of Policy and Management, said
                                             Clients build a lookout tower in a Connecticut state park, which will be used to spot forest fires.
it was “with no horror stories plus
lots of positive stories.” Jim Greene       reputation for doing a good job are                  Another benefit of privatization is that
explained, “We have managed the             suddenly flooded with referrals of all               it allows OAS to use organizations
heck out of these programs—the              kinds. Some programs accept inappro-                 that are already providing services
entire project is dependent upon            priate referrals under this pressure                 and have already established cred-
proper supervision.” When perform-          and end up with horror stories that hit              ibility in the community. Further,
ing community service OAS main-             the press and damage the credibility                 shedding the bureaucracy, according
tains a ratio of one staff member to        of the programs. There may be nothing                to Mr. Carbone, “allowed OAS to start
six offenders. Jack Bailey, the Chief       wrong with the programs, but admit-                  and expand programming almost im-
State’s Attorney in Connecticut told        ting the wrong types of clients could                mediately when it could have taken
us, “There is another side to cred-         be disastrous.                                       years had the programs been state op-
ibility and that is accountability. If                                                           erations.” Finally, and what is most
                                            Maximizing the Benefits of
an OAS client doesn’t show up to the                                                             important—for OAS, its supporters,
                                            Privatization. Alternative sanctions
AIC, they are reported and docketed                                                              and the community—privatization
                                            programs are operated through OAS
to be in court the next day.” This                                                               makes program providers accountable
                                            contracts with private, nonprofit orga-
swift response to noncompliance                                                                  to OAS. If a contracted service pro-
                                            nizations. Privatization helped to sell
sends a message to offenders, law                                                                vider is not doing a good job, Jim
                                            this program to Connecticut’s Gover-
enforcement personnel, and the com-                                                              Greene said that OAS “can drop them
                                            nor, voters, legislators, press, judges,
munity that OAS is serious about its                                                             in 30 days.” Privatization offered cost
                                            and corrections system in several ways.
commitment to public safety.                                                                     savings, accountability, smaller gov-
                                            First, privatization has a reputation for
                                                                                                 ernment, and community economic
Perhaps the most significant factor in      saving money because, when done cor-
                                                                                                 development—all were appealing to
maintaining credibility is that OAS de-     rectly, services can be provided with-
                                                                                                 conservatives who might have op-
signed these programs exclusively for       out the massive administrative
                                                                                                 posed a program that they could have
pretrial and low-risk offenders and has     overhead that comes with operating
                                                                                                 killed by labeling it “soft on crime.”
stayed true to its admission criteria.      under the state government umbrella.
OAS has carefully followed the design       Next, privatization allows “small gov-               Creating the Opportunity To Get
of its programs and admits only offend-     ernment” advocates to say that they are              Tough on Prison Sentences.
ers that match the admission criteria.      providing more services to the state                 Shortly after the two pieces of legisla-
Many correctional programs that get a       with fewer government employees.                     tion that created OAS and minimum

                                                                                           Connecticut’s Alternative Sanctions Program

prison time served were passed, of-       patience, tenacity, and reinforced                  appointed by the Governor. Local state’s
fenders sent to prison were required      credibility to sell alternative sanc-               attorneys are appointed by the Commis-
to spend significantly longer portions    tions to the people of Connecticut. Mr.             sion on Criminal Justice, which is ap-
of their sentence behind bars. It be-     Bailey said, “If you have one element               pointed by the Governor. Jack Bailey
came possible for “tough on crime”        of the criminal justice system against              said, “The Attorney General is elected,
lawmakers to consider more stringent      it, it won’t go.” Mr. Siconolfi added,              but has no jurisdiction over criminal
prison sentences for appropriate          “If an area doesn’t have a critical                 matters—civil only.” Further, Con-
crimes. This was largely due to the       mass of issues (i.e., prison relief                 necticut has no county governments,
prison beds that were made available      needs) [and a] demonstrated level of                and therefore no county courts. There
by the diversion of low-risk offenders    cooperation among all leaders, you                  are few stakeholders and fewer turf
to OAS. More prison beds and tougher      can have the money or not, [but] it                 boundaries to cross in trying to obtain
sentences restored the credibility of a   probably won’t work.”                               the necessary consensus of support for
prison sentence.                                                                              alternative sanctions programs.
                                          Unique Political Structure
Avoiding a Fight With the                                                                     In short, none of the players that
                                          May Have Helped Establish
Unions. Another common difficulty                                                             would have to defend alternative
with active offender community                                                                sanctions on the political stump have
services programs involves replacing      The state of Connecticut has a unique               to run for election. Jack Bailey said,
union workers with offenders. The         government structure. State court                   “It would have been a much harder
OAS community services programs           judges are nominated by the Governor                sell if they had to run for election. If I
operate in state parks and inner-city     and appointed by the general assembly               were running on the opposing side, I
sites but generally do not displace       for 8-year terms and can only be re-                would get up and say, ‘We spend $35
any workers, particularly union work-     moved with just cause. The Chief Court              million a year on prosecuting and $42
ers. Jim Greene told us that the state    Administrator is appointed by the Chief             million on keeping [offenders] out
workforce had been so depleted by         Justice of the Connecticut Supreme                  of prison. Don’t you think its time
the recession of the late 1980s and       Court who is appointed by the Gover-                we restored the credibility of the
early 1990s that there were “basically    nor. The Chief State’s Attorney is ap-              criminal justice system?’. ” Because
no union staff left to maintain state     pointed by a commission, which is                   these players do not have to run for
parks.” OAS clients were meeting a
community need but not threatening
the jobs of hard-working, honest citi-
zens; this was key to selling the idea.
Avoiding Becoming a Political
Football. All of the factors discussed
above have, to date, prevented OAS
from becoming a political football.
Judge Ment and Director Carbone
have carefully sheparded the program
through the economic and political
minefields. A “soft on crime” label,
an OAS client committing a violent
crime, an impression of government
expansion draining tax dollars, or
a suspicion that citizens must com-
pete with offenders for jobs can be
portrayed as highly volatile images
that are easily adapted to the needs
of political opportunists. It has taken   Alternative sanctions clients work to put out a forest fire in a Connecticut state park.

Bulletin From the Field: Practitioner Perspectives

election, the issue is not tested on the       can. . . . AIC is a good program           Youth confinement centers.
front lines by today’s contentious             for those who want to take advan-          Sex offender supervision and
partisan politics.                             tage of a good thing. If you have          treatment.
                                               the attitude you are going to              Electronic monitoring/house arrest.
These political dynamics have cen-
                                               make your time here count, you
tralized control and allowed a small                                                      Victim restitution.
                                               can accomplish anything.
number of individuals to shape policy                                                     Halfway house placement.
without having to pass the test of in-                                —AIC Client
                                                                                       These are cost-effective alternatives
tense public scrutiny. In this day of                             February 24, 1998
                                                                                       to incarceration that use community-
campaign sound bites, misquotes and
                                            Structure                                  based punishment, treatment, and
quotes taken out of context, and po-
                                                                                       supervision of criminal offenders.
litical grandstanding on criminal           The Connecticut judicial branch has
justice issues, it is likely that this                                                 We spoke to several offenders at the
                                            administrative authority over all crimi-
consolidation of power has contrib-                                                    Bridgeport AIC about their experi-
                                            nal courts, the Bail Commission, the
uted immensely to the acceptance of                                                    ences with alternative sanctions. All
                                            Office of Adult Probation (OAP), and
alternative sanctions in Connecticut.                                                  reported very positive encounters. An
                                            OAS. OAS has primary responsibility
                                                                                       offender involved in the more restric-
This should not take away from the          for coordinating and contracting pub-
                                                                                       tive Day Incarceration Center pro-
fact that OAS is supported by a bipar-      lic and private efforts to expand alter-
                                                                                       grams said, “[Alternative sanctions]
tisan, public/private/government coa-       native incarceration programming.
                                                                                       make sense. If you send a man to
lition, which includes a partnership of     The Bail Commission and OAP are
                                                                                       prison, that’ll just make him mean.
all three branches of government and        judicial branch divisions that provide
                                                                                       This way you can deal with your prob-
a partnership of the state court leader-    direct supervision to more than 50,000
                                                                                       lems and stay out of trouble.” Another
ship. OAS staff and supporters              accused and sentenced offenders.5
                                                                                       offender said, “I would never have
worked extensively to make the              Rapid and efficient statewide replica-
                                                                                       thought I could get out of the criminal
program visible to the public and a         tion of proven, alternative sanction
                                                                                       justice system, but now I’m learning
credible offender management tool.          model programs is facilitated by this
                                                                                       to read; I’m learning how to work a
Alternative sanctions programs are          unified criminal justice system.
                                                                                       computer. You can’t get me out of that
extremely popular in Connecticut
                                            Program Components                         computer room. And I think I really
and have demonstrated their
                                                                                       have a chance to change my life.”
effectiveness in saving money, im-          In addition to the programs for adult
proving conditions in the community,        offenders that were described in the       Some of the offenders had sugges-
and reducing offender recidivism.           introduction, there are many other         tions for improvement. One offender
                                            levels of sanctions that are available     said, “I think AIC should have a job
Connecticut Alternative                     through this system. A statewide           developer—someone who goes out to
Sanctions in 1998                           network of more than 50 public and         different companies in the area to try
    I think AIC is a very good pro-         private providers deliver the follow-      to get jobs for the clients when they
    gram. AIC has helped me in many         ing services:                              get out of [the program].” We found
    ways. . . . Since I have been com-                                                 that some AICs do offer job develop-
                                                Community service.                     ment services, but resources are lim-
    ing here I have gotten my GED.
    Now I attend [technical college]            Day incarceration center.              ited. Most of the clients’ criticisms of
    where I am earning an associate’s           Restitution center.                    alternative sanctions were related to
    degree in business administration.          Family counseling.
                                                                                       restrictions on their freedom, which
    I am also employed at [a super-                                                    are required by the program to
    market]. The case managers are                                                     ensure public safety.
                                                Drug court.
    very helpful. If you have a problem                                                Each center we visited had a different
    they try to help you out and be             Intensive supervision probation.
                                                                                       “feel” to it. The first AIC we visited
    there for you [in] any way they             Substance abuse treatment.             was in New Haven. The physical setup

                                                                                        Connecticut’s Alternative Sanctions Program

of this center was very open with
cubicles scattered throughout the
building. Multicultural art adorned the
walls along with many quotes from fa-
mous African-American leaders. We
entered the education room where a
group of AIC clients were having a val-
ues exploration discussion with their
teacher. They were discussing whether
the United States should bomb Iraq for
noncompliance with U.N. weapons
inspection resolutions. Values exer-
cises such as these force offenders to
think beyond impulsive responses to
events and to consider the direct and
indirect ramifications of such actions
on the lives of others. Each client had
to state an opinion and explain why       Students prepare to take their GED examinations at a Connecticut Alternatives to Incarceration
he or she felt that way. One young man    Center.
said, “I don’t think we should bomb
them because they might have all          program. Director Carbone said that,             program. Of the 30 to 35 percent of of-
those chemical weapons near another       next year, the budget is likely to be            fenders who are terminated from the
country’s border. And if we bomb them,    more than $52 million. Program de-               program, less than 10 percent are ter-
the chemicals might hurt the people in    velopment and fundraising must be                minated for a new offense. A 3-year
the other country.”                       considered a major success of OAS.               longitudinal study of the effectiveness
                                          But the program has also demon-                  of OAS programs, conducted by the
The AIC we visited in Bridgeport (de-
                                          strated dramatic success in achieving            Justice Education Center, Inc., was
scribed in the introduction) had almost
                                          its primary operational goals.                   completed in 1996. The study com-
no art on the walls, and motivational
                                                                                           pared offenders who had been sen-
quotes had been posted on the walls       The first goal of OAS was to manage
                                                                                           tenced to OAS programs with offenders
in the classroom. The atmosphere in       offenders for less money. Alternative
                                                                                           who had been incarcerated by the De-
Bridgeport seemed less culturally fo-     sanctions operate at an average cost of
                                                                                           partment of Corrections (DOC), and the
cused and more businesslike than that     just over $7,000 per year (with an aver-
                                                                                           findings were favorable. After 3 years,
in New Haven. However, the clients at     age of four clients per slot per year),
                                                                                           there were about two arrests of an OAS
both facilities seemed equally engaged    while the average cost for incarcerating
                                                                                           client for every three in the DOC com-
and enthusiastic about the opportunity    an offender is approximately $25,000
                                                                                           parison sample, showing a significantly
to be in an alternative sanctions pro-    per year. Therefore it is estimated that,
                                                                                           better track record for OAS clients
gram instead of prison.                   without these alternatives, more than
                                                                                           than for those released from prison.
                                          3,500 additional prison and jail beds
Successes of OAS                          would have been needed at a capital              Ensuring that offenders give back to
                                          cost of $525 million and an additional           the community where they have of-
In its first year of operation, OAS had
                                          $94 million per year in operating costs.         fended has been another area of OAS
a budget of less than $1 million and
                                                                                           success. OAS has participated in the
worked with 750 offenders. Eight          Another goal that was imperative to
                                                                                           building of seven 15,000-square-foot
years and more than 150,000 offend-       achieve to survive the 5-year sunset
                                                                                           playscapes and a 25,000-square-foot,
ers later, OAS has an annual budget       clause in OAS’s funding legislation was
                                                                                           handicapped-accessible play struc-
of $48 million. At any given time,        to prove that the program protected the
                                                                                           ture in various communities in
there are 4,500 adult and 700 juve-       public. More than 60 percent of OAS
                                                                                           Connecticut. OAS community service
nile offenders involved in the            clients successfully complete the

Bulletin From the Field: Practitioner Perspectives

crews regularly maintain these play-            provide culturally sensitive services       offenders who are pregnant or already
grounds. OAS Project Green clients              to Latinos such as the Apoyo                have children. OAS has applied for a
maintain 30 state parks each year.              (Caring) Center in New Haven.               BJA grant to develop a program that
In 1996 alone, more than 7,000                  Apoyo is a combination of an AIC            would meet their needs.
offenders participated in statewide             and a DIC that serves only Latino
community service activities, provid-           clients. Almost all of the staff are        The Future of OAS
ing more than 250,000 hours of work,            Latino, and the probation officer           At some point in the life of a program
valued at more than $1.3 million.               assigned to the center is Latino as         like those administered by OAS,
More than 100 state, municipal, and             well. The art on the walls at Apoyo         which is designed to divert “certain
nonprofit agencies received services            is Latino, and the program is much          offenders” from prison, all of the of-
at approximately 300 work sites. The            more family focused than regular            fenders that fit the admission criteria
list goes on and on.                            AIC and DIC programs. This pro-             are diverted to the program leaving no
                                                gram demonstrated that the success          room for expansion. This is the case
And, convincing the Connecticut
                                                rate for Latino clients could be im-        with the adult alternative sanctions
legislature that the program works
                                                proved. Jim Greene said, “Apoyo             programs in Connecticut. The state
and subsequently obtaining unani-
                                                gets more Latino referrals than other       has realized the maximum adult of-
mous passage of a public act to con-
                                                centers and has a better success rate       fender diversion and cost savings that
tinue OAS funding were major
                                                with Latino clients.” AICs in other         OAS, as it is currently designed, can
successes as well.
                                                locations have attempted to integrate       provide. The only way to accommo-
The Justice Education Center, Inc.,             Latino sensitivity into their program-      date more offenders would be to ac-
study also identified some areas of             ming by hiring Latino staff and             cept offenders that are more likely to
improvement for OAS. The study                  reaching out to the Latino commu-           be a danger to the community. OAS
identified the lower rates of success           nity. At this time, however, Apoyo is       has been trying to ensure that this
for Latinos and suggested that in-              the only free-standing, specifically        risk is not taken.
creased efforts at culturally sensitive         Latino program in the state.
programming were warranted.6 In                                                             However, there has been great inter-
                                                Another special need that was identi-       est on the part of OAS and elected
response to this recommendation,
                                                fied in the study was services for          officials in creating a parallel net-
OAS opened special programs to
                                                adolescent girls and young female           work of similar programs for juve-
                                                                                            niles. Tom Siconolfi commented,
                                                                                            “[OAS programs] haven’t hit any
                                                                                            walls yet, but now they’re looking at
                                                                                            special populations—pricey popula-
                                                                                            tions. This is where they’ll start to
                                                                                            hit walls. Any further growth will
                                                                                            come on the juvenile side.”
                                                                                            And so, in the 1995 Juvenile Justice
                                                                                            Reform Bill, with a Republican ma-
                                                                                            jority in the state Senate, a Republi-
                                                                                            can Governor, and a Democratic
                                                                                            majority in the House of Representa-
                                                                                            tives, funding was legislated for OAS
                                                                                            to establish a complete continuum of
                                                                                            sanctions for juveniles in community-
                                                                                            based settings. House Counsel Ed
                                                                                            Schmidt said, “None of this would
                                                                                            have been possible without the OAS
Project Green workers provide community service through beautification and maintenance of   longitudinal study.”
Connecticut state parks.

                                                                                         Connecticut’s Alternative Sanctions Program

Alternatives for Juveniles
OAS has established both residential
and nonresidential alternative sanc-
tions for juveniles. Nonresidential
programs called Juvenile Supervision
and Reporting Centers are highly
structured programs that provide day
and evening programs, 7 days a week,
for nonviolent juveniles who other-
wise would be in detention. Services
offered by the programs include:
   Alternative education.
   Afterschool services.
   Volunteer community service
   Family participation programs.
                                            Clients provide concessions at the Nutmeg Games.
   Substance abuse education and
   intervention.                            then growth will begin to slow down.”              thought might improve the program,
   Life skills training.                    Therefore, it is planned that by the end           one girl said, “The community service
   Recreational activities.                 of the next 3-year period, alternative             is a waste. They need to come up with
                                            sanctions programs will be fully imple-            community service that makes sense
                                            mented in Connecticut.                             for us. Like, I like to write stories.
   Case management.                                                                            Why don’t they let me go read stories
                                            We met with a group of juvenile cli-
Residential centers are also highly                                                            to little kids in elementary school or
                                            ents from nonresidential and residen-
structured and intensively supervised                                                          go help out with babies at a daycare
                                            tial programs in Bridgeport. At first
but are designed for higher risk juve-                                                         center or something like that?” We
                                            the youth were not very talkative, but
niles. These staff-secure alternatives to                                                      passed these suggestions on to Mr.
                                            eventually a couple offered com-
detention provide 24-hour-a-day super-                                                         Greene who thought they were great
                                            plaints about their conditions. “Why
vision for juveniles. These youth could                                                        ideas and said that he would work on
                                            can’t we watch rap videos?” asked
be supervised in the community but                                                             finding such opportunities. He
                                            one boy. A boy seated next to him
need an alternative to residing at home.                                                       repeated one of his first comments to
                                            added, “Yeah, we should be able to
Youth housed in these centers have                                                             us: “In order to have any success with
                                            watch R-rated movies too instead of
access to the services listed above.                                                           these folks, you have to get them to
                                            watching kid movies all the time.”
                                                                                               come in. So we try to find community
OAS is finishing its 2d year of imple-      The youth also provided some valu-
                                                                                               service ideas that will make them
menting programs for juveniles. Pro-        able feedback about the programs.
                                                                                               want to come in.”
grams are now available in five cities.     The rap video fan said, “If I wasn’t
OAS has also developed Juvenile Jus-        here I’d be at Long Lane [detention                Midway through their implementation
tice Centers in eight cities. These cen-    center]. Here, I’m at least close to               in Connecticut, juvenile alternative
ters provide less-structured activities     home and can work on school. At                    sanctions seem to have the same level
for youth. Juvenile programs started        Long Lane it’s just like prison. There’s           of support and momentum as adult
with a budget of $3 million. The 2d         nothing to do.”                                    programs. Despite major news cover-
year the budget was raised to $8 mil-                                                          age of the increased violent crime
                                            It seemed to be unanimous among the
lion. The budget for 1999 will be $11                                                          committed by juveniles, this program
                                            youth that they would rather be in the
million. Jim Greene said, “We antici-                                                          has bipartisan support. Mr. Siconolfi
                                            alternative program than housed in
pate that the program will continue to                                                         said, “These programs are providing
                                            Long Lane. When asked what they
grow like this for 3 more years and                                                            leverage for more conservative

Bulletin From the Field: Practitioner Perspectives

lawmakers to get ‘tough on crime’.          might not have been sent to prison.”    Director Carbone pointed out that the
The enacting legislation allowed the        If one-third of OAS clients were        750 prison inmates in the comparison
creation of alternatives to detention       managed in traditional community        group were matched to the OAS cli-
but also allowed the transfer of 14-        supervision (i.e., probation), then     ents according to their offense and
year-old defendants charged with cer-       they would be in a less expensive       criminal history. The criminal behav-
tain felonies to be automatically           program than the alternative sanc-      ior of these two groups were very
transferred to adult court.” Director       tions program. He went on to say,       similar. While this would validate the
Siconolfi admitted (and Chief State’s       “Even if that one-third wasn’t prison   results, it also begs the question, Why
Attorney Bailey backed him up) that         bound, the program is still saving      were those 750 inmates in prison in-
the vast majority of cases that get         the state an enormous amount of         stead of in OAS programs? There are
transferred to adult court are immedi-      money.” However, Jim Greene finds       many possible explanations for this. It
ately transferred back to juvenile          that Connecticut could only have        could be that OAS was in its develop-
court. Jack Bailey said, “That’s really     saved this money if new facilities      mental stages during the study and
the most appropriate place to handle        with more prison beds had actually      did not have the capacity at that time
these cases.”                               been built: “I don’t think they would   to divert all the appropriate offenders
                                            have been. I think we would have        in the system. It could also be that
Consideration of                            just gone on with really short prison   there is room for OAS to increase the
Challenges to OAS’s                         sentences.” Jim Greene said that,       efficiency of its referral and screening
Results                                     when he talked to other states about    processes to prevent appropriate of-
Admittedly, it is hard to find much to      alternative sanctions, he told them     fenders from ending up in prison.
criticize about alternative sanctions       not to expect to save money that they   Another possibility suggested by
programs in Connecticut. However, a         are currently spending on prisons       Director Carbone is that the screening
few issues are worth considering. The       because the prisons that they already   process looks at offenders closer than
first is the question of how much           have will probably stay full. Instead   the matching criteria of the study. Al-
money OAS really saves the state.           they should look at this kind of a      though the two groups may have ex-
Mr. Siconolfi said, “First of all, [OAS]    program as a way to prevent building    hibited similar criminal behavior,
used the average cost of incarcera-         more prisons and paying for those       members of the prison group may
tion, but low-risk offenders don’t cost     new beds in the future.                 have been screened out of the pro-
as much to incarcerate as high-risk                                                 gram for other reasons such as nega-
                                            The study conducted by the Justice
offenders.” Therefore, the broad aver-                                              tive attitude, lack of family support,
                                            Education Center, Inc., also ad-
ages used to formulate the figure of                                                or lack of steady employment.
                                            dresses the issue of recidivism. The
$94 million saved in annual prison          study showed that prison inmates        But are such factors as attitude, em-
operations costs could be well off the      reoffended at a rate of 2 to 1 com-     ployment experience, and family
mark. Tom Siconolfi went on to say          pared with OAS clients. But by          support really risk factors? Are they
that, as a budget analyst, he has al-       Director Carbone’s own admission,       solid reasons for rejecting offenders
ways struggled with such broad aver-        OAS strives to admit only lower risk    who otherwise fit the criteria for di-
aging and with programs nationwide          offenders into programs and to send     version from prison? Not just OAS
that use such averages—not just OAS         higher risk offenders to prison. Fol-   but offender treatment programs and
or the state of Connecticut.                lowing this logic, one would expect     interventions all over the country are
Director Siconolfi raised a second          the prison cohort to recidivate at a    struggling with this question. If these
issue that potential critics of the pro-    significantly higher rate. Therefore,   are factors that make or break an
gram might use to discredit the pro-        the recidivism data could indicate      offender’s chance to be diverted, do
gram, “[OAS is] suggesting that 100         that OAS is accurately following the    they open the program up to accusa-
percent of their clients would have         low-risk guidelines of its admission    tions of creaming off candidates that
gone to prison. I think that’s the case     criteria but that there is no conclu-   are most likely to succeed and re-
for two-thirds of them, but the other       sive evidence that alternative sanc-    jecting those likely to be distracting
third is arguably marginal; they            tions programs reduce recidivism.       and noncompliant? Does the

                                                                                               Connecticut’s Alternative Sanctions Program

emphasis of such factors open the               violent crime, or a change of key per-           many referrals, many being inappro-
program up to allegations of bias in            sonnel (such as the Legislative Sub-             priate. Then there is an economic
that some racial/cultural groups may            Committee Chair or the Chief Court               downturn and program funds and
be less likely to have family support           Administrator) dramatically change               staff are cut. Finally, an evaluation
and some socioeconomic groups are               the level of support for OAS? Judge              is conducted of the overcrowded,
less likely to have a stable employ-            Ment was not overly concerned with               underfunded program, operating
ment situation or history? These is-            such possibilities: “The program is              outside the original design, and the
sues are still under examination by             built on everybody winning. It is not a          evaluation concludes that the pro-
OAS. The challenge is to match ap-              political issue.”                                gram does not work. OAS has a good
propriate offenders to effective pro-                                                            reputation and has had pressure to
                                                Director Siconolfi commented,
grams without creaming or bias.                                                                  open admission to other types of of-
                                                “The program has survived Governor
Connecticut is striving to achieve                                                               fenders. The state economy has had
                                                William A. O’Neill, a Democrat;
the most effective mechanisms for                                                                several economic slumps since the
                                                Governor Lowell P. Weicker, an In-
identifying and screening clients.                                                               formation of OAS and yet evalua-
                                                dependent (actually a progressive
                                                                                                 tions continue to be positive. How
Such a high-profile program, with               Republican who ran as an Indepen-
                                                                                                 has OAS survived? Representative
such a large piece of the judicial fi-          dent); and the current Governor,
                                                                                                 Michael Lawlor said that “discipline
nancial pie, could not be without op-           John G. Rowland, a Republican.” He
                                                                                                 on the part of elected officials” pre-
ponents. Mr. Greene told us, “The               went on to say, “It depends on what
                                                                                                 vented any pressure brought to bear
only people who don’t like this pro-            the program is doing for [elected of-
                                                                                                 on OAS staff to overuse alternative
gram are the 15,000 people in prison            ficials] at the time. This program al-
                                                                                                 sanctions. Jim Greene said, “We
who aren’t getting the benefit of su-           lows [likely detractors] in the state to
                                                                                                 used research to prevent net widen-
pervised release any more.”                     be tough on [prison sentencing]. De-
                                                                                                 ing. Contractors can prevent over-
                                                tractors rising up against the pro-
The Future Looks                                                                                 loading because there are limits
                                                gram is very unlikely at this point.”
Bright for OAS                                                                                   built right into their contract.” Di-
                                                We were also curious about how OAS               rector Carbone and Judge Ment both
We were curious about how suscep-               had survived the traditional cause of            said that a commitment to program
tible OAS would be to one or two key            death of many good criminal justice              design and research showing that the
changes in the political landscape of           programs. The following is a common              programs saved money have allowed
Connecticut. Could a sudden eco-                scenario. A program gets a good                  OAS to resist the pressure to in-
nomic downturn, a serious spike in              reputation and is flooded with too               crease admissions.
                                                                                                 In the last 8-years more than 150,000
                                                                                                 offenders have gone through the pro-
                                                                                                 gram. We were curious about how the
                                                                                                 program has avoided the scenario of a
                                                                                                 high-profile crime being committed
                                                                                                 by a former client. Mr. Carbone said,
                                                                                                 “We have been vigilant to ensure that
                                                                                                 only low-risk offenders are admitted
                                                                                                 to the program and that we supervise
                                                                                                 all of our clients very closely.” Jack
                                                                                                 Bailey said, “I think they’ve been
                                                                                                 lucky. But they’ve also had real disci-
                                                                                                 pline on admissions criteria.”
                                                                                                 Public and political support for OAS
The crowd takes a moment to recognize some of the 350 community service workers who provided     appears to be strong and is not likely to
support each day at the 1995 World Games of the Special Olympics at the Yale Bowl.               be susceptible to one or two isolated

Bulletin From the Field: Practitioner Perspectives

changes in the political landscape.          judiciary was not told it had to use      community problemsolving collabora-
However, Mr. Bailey added, “Crime is         alternative sanctions; instead, the ju-   tion. Could a statewide program such
down! How long can we sustain fund-          diciary was offered a complete array      as this succeed in other places? In a
ing when the public gets wind of that        of sanctions and given total control      much larger state? Or in a state where
fact?” Another factor could undermine        over their implementation. Conserva-      the stakeholders have to run for elec-
the stability of OAS in the future. All of   tives were not asked to support dra-      tion? In closing we asked Judge Ment
Connecticut’s prison beds are now full.      matic increases in government size;       and Bill Carbone to make some rec-
If overcrowding recurs, could the per-       they were shown that OAS would be         ommendations for other states inter-
centage of time served once again drop       an economic development opportunity       ested in developing alternatives to
below 50 percent of the sentence?            for existing nonprofit organizations in   incarceration.
Director Carbone said, “Inmates still        Connecticut communities. Further,
                                                                                       Judge Ment’s recommendations
serve an average of 75 percent of their      OAS made it possible for prison sen-
sentence.” So as it stands, Connecticut      tences to return to credible lengths of
is a long way from returning to the          stay. This last component allowed         1. Make the judicial branch understand
                                                                                          it and embrace it.
prison crisis it faced in the late 1980s.    both the opportunity for the state to
                                             appear “tough on crime” and the op-       2. Sell the judges on the idea of having
Conclusions                                  portunity for OAS to tell its clients        complete control of a full array of
Judge Aaron Ment and the judiciary           that prison is a real and severe pun-
                                             ishment and it’s what you will face if    3. Start out with offenders who are being
branch of the Connecticut state gov-
                                                                                          incarcerated but are not marginal—
ernment have done an admirable job           you fail in this program. OAS has pur-
                                                                                          namely, low-risk offenders.
of “engaging the courts as a problem         posely avoided disputes with unions
solver” in response to the prison cri-       by ensuring that its programs never       Director Carbone’s recommendations
sis of the late 1980s. OAS was born          displace civilian employees.              included the following:
and has developed as a result of pa-         Finally, Director Carbone, Jim            1. Conduct extensive planning and invite
tient and meticulous planning, col-                                                       all of the people to the table who will
                                             Greene, and OAS staff have re-
laboration, evaluation, and marketing.                                                    have a stake in the program.
                                             searched and evaluated the cost
Judge Ment and the other planners of                                                   2. Start small in one place and expand
                                             savings, public safety, and reduced
OAS found a solution that promised                                                        slowly. Do not expand so fast that you
                                             recidivism afforded by the program.          deviate from the design of your
meaningful benefits for everyone in-         OAS is applying what was learned             program and lose track of admitting
volved, including the communities,           from the research to improve its effec-      low-risk offenders.
the judiciary, government officials,         tiveness with current populations and     3. Document and evaluate the progress
and offenders.                               to reach out to new groups of clients.       of your program from the very
OAS created programs that demon-             Having satisfied the scrutiny of these       beginning.
strated to the community that offenders      groups, OAS provides public safety
would be held accountable for their          daily through the close community
crimes. OAS closely managed its pro-         supervision of more than 4,500 adults
grams to defend against the possibility      and 700 juveniles. The programs are
of new offenses being committed by           cleaning up communities and parks,
clients. Further, OAS provided an al-        building playgrounds, and supporting
ternative to the endless expense of          community development. Clients are
building and operating state prisons,        provided with substance abuse treat-
while restoring the public’s faith in the    ment and batterers education groups
efficacy of the criminal justice system.     and are taught how to apply for and
                                             retain a job.
Many stakeholders who could have
opposed the program were appeased            In the political and public manage-
by design aspects specifically in-           ment environment of 1998, this pro-
cluded to obtain their support. The          gram truly stands out as an innovative

                                                                                   Connecticut’s Alternative Sanctions Program

Notes                                     For More Information
1. Lyon, Eleanor, “Longitudinal Study     For more information regarding the         Sanctions Update. 1997. Hartford,
Alternatives to Incarceration Sentenc-    Connecticut Alternative Sanctions          Connecticut: Judicial branch. Volume
ing Evaluation, Year 3,” Justice          Program, contact:                          6, Number 1.
Education Center, Inc., September
                                          Bill Carbone, Director
1996.                                                                                For more information regarding the
                                          Office of Alternative Sanctions
2. “Connecticut’s Judicial System,        1155 Silas Dean Highway                    Bureau of Justice Assistance Practi-
New Initiatives,” Briefing Folder,        Weathersfield, CT 06109                    tioner Perspectives Series, contact:
Judicial Branch of Connecticut,           860–257–1904                               Patrick J. Coleman
Hartford, CT, 1996.                                                                  Resident Practitioner
3. Weintraub, Bernard, “President         For additional reading on the              Bureau of Justice Assistance
Offers Strategy for United States on      Connecticut Alternative Sanctions          810 Seventh Street NW.
Drug Control,” New York Times,            Program:                                   Washington, DC 20531
p. A1, September 6, 1989.                                                            202–616–0313
                                          Daniels, Jeffrey and Flora Parisky.
4. Ibid., p. B7.                          1991. Judicial Sanctions: A Three-
                                          Year Strategic Plan. Hartford, Con-        To order publications or to find out
5. “Connecticut’s Judicial System,                                                   more about BJA programs, contact:
New Initiatives,” Briefing Folder,        necticut: Judicial branch.
Judicial Branch of Connecticut,           Grants Management and Justice Plan-        Bureau of Justice Assistance
Hartford, CT, 1996.                       ning Unit. May 1997. Federal Drug           Clearinghouse
                                          Control and System Improvement             P.O. Box 6000
6. Lyon, Eleanor, “Longitudinal Study                                                Rockville, MD 20849–6000
Alternatives to Incarceration Sentenc-    Grant Program Abstracts. Hartford,
                                          Connecticut: Office of Policy and          1–800–688–4252
ing Evaluation, Year 3,” Justice                                                     E-mail:
Education Center, Inc., September         Management.
                                                                                     World Wide Web:
1996, p. 62.                              Papirno, Elissa, Marty Petty, Clifford
                                          Teutsch, and John Zakarian. October        Clearinghouse staff are available
                                          20, 1997. “A Wise Alternative to           Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to
                                          Prison.” The Hartford Courant. A10.        7:30 p.m. eastern time. Ask to be
                                                                                     placed on the BJA mailing list.
                                          Pearsall, Susan. Feburary 25, 1996.
                                          “Hard Work, Earning That Second
                                          Chance.” Connecticut Weekly.

   Acknowledgments                        Representative Michael Lawlor,             to meet with us. Finally, our thanks to
   The Bureau of Justice Assistance       Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee        the groups of alternative sanctions
   would like to express its apprecia-    in the Connecticut House of Repre-         clients who allowed us to invade their
   tion to the Government of the state    sentatives; Chief State’s Attorney         personal worlds to see and hear their
   of Connecticut (Governor John G.       Jack Bailey; Tom Siconolfi, Director       perspectives on the program.
   Rowland), the state of Connecticut’s   of the Justice Planning Unit in the
   judicial branch, and Chief Court       Governor’s Office of Policy and Man-
   Administrator Aaron Ment. We           agement; and Ed Schmidt, Counsel           The Bureau of Justice Assistance is
   would especially like to thank Bill    for the Connecticut House of Repre-        a component of the Office of Justice
   Carbone, Jim Greene, and the staff     sentatives whose time and input were       Programs, which also includes the
   of the Office of Alternative Sanc-     highly valued by the case study team.      Bureau of Justice Statistics, the
   tions for their assistance and for     In addition, special thanks go to the      National Institute of Justice, the
   agreeing to be interviewed by our      management and staff of the many           Office of Juvenile Justice and
   case study team. We would also like    alternative sanctions programs who         Delinquency Prevention, and the
   to acknowledge the contributions of    took time from their important work        Office for Victims of Crime.

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