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UW Professors Produce Report on Denver Probation Revocations

July 8, 2021

Two University of Wyoming Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology professors produced a report on transforming probation using Denver, Colo., as the target of their study.

Associate Professor Eric Wodahl and Assistant Professor Kimberly Schweitzer, in close partnership with the Denver Adult Probation Department (DAPD), conducted a study to better understand the local drivers of probation revocations in Denver and how those drivers can be targeted to increase success rates.

The report was produced as part of UW’s participation in the Reducing Revocations Challenge, a national initiative of Arnold Ventures and the City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance. The program’s goal is to transform probation and reduce mass incarceration. The challenge aims to increase success on probation through the identification, piloting and testing of promising strategies grounded in a robust analysis and understanding of why revocations occur.

DAPD Chief Probation Officer Cary Heck says he is committed to improving supervision outcomes, and he and his staff worked closely with UW researchers at all stages of the project.

In their report, the two UW professors used multiple methods to examine potential drivers of revocations, including exploring electronic data collected by the DAPD and the Colorado Judicial Branch, reviewing individual case files, and conducting stakeholder and probation client interviews.

The mixed-methods approach allowed Wodahl and Schweitzer to dive deep into policy and practice, and explore the impact of a wide range of factors that affect who gets violated or revoked, and why.

“Findings from the research are being used to develop targeted solutions that aim to improve success on probation or reduce the broader footprint of supervision by addressing the key drivers uncovered,” Wodahl and Schweitzer say about their report.

Their full report can be found here.

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