The day reporting center programs are a form of probation. The concept of probation was created by John Augustus, who was a Boston shoemaker, and was credited with being the “Father of Probation”. Augustus noticed through what took place in courts that minor offenders and alcohol abusers were sent to jail because of the inability to pay off fines. Being offended and disturbed by this action, Augustus made an agreement with authorities to pay off the offenders fines and give them friendly supervision.
Between 1841 and 1858, Augustus bailed out about 2,000 men, women, and children. Through friendliness, confidence, and helping the offender obtain jobs while aiding their family, he was able to report on progress toward reformation and keep the offender out of incarceration. The first state to pass probation was Massachusetts in 1878. Every state had enacted Juvenile probation service in some measure by 1927. Not until 1956, however, was probation available for adult offenders in every state.
In 1907, the first directory of probation officers had 795 volunteers, welfare workers, and court personnel serving as officers. By 2010, probation officers numbered over 103,000. Standard probation conditions apply to the offender no matter what they type of crime or level of crime committed. Standard conditions include attending group or individual therapy, random drug testing, avoiding people or places that associate with criminal activity, the offender not committing another crime at any level, and gaining employment or education.
Other standard probation conditions restore the victim and the community including payment of restitution, payment of fees and fines, and community service. Also, terms may include compliance with all court orders, regular reporting to a probation officer, home searches, weapon prohibition, unable to leave the county or state, and drug and alcohol restriction. Day reporting centers are used for those on probation. Day reporting centers serve under the special conditions of probation.
In England, the year of 1974, it was thought to begin a facility of this sort for offenders to become a better person in society to obtain a thorough understanding of life and what it has to offer besides crime. The first day reporting center in the United States was opened in 1986 in Massachusetts. It was originally designed to be an early release from prison and jail placement for inmates that were approaching their discharge date or their parole day.
Day reporting centers unlike halfway houses do not require an offender to reside at this program. Offenders are subject to report to the center daily, preparing for their next day activities, as well as, checking in with the center throughout the entire day (Marciniak, 2000). The day reporting center is a non-residential facility that provides intensive supervision of offenders on probation designed to change an offenders thinking patterns, as well as, help obtain long term employment, and keep unemployed offenders accountable during the day.
It provides substance abuse counseling, life skills, educational assistance such as help obtaining a GED, job referrals, vocational services, and after care or relapse prevention. Participating in the day reporting center also helps offenders reconnect with their families, maintain and locate stable housing, help build their activities within the community, and also help with enhancing their coping skills by receiving peer and group counseling.
Although every day reporting center is different most have courses provided that may also include: self-awareness, family dynamics, domestic violence, introduction to computer skills, and even entrepreneurship (Diggs and Pierper, 1994). Goals that are set by the day reporting center are as followed: (1) reducing offender arrest, (2) assisting offenders in a successful re-entry program by providing needed services, and (3) increasing public safety by holding offenders accountable of their actions.
The pros of the day reporting center consist of: (1) allowing criminals to get their life back on track and maintain a stable and suitable life to live in society, another positive factor is that (2) families get to have their loved one in their everyday life even after they have been convicted of a crime. The cons of the day reporting center may be: (1) an offender not showing up on time or being present as scheduled, and also (2) an offender not taking advantage of the criteria that is taught at the day reporting center so they turn to re-offending (Craddock and Graham 2001).
Day reporting centers have many advantages. Cost is cheaper because instead of inmates living at a jail, they live in their own home. Day reporting centers operate cheaply enough that they can provide a GED course, lifestyle skills, addiction counseling, and other programs that have been scaled back inside prison walls (Craddock, 2000). Recidivism costs that were calculated averaged out to be around $3,820 for a probationer in a 12 month period, whereas the recidivism cost for an offender in a day reporting center estimated to $1,927.
This difference yields a one-year net benefit to the system at $1,893 for every DRC completion. The annual per capita recidivism cost for day reporting center non completers was $2,815″. (Craddock, 2000) considering the fact that probationers that violated probation are sent to day reporting centers, probation officers indicated that without the existence of a DRC program, almost all individual offenders would be revoked or imposed of an incarceration sentence. Some main benefits of life style skills through a day reporting center include everything a person would need to know for living on one’s own.
DRC programs teach an offender how to write a check and balance a checkbook, how to dress for an interview, how to create a resumes and search for jobs, locate and maintain stable housing, apply for social service benefits, improve educational and vocational skills, retain work and hold a job, and even introductory computer skills. Emotional and psychological problems occur within drug addicts or have already existed before the use of drugs; therefore, day reporting centers also hold counseling and treatment care for offenders that need treatment and specialized help for any issues they are personally going through.
Help also includes problems offenders have with anger management, drug abuse, addiction itself, family issues, and domestic violence. Primary medical care is also available, as well as testing and treatment for HIV, STD’s, Hepatitis B and C, and Tuberculosis. The overall main benefit as well as concern through day reporting centers is helping an offender get back on their feet and do everything they can to keep one out of jail or from committing another crime. Along with the previously mentioned advantages, day reporting centers, as said before, provide treatment and referral programs including extensive supervision and surveillance.
Most day reporting centers are open 5 days a week and frequently fifty or more hours within a week. The centers hold strict regimen of surveillance and demand more contact with clients than would be available even through intensive supervised probation. Probation surveillance includes electronic monitoring, checking In with a probation officer, intense supervision, and drug testing, yet DRC programs watch over offenders twice as much as an offender through just probation.
The number of contacts per week is greater than clients would receive through normal community supervision. The number of rearrests is more common with offenders in regular probation than those who are treated through day reporting centers. “Even when DRC completers commit new offenses, they tend to be less serious than the offense for which they were on probation when admitted to the DRC” (Craddock, 2000). The effects of day reporting centers seem to be highly approved of. In Illinois, for example, there is one called the Cook County day reporting center.
This particular DRC has been the subject of process and short term impact evaluations. These studies have constantly shown that the program has been highly successful (Martin, Lurigio, and Olson, 2003). The Cook County day reporting center has a positive effect on their clients including reducing drug use of offenders and resulting in low re arrests and failure to show rates. The improvements are even more successful considering the population of this DRC is high risk clients with histories of drug use and various criminal offenses, and no education backgrounds.
Lurigio and Olsen for example, found that among 1,999 program participants, nonappearance and re arrest rates were very low. From October 1, 1998 through June 30, 1999 a total of only 6 of the programs 2,440 clients failed to appear on their designated court dates, a rate of less than one percent (Martin, Lurigio, and Olson, 2003). DRC has cons as well in terms of effectiveness. Using the same example, the Cook County day reporting centers had 617 participants, which is 25 percent, commit program violations and were ejected from the CCDRC.
Clients were unsuccessfully discharged more when reporting heroin abuse aside from marijuana or alcohol. Clients with previous convictions are also more likely to be unsuccessfully discharged than those with fewer previous convictions. Overall however, 63 percent of CCDRC clients discharged from the program were successful and client’s drug use declined greatly. The CCDRC’s success is also reflected in participant’s self-reports. “Clients’ responses toward the program were overwhelmingly favorable.
More than 90 percent of the participants responding to a survey agreed or strongly agreed that they felt safe in the program and that CCDRC staff behaved appropriately and professionally and were supportive of their recovery” (Martin, Lurigio, and Olson, 2003). Treatment group participants had significantly lower recidivism rates that were in the program for at least 70 days. Rates of incarceration were compared between a controlled group of offenders who only participate in the day reporting center for 10 days, and those who stayed in the program for 70 days.
Almost 30 percent of those in the Cook County day reporting center for 70 days or more remained incarceration-free for 16 months or longer, compared with 19 percent of those who participated in the CCDRC for 10 days or fewer” (Martin, Lurigio, and Olson, 2003). The controlled group for treatment of 10 days had more rearrests than the 70 day participants. On average, the more days spent in the day reporting center, the longer they last before getting rearrested. The treatment group survived 122 days longer before rearrests than the control group.
The average number of days from release to rearrests for the controlled group was 303 days, compared with 425 days for the treatment group. The same was found when looking at survival time to re-incarceration; the treatment group survived 57 days longer than the controlled group did (Martin, Lurigio, and Olson, 2003). Within one year, only 28 percent of the CCDRC clients who spent fewer than 10 days in the program remained rearrest-free, compared with 45 percent in the 70 days or more groups. Probation is a way to handle drug abusers and criminals that commit minor offenses.
Day reporting centers help keep these offenders in line and help get them on the right track to a better life. They offer lifestyle skills in various areas including balancing a check book, obtaining a job, and how to dress for a job interview. Day reporting centers also hold programs to help with mental issues or personal problems that the offender is going through, including anger management classes as well. In closing, there are both pros and cons when it comes to results of Day reporting centers.
The main pros that over ruled probation with no special conditions include surveillance at a much higher level which means that offenders will not get away with anything. Another pro over probation with no special conditions is the offender learns how to control emotional issues through classes as well as learning how to manage their future life and hold a job, while controlling their drug use or addiction at the same time. The last main pro over probation with no special conditions is the cost. It is much cheaper since inmates live at home and just go up to the centers during the day rather than actually residing at a jail.