Halfway Back: An Alternative to Revocation …

cover_cjpr2008_shadowMichael D. White, Jeff Mellow, Kristin Englander, Marc Ruffinengo (2011). “Halfway Back: An Alternative to Revocation for Technical Parole Violators.” Criminal Justice Policy Review, 22(2): 140-166.

Over the past three decades, concomitant increases in prison population and the use of parole, coupled with a more punitive parole philosophy and fiscal crises at every level of government, have prompted a renewed interest in intermediate sanctions— especially for technical parole violators. A number of jurisdictions have developed intermediate sanctions that are both custodial and therapeutic—but do not involve a return to prison—for technical violators. Despite their growing popularity, little research has examined these technical violator programs, and as a result, basic questions regarding their impact remain unanswered. This article examines a therapeutic technical violator program in the state of New Jersey called Halfway Back. Using a quasiexperimental, retrospective matched groups design, the study explores the impact of the program through a comparison of recidivism and incarceration costs among random samples of program participants (n = 227) and nonparticipants (n = 392). Results suggest that program participants experienced modest though statistically significant reductions in new arrests over the 18-month follow-up period. An examination of incarceration costs related to program participation shows that Halfway Back sets the stage for measurable cost savings though the degree to which these savings are realized remains unclear. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for parole policy and practice.