The Progressive Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, is proposing steps to fix what it calls “our broken corrections system.” In a paper issued yesterday, PPI calls for a “CompStat-like system for federal and state corrections,” based on the setup developed in New York City to track crime trends. The institute says that would allow measuring and publicizing the recidivism rates of inmates discharged from specific institutions, as well as those on probation or parole, which in turn could hold those in charge of correctional institutions “accountable for measurable improvements.”
PPI would like to see a new Office of Community Supervision in the U.S. Department of Justice that would help local parole and probation departments double the number of officers in places where ex-offenders are concentrated. PPI argues that parole and probation officers should have more power to impose more effective sanctions on violators. “The current regimen of spotty, unpredictable punishments for those who break the rules of their probation or parole clearly is not working,” says the institute. “The bottom line is that individuals on probation and parole should be held responsible for their own successful return to free society.” PPI is affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council, headed by Bruce Reed, chief domestic affairs staffer in the Clinton White House.