A Seattle pilot program that imposes swift, certain punishment with as little as three to five days in jail for violations of community supervision is significantly reducing drug use, incarceration, and criminal activity, says a new study reported by the Seattle Times. Correction officials caution that the results are based on only six months of a one-year study involving just 35 convicted criminals released back into the city under community supervision. The Seattle trial is succeeding with offenders with longer criminal histories and more serious crimes than those involved in a similar Hawaii experiment called HOPE, including murder, violent assaults and robbery
The findings, to be shared today with the Seattle City Council, have implications for corrections statewide where more than $270 million in cuts over the past three years — and an additional $27 million projected for the current biennium — could mean early release for thousands of inmates. Noting that the state now supervises 16,000 mostly high-risk offenders, Bernie Warner, secretary of the Department of Corrections, said the Seattle pilot project suggests that the state could potentially save millions in reduced incarceration time and crime.