Avdija and LeeJustice Policy Journal, Fall 2014Does Electronic MonitoringHome Detention ProgramWork? Evaluating ProgramSuitability Based onOffenders’ Post-ProgramRecidivism StatusAvdi S. Avdija1 and JiHee Lee2Justice Policy Journal Volume 11, Number 1 (Fall) Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice 2014 www.cjcj.org/jpjAbstractThe main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of Electronic MonitoringHome Detention (EMHD) program on post-program recidivism status of those who haveparticipated in the program. The second objective of this study is to determine whatfactors best predict post-EMHD program recidivism. A binary logistic regression analysiswas performed on a fourteen-variable model attempting to predict post-programrecidivism status for the subjects who have been sentenced in the EMHD program. Theanalyses of the data in this study are based on a total of 293 subjects. A significant, yetinteresting finding that emerged from this study is that EMHD program, measured as the“exit status” (successful completion vs. unsuccessful) had no effect on reducing postprogram recidivism for the subjects that participated in the program. The data showthat the odds of one recidivating after their release were two times higher for those whohad successfully completed the EMHD program compared to the subjects who did notcomplete the program.12Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Indiana State University.Department of Justice Administration, University of Louisville.Corresponding author: Avdi S. Avdija, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice,Indiana State UniversityEmail: [email protected] Electronic Monitoring Home Detention Program work?1
IntroductionIn the United States, intermediate sanctions have been used as alternative meansof punishment for more than three decades. Depending on the sentencingguidelines of the jurisdictions, these sanctions are imposed by the courts at eitherpre-trial or post-trial stage (Roy, 2010; Lilly & Ball, 1993). Intermediate sanctionssuch as electronic monitoring home detention (EMHD) provide more restrictivecontrol compared to traditional probation, but it is a form of less harsh punishmentthan imprisonment (Caputo, 2004; Lilly & Ball, 1993). Non-imprisonment sanctionsinclude a continuum of eight different sentencing options. This includes intensiveprobation supervision, victim restitution, community service, substance abusetreatment, day reporting, electronically monitored home detention, halfwayhouses, and boot camps (Caputo, 2004; Clear & Dammer, 1999; Lilly & Ball, 1993).These sanctions provide the court with a wide spectrum of sentencing optionsmatching sanctions according to the severity of the offense. Having beenconceptualized as punishments, situated in a continuum between traditionalprobation and imprisonment, intermediate sanctions have built their credibility anddiversity based on a mixture of political, judicial and fiscal needs, which divide theobjects of intermediate sanctions into two exclusive but interrelated purposes:administrative and correctional (Clear & Dammer, 1999; Lilly & Ball, 1993). Theadministrative purpose of intermediate sanctions is primarily designed to reducejail and prison overcrowding.The number of incarcerated inmates in the U.S. has been increasing consistentlysince the 1980s. In 2009, more than 1,000,000 offenders were incarcerated in stateand federal prisons, which marked an increase by 0.2 % compared to the numbersof 2008 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010). This given fact has required moregovernment funding to build new prison facilities and to manage overpopulationbehind bars more effectively so as to protect the communities from future threats(Yeh, 2010; Padgett, Bales, & Blomberg, 2006; Renzema & Mayo-Wilson, 2005).Thus, rapid growth in the imprisonment rate has not only resulted in prisonovercrowding, but also caused a great deal of public and political concern regardingover-expenses and reduced effectiveness of imprisonment. Consequently, thesemultifaceted issues have convinced the criminal justice agencies to look forcommunity-based alternatives to incarceration, specifically intermediate sanctions.These sanctions make it possible for the correctional agencies, mainly federal andstate agencies, to save expenses of building new detention facilities and hiringmore correctional staff with an already limited budget (Finn & Muirhead-Steves,2002; Lilly & Ball, 1993).2Does Electronic Monitoring Home Detention Program work?
Avdija and LeeJustice Policy Journal, Fall 2014The issue of cost-effectiveness has accelerated the implementation ofalternatives to formal penitentiary settings, and by doing so, both the criminaljustice system and the selected offenders have benefitted from the modifiedsentencing options. In theory, intermediate sanctions work as a diversion, whichallows certain categories of offenders an opportunity to avoid unnecessaryprosecution or prison sentence, while maintaining a greater level of offenders’accountability and agency’s surveillance (Roy, 2010). As opposed to the negativeimpact of imprisonment (e.g., maladapted prison subculture), the advantages ofintermediate sanctions are multi-faceted: (a) less punitive control on selectedoffenders, (b) less expense to the taxpayer, and (c) more rehabilitative (Padgett etal., 2006).Of the eight different types of intermediate sanctions mentioned earlier,Electronic Monitoring Home Detention (EMHD) is one that is being increasinglyused in the United States since its establishment by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’sDepartment in Florida in 1984 (Gainey & Payne, 2003; Roy, 2010). Across thecountry, a wide variety of offenders are placed under supervision of EMHD. Utilizingcontinuous transmission of electronic signals from an electronic device, theapplication of EMHD has greatly increased in the U.S. criminal justice system,comprising approximately 20 percent of community-based sanctions (Barton & Roy,2008; Gable & Gable, 2005; Roy, 2010). Despite its utilization, from a researchperspective, the biggest question that needs to be addressed is its effectiveness interms of reducing re-offending. In other words, does EMHD have an impact onrecidivism among those who are sentenced to the program?The Impact of Electronic Monitoring on RecidivismFewer research studies have actually evaluated the outcome of EMHD program interm of its effectiveness in reducing recidivism. Most prior studies have beenfocused primarily on evaluating the process; that is, whether or not offenderssuccessfully complete the program (Di Tella & Schargrodsky, 2013; Baumer et al.,1993; Brown & Roy, 1995;; Enos et al., 1992; Kuplinski, 1990; Maxfield & Baumer,1990; Renzema & Skelton, 1990). Of those studies that have evaluated the outcome,on the other hand, not all of them produced the same empirical results. A numberof research studies show that Electronic Monitoring (EM) reduces recidivism (Bales,Mann, Blomberg et al., 2010; Marklund & Holmberg, 2009; Padgett et al., 2006;Stanz & Tewksbury, 2000; Dodgson, Goodwin, Howard, et al., 2001) and therefore ithas a deterrent effect on crime. However, this conclusion is not universallysupported by researchers. Some research studies show that EM does not reducere-arrest rates. Stanz and Tewksbury’s (2000) study, for example, shows that of theDoes Electronic Monitoring Home Detention Program work?3
85% of offenders who successfully completed the program, 69% of them were rearrested shortly after they were released. Moreover, other researchers have alsovoiced their concerns in regards to ineffectiveness of EMHD compared to otheravailable intermediate sanctions (Gable & Gable, 2005; Renzema & Mayo-Wilson,2005).While there are some studies that have produced common results, either infavor of electronic monitoring or against it, there are studies that have producedmixed results or results from which conclusions cannot be drawn (Finn & MuirheadSteeves, 2002; Jolin & Stipak, 1992; Jones & Ross, 1997). The prior research findingsoverall imply in their analysis that studies of the post-program recidivism outcomeof EMHD proved that placement to this given program may not convincinglyrepresent a true alternative to imprisonment fulfilling a deterrence purpose (Bonta,Wallace-Capretta, & Rooney, 2000).In summary, there are two extreme ends when it comes to evaluating theeffectiveness of EMHD program. At one end, there is empirical evidence suggestingthat electronic monitoring has a deterrent effect on crime – it reduced recidivism.At the other end of the spectrum, there is empirical evidence that suggestsotherwise. Yet, there is a gray area in between the two extremes that suggests noconclusions can be drawn about its effectiveness because of the mixed results; thussuggesting more research is needed in this area. The current study is designed tofulfill some of those gaps by adding to the existing literature some empiricalevidence to help researchers draw evidence-based conclusions.The Current StudyThe main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of EMHD program onpost-program recidivism status of those who have participated in the program. Tomeasure the impact of EMHD on post program recidivism, we used the “exit status”outcome of the program. In this study, two groups of offenders represent the “exitstatus;” those who have successfully completed the EMHD, and those who have notsuccessfully completed the program. Thus, in this study we attempt to find outwhether there is a significant difference between the two groups of participants interms of exit status and post-program recidivism. Additionally, we have includedthirteen other contributing factors that we use as control variables in this study. We4Does Electronic Monitoring Home Detention Program work?
Avdija and LeeJustice Policy Journal, Fall 2014started the analysis by examining the suitability of the data first. To accomplishthat, we computed the correlation matrix for all variables together and varianceinflation factor (VIF) values for each variable to determine whether or not we havemulticollinearity issues within the data.MethodsThe dependent variable of interest in this study is post-program recidivism status ofoffenders who have participated in the EMHD program. The dependent variablewas coded as a “Yes/No” dichotomous indicator of recidivism. Individuals who havecommitted any crimes within one full year after they had exited the program areclassified as “recidivated,” coded 1 otherwise coded 0. The binary nature of thedependent variable in this study necessitated the use of logistic regression modelto analyze whether the likelihood of recidivism among offenders who haveparticipated in the EMHD program would be affected by successful completion ofthe program. In other words, the post-program status is used to evaluate whetheror not the EMHD program has an impact on recidivism. Logistic regressionestimates the probability that an event will occur, and identifies the statisticallysignificant predictors of that event (Pallant, 2011). The probability of an eventoccurring (coded 1) is made in reference to another event (coded 0).The main independent variable or predictor of recidivism in this study is the exitstatus; coded dichotomously with “Yes/No” binary response categories. Individualswho have successfully completed the EMHD program were classified as “successful”coded 1, otherwise coded 0. Subjects that were classified as “unsuccessful” wereindividuals that, for various reasons, did not complete the entire program (e.g.,were removed from the program for violations, were re-arrested while in theprogram, etc.). Of the 293 subjects, 112 (38.2%) had successfully completed theprogram and 181 (61.8%) of them failed to complete it. Other independentvariables that we used in this study include age at the time of placement in theEMHD program, race (non-whites coded 1; whites coded 0), gender (female coded0; male coded 1), marital status (not married coded 0; married coded 1), education(less than high school/GED coded 0; more than high school/GED, coded 1) ,employment status (unemployed code 0; employed coded 1), type of offense(misdemeanor code 0; felony coded 1), drunk driving offense (No coded 0; Yescoded 1), prior placement in counseling (No coded 0; Yes coded 1), sentence length(i.e. the numbers of days each subject spent under EMHD supervision), prioroffense (No code 0; Yes coded 1), the number of prior offenses, prior drunk drivingoffense (No coded 0; Yes coded 1), and the number of prior drunk driving offenses.Does Electronic Monitoring Home Detention Program work?5
Data SourceThis study used administrative data that were collected by the Vigo CountyCommunity Corrections Office in Indiana, USA. The subjects in this study include alloffenders who were sentenced to the EMHD program and completed theirsentences, regardless of success in the program, from January 2006 throughDecember 2009. The post-program recidivism data were collected from Januarythrough the end of December of 2010, as part of post-release follow-up. Therecidivism data were gathered from the State of Indiana criminal historyinformation system. Any new recorded offenses that were committed by the samesubjects that went through the EMHD program were classified as “recidivism.” Thisincluded re-arrests for committing any misdemeanor and/or felony offenses. It isnoteworthy that most offender participants in the EMHD in Vigo County, Indiana,were nonviolent offenders and all participants that were sentenced to the programover the four year period were convicted of nonviolent offenses. In terms of humansubject protection, the confidentiality of all subjects in this study is maintained byusing identification numbers for each subject instead of their names.Subjects in This StudyThe analyses of the data in this study are based on a total of 293 program subjects.The subjects who participated in the EMHD program we