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Administrative Structured Sanctions
Oregon's Structured Sanctions Program
Oregon’s structured sanctions program was enacted into law in 1993.  This law gave PO’s the authority to apply immediate consequences to offenders on probation when they violated conditions of supervision.  This practice was already established by policy for offenders on parole and post-prison supervision, the Board having the authority to create an administrative sanctions process for offenders under their jurisdiction.  Structured sanctions are named after the sanctioning grid in place to structure decision-making about the appropriate response to a particular offender for a particular violation, thus providing for consistency from PO to PO and from county to county. 

Goals of Structured Sanctions
  • To make community supervision more effective in protecting the public by responding to supervision violations swiftly and with certainty
  • To reduce the number of violators who require revocation by responding to violating behavior before it reaches a level of seriousness requiring incarceration and by making sure all appropriate intermediate community alternatives are used before revocation
  • To insure that similar violators who commit similar violations are similarly punished
  • To reduce the cost to the public associated with judicially conducted probation violation hearings and effect future cost reductions in judicial/court time, indigent defense, district attorney time, probation/parole officer time
  • To set priorities for the use of criminal justice resources and provide more consistent use of intermediate punishments

How It Works
  • An offender fails to follow a condition of supervision, such as missing appointments, failing to enroll in treatment, drug use, failing to follow directives, absconding from supervision
  • The probation/parole officer has the authority to impose a swift and sure sanction without going to court or to the Board of Parole/PPS
  • The length of the sanction is determined by a grid that takes into account the risk level of the offender, his or her crime of conviction, and the seriousness of the violation
  • Sanctions include jail time, but can also include a range of intermediate sanctions such as residential treatment, work release, house arrest, and community service

Results of Using Structured Sanctions
  • Time between violation behavior and response was reduced by 38 days  (NCCD,1995)
  • Offenders in the structured sanctions program were 23% more likely to have violations detected and to be held accountable (NCCD,1995)
  • Probation offenders subject to structured sanctions had a lower felony convictions rate (7.8% vs. 13.9%) and were less likely to be convicted and sentenced for new offenses than a similar control group  (NCCD, 1995)
  • A study of an intermediate sanctions program in Coos and Jackson counties showed a 56% reduction in drug use using repeated short jail stays following positive urine screens

Guiding Principles of Structured Sanctions
  1. Response to violations of supervision must be swift and sure.
  2. Responses shall be fair and just.
  3. Response to violations shall be commensurate to the seriousness of the behavior while considering risk to public safety.
  4. Similar responses for similar types of offenders that commit similar types of violations.
  5. Responses shall consider evidence based practices:
    • Custodial sanctions alone are not effective in lowering recidivism
    • Shorter custodial sanctions are no less effective in lowering recidivism
    • Custodial sanctions should have a rehabilitative component included
    • Non-custodial sanctions are often times as effective as custodial sanctions
    • Treatment and rehabilitative resources combined with surveillance and enforcement, are most effective in reducing recidivism
  6. Sanctions/interventions shall be imposed with consideration given to effective capacity of local correctional facilities and local resource availability.
  7. Sanctions/interventions shall be imposed at the lowest appropriate level of authority.
  8. The least restrictive sanction/intervention required to gain compliance shall be imposed. 
  9. Supervising Parole and Probation officers are most appropriate level of authority to determine sanction/intervention response to offender behavior.
  10. Appropriate use of administrative sanctions/interventions will make supervision more effective and will enhance public safety, resulting in fewer offenders being returned for revocation of supervision.
  11. A range of sanctions/interventions including, but not limited to jail, should be available and when appropriate should be exhausted before recommending offenders for revocation on non-criminal violations of supervision.
  12. Sanctions/interventions should be progressive in nature, taking into account the seriousness of the violation and threat to public safety.

What Kinds of Sanctions, Services, and Interventions Are Used?
  • Work Center - These programs house offenders in a structured setting, allowing them to leave the premises for work or other approved activities such as drug treatment. The program provides control of offenders who are required to pay victim restitution and other costs from wages they earn while working in the community. 
  • Electronic Monitoring - Offender spends most of the time at home with a small transmitter attached to wrist or ankle. A very specific schedule is required and a computer alerts officers whenever the offender is not where he/she is supposed to be.
  • House Arrest - Offender spends most of the time at home without electronics - A specific schedule is required and verification occurs by telephone.
  • Day Reporting - Requires offender to report to a central location every day where (s)he files a written daily schedule showing how each hour of the day will be spent - at work, in treatment and so forth. The offender must obey a curfew, perform community work, and submit to random drug testing. Day reporting often includes programs such as alcohol/drug groups, employment readiness and education.
  • Intensive & Special Supervision - Offender may be seen up to five times per week, be on curfew, have frequent employment checks, submit to drug testing, and be subject to unannounced visits at home by PO.
  • Community Service - Offenders are assigned to work for government or private nonprofit agencies - some chop wood, clear trails, weed or maintain parks, paint buildings, collect roadside trash or other types of manual labor.
  • Community Work Crew - The same as community service, but offenders work in supervised crews.

  • Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment - Group and/or individual treatment to address alcohol and drug issues. Some treatment may be very intensive, meeting on a daily basis or may be conducted in a day treatment model.
  • Residential Substance Abuse Treatment - More intensive treatment in a residential facility. Ranges from 30 to 180 days.
  • Mental Health Treatment - Includes general counseling, evaluations, services for mental/emotionally disturbed and other seriously mentally ill offenders.
  • Anger Management - A program delivered in a group setting that teaches methods to control anger productively.
  • Cognitive Restructuring - A program that addresses flaws in how an offender thinks to assist in interrupting criminal thinking patterns.
  • Sex Offender Treatment - Group and individual treatment, often in relapse prevention, to assist in providing behavior control to sex offenders. Treatment is generally long in duration.
  • Employment - Assist offenders in obtaining and keeping jobs.
  • Education - Assist offenders in obtaining Basic Education or GED.
  • Crisis and Transition Housing - Individual and group housing primarily for parolees released from prison or temporarily experiencing instability in living arrangements.
  • Transition Services - Pre-release services to connect  the offender with housing, treatment, employment and other services before release from prison to reduce likelihood of failure.

Other Tools
  • Urinalysis - Testing for drugs and alcohol.
  • Polygraph - Disclosure and ongoing testing for sex offenders to assure compliance with conditions of supervision.
  • Antabuse Support - Subsidized assistance for the purchase of Antabuse - a drug to discourage alcohol usage.
  • Subsidy - Limited financial assistance for offenders to purchase housing, food, transportation, work clothing etc.