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I am delighted that the Vera Institute has released Performance Incentive Funding: Aligning Fiscal and Operational Responsibility to Produce More Safety at Less Cost. As the program administrator for my state’s performance incentive funding (PIF) program, Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI), I found one of the report’s findings to be particularly true in our case: there is no magic formula for creating a successful PIF program; rather a series of decision points guide policymakers to the right model for their jurisdiction.
Even within the ARI program, there is a great deal of variation. With an emphasis on local design and control, we have seen incredible diversity and innovation across all 10 of our current pilot sites. As my colleague Judge James Radcliffe (Ret.) says, each ARI site is a “laboratory” where good ideas are tested within the context of the community’s unique conditions. There is something we can learn from each site. Adult Redeploy Illinois adds value to the system by investing in these good ideas and promoting their “cross pollination” or replication.
An example of a promising practice we hope to broadly replicate is the Community Restorative Board (CRB) that Macon County developed as part of its ARI-funded intensive probation supervision program. Using the principles of balanced and restorative justice, the CRB meets with ARI participants as they work their way through the evidence-based moral reconation therapy program, which helps them focus on taking responsibility for their actions and improving their relationships within the community.
Macon County is one of ARI’s highest performing pilot sites. It has diverted 98 non-violent offenders from prison over a year and a half, 50 of whom went through the CRB component of the program. The county has also witnessed other benefits from this practice: trained CRB volunteers help reinforce the conditions and expectations of probation supervision and form an all-important network, providing participants with jobs and community connections that support crime-free lives. A community involvement piece like CRB should be incorporated in any PIF program to help sustain the returns on justice reinvestment at the local level.
For more information on Adult Redeploy Illinois, please visit our web site at www.icjia.org/redeploy.
Mary Ann Dyar is program administrator of Adult Redeploy Illinois.