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Practice Profile

Day Reporting Centers

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:

No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types

Practice Description

Practice Goals/Target Population
Day reporting centers (DRCs), also known as community resource centers (CRCs) or attendance centers, are nonresidential multiservice centers designed to facilitate parolees’ reintegration back into the community by offering a combination of services and supervision. The three primary goals of DRCs are to 1) provide increased supervision for those offenders who have been unable to follow the conditions of their supervision or require more supervision than is provided by traditional probation/parole conditions; 2) provide treatment, rehabilitative, or transitional programs such as job training or substance abuse treatment; and 3) reduce prison/jail overcrowding by focusing on those who would have otherwise been confined (Craddock 2004).

DRCs may be considered either “front end” or “back end.” Front-end DRCs use community-based programs to divert offenders from prison or jail. Back-end DRCs are either used as a form of early release, where offenders serve the remainder of their sentences in the community, or as a post-custodial supervision requirement for a jail or prison sentence (Wong et al. 2019).

Practice Components
DRC participants reside in noncustodial settings but are required to report to the center for supervision and program participation. Program attendance is mandatory; however, exceptions are made for participants who have school or employment-related commitments such as job interviews. For this reason, participants’ offsite activities are closely monitored, and many programs require participants to complete detailed itineraries of their daily schedules (Parent 1995).

DRCs typically use several supervision phases in which the amount of supervision gradually decreases over time. For example, participants may initially report daily to their onsite supervisor in the center, then report every other day, and then report only once or twice per week. On days when they are not required to report to an onsite supervisor, participants may be asked to check in with an offsite supervisor. While at the center, participants may be required to submit to drug testing and attend a variety of programming based on their individual needs. Programming may include education or vocational training, job placement services, alcohol and drug abuse education and treatment, individual or group counseling, and life-skills training (Boyle et al. 2013; Parent 1995).

Practice Theory
DRCs were originally conceptualized to help reduce the size of the prison population and alleviate the strain on correctional facilities faced with overcrowding. Offenders who serve custodial sentences often have difficulty reintegrating into the community upon release and frequently face barriers related to employment, education, housing, substance abuse treatment, and mental health care (Wodahl et al. 2015). These barriers can increase the likelihood of recidivism. Thus, DRCs are designed to help participants transition between incarceration and community living by providing access to services that address these barriers, which may lower their odds of recidivism.

Meta-Analysis Outcomes

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No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Looking at 12 independent effect sizes from across nine studies, Wong and colleagues (2019) did not find a statistically significant effect on recidivism rates of day reporting center (DRC) participants, compared with non-DRC participants. This means that DRCs are not linked to any difference in recidivism when compared with traditional supervision options, including standard incarceration and release/parole and traditional probation.

For a brief description of additional findings from the meta-analysis, please see the Other Information section of the profile.
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Meta-Analysis Methodology

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Meta-Analysis Snapshot
 Literature Coverage DatesNumber of StudiesNumber of Study Participants
Meta-Analysis 11996 - 2017919883

Meta-Analysis 1
Wong and colleagues (2019) conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effect of day reporting centers (DRCs) on criminal recidivism of adult offenders. For studies to be included in the review, they had to meet the following criteria: 1) the program examined in the study had to explicitly identify as a DRC, as opposed to a community-based program with similar characteristics that did not identify as a DRC; 2) the primary focus of the program had to be on supervision and transitioning the offender into the community rather than on a specific treatment program (studies were limited to those that had the DRC as the primary intervention instead of a DRC in conjunction with another intervention, such as electronic monitoring); 3) the study used a randomized controlled trial or a quasi-experimental design with some form of matched comparison group; 4) the study had to score at least a “2” on the Maryland Scale of Scientific Methods (Sherman et al. 1998); and 5) the sample size of the treatment group had to include at least 20 participants, and the study had to quantitatively measure a criminogenic outcome that allowed for the calculation of an effect size.

The researchers identified relevant studies through a systematic review of the literature that spanned 18 electronic databases and the grey literature to identify unpublished works such as technical reports. Studies were excluded if the program targeted juvenile offenders or focused on specific populations (e.g., probationers with severe mental illness). Additionally, studies published prior to 1990 were excluded due to changes in program characteristics and populations in more recent years. The search resulted in a final sample of nine studies contributing 21 effect sizes, of which 12 were independent.

Nine studies conducted between 1996 and 2017 were included in the meta-analysis, which involved 19,883 participants. Seven of the studies used a quasi-experimental design with moderately to strongly matched comparison groups, and the remaining two were randomized controlled trials. Four were published in peer-reviewed journal articles, four were unpublished technical reports, and one was an unpublished master’s thesis. All studies were conducted in the United States. Five studies were characterized as back-end initiatives, meaning the DRC was used as a form of early release from detention or as a condition of the offenders’ parole. The remaining four studies were considered front-end initiatives, in which the DRC was used as community-based diversion from prison or as an alternative to jail. One study included only men in its sample, five studies included both male and female participants, and three studies did not report statistics on gender. Two studies reported samples that were mostly white or mixed ethnicities, three had a predominately minority sample, and the remaining four did not report on race or ethnicity. Studies included low-, medium-, and high-risk participants. Sample sizes ranged from 28 to 2,789 in the treatment group.

Measures of recidivism typically included arrest, conviction, incarceration, or a combination of all three of these outcomes. Effect sizes were calculated as odds ratios and then transformed to log odds ratios. The researchers conducted meta-analyses for the full set of 12 independent effect sizes, selecting conviction as the outcome when a study presented multiple outcomes. Analyses were also conducted on samples focusing on each of the arrest, conviction, and incarceration outcomes individually. Due to between-group heterogeneity, the researchers used random effects models for these analyses.
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Bitney and colleagues (2017) conducted a cost-benefit analysis of day reporting centers (DRCs) in Washington state. They estimated that the per-participant cost of DRCs was cheaper than treatment as usual and that the benefit-to-cost ratio of DRCs would amount to $1.99 of potential cost savings for the criminal justice system. As such, for every $1 invested in DRCs, the state could expect cost savings (due to reduce recidivism rates and other reduced expenditures) of $1.99.
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Other Information

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Looking at specific measures of recidivism, Wong and colleagues (2019) found that day reporting center (DRC) participants experienced a statistically significant reduction in convictions, compared with non-DRC participants. However, there were no significant differences between groups for measures of arrest or incarceration. Wong and colleagues (2019) also conducted subgroup analyses to look at the stage of program implementation (i.e., whether the DRCs were implemented in the front end or the back end of the system). Front-end DRCs divert offenders from prison or jail, whereas back-end DRCs are used as either a form of early release, where offenders serve the remainder of their sentences in the community, or as a post-custodial supervision requirement for a jail or prison sentence. Findings indicated that front-end DRCs were related to stronger treatment effects than were back-end DRCs. No differences were found when limited to rearrest outcomes; however, front-end DRCs were associated with a significant reduction in recidivism across the full set of 12 effect sizes and when effect sizes were limited to conviction outcomes only, compared with back-end DRCs.
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Evidence-Base (Meta-Analyses Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the practice profile:

Meta-Analysis 1
Wong, Jennifer S., Jessica Bouchard, Chelsey Lee, and Kelsey Gushue. 2019. “Examining the Effects of Reporting Centers on Recidivism: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 58(3):240–60.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the practice profile:

Bitney, Kristofer, Elizabeth Drake, Joshua Grice, Michael Hirsch, and Stephanie Lee. 2017. The Effectiveness of Reentry Programs for Incarcerated Persons: Findings for the Washington Statewide Reentry Council (Document Number 17-05- 1901). Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Boyle, Douglas J., Laura M. Ragusa-Salerno, Jennifer L. Lanterman, and Andrea Fleisch Marcus. 2013. “An Evaluation of Day Reporting Centers for Parolees: Outcomes of a Randomized Trial.” Criminology and Public Policy 12(1):119–43.

Craddock, Amy. 2004. “Estimating Criminal Justice System Costs and Cost-Savings Benefits of Day Reporting Centers.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 39(4):69–98.

Parent, D.G. 1995. Day Reporting Centers. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.

Wodahl, Eric. J., John H. Boman, and Brett E. Garland. 2015. “Responding to Probation and Parole Violations: Are Jail Sanctions More Effective than Community-Based Graduated Sanctions?” Journal of Criminal Justice 43(3):242–50.
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Related Programs

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Following are programs that are related to this practice:

New Jersey Community Resource Centers Promising - One study
This program operates through nonresidential multiservice centers that are designed to facilitate parolees’ successful reintegration back into the community by offering a combination of services and supervision. The program is rated Promising. Parolees in the treatment group showed statistically significant reductions in rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration, compared with parolees in the comparison group.
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Practice Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Other, White

Settings: Other Community Setting

Practice Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Alternatives to Detention, Alternatives to Incarceration, Day/Evening Treatment, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Probation/Parole Services, Vocational/Job Training, Wraparound/Case Management

Unit of Analysis: Persons