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Program Profile: Ohio’s Progressive Sanctioning Grid

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on April 17, 2017

Program Summary

This program uses progressive sanction guidelines from the Ohio Adult Parole Authority to determine the appropriate amount of response by authorities with regard to individuals who violate supervision. The program is rated No Effects. There was no significant impact on risk or felony reoffending and major violation behavior in the first year of supervision.

Program Description

Program Goals/Program Components
In July 2005, Ohio adopted a new set of progressive sanction guidelines and created a structured sanction grid to address the sanctioning of supervision violators who were previously released to parole or post-release control (PRC). The Progressive Sanctioning Grid (which takes into account violation severity, categorized by risk, and number of violation incidents) serves as a tool for guiding how to impose sanctions. The grid was designed to better manage supervised individuals following release from prison, so that those who repeatedly violated their conditions of supervision could receive increasingly harsher sanctions.
In Ohio, post-released individuals are monitored by Adult Parole Authority officers, who are responsible for aiding in the transition back to the community, as well as making sure individuals meet the conditions of their supervision. The Progressive Sanctioning Grid was designed to address concerns about inconsistency of parole officers’ sanctioning of individuals, by using a structured system that dictated specific responses to violations, limited the use of temporary jail detention, and increased the proportionality of sanction responses. The grid replaced a less structured system that allowed for more local discretion over violations.
The sanction grid is embedded within a broader policy that manages response to violations of the conditions of supervision. The grid uses individuals’ history, risk level, and number of prior supervision violations to determine the appropriate response by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority; these range from unit sanctions to in-custody revocation hearings. By heavily emphasizing a risk-based approach and community-sanction alternatives, the sanction grid represents a shift away from punitive response to a balanced, community-based approach to sentencing.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Felony Reoffense
Martin (2008) found the Progressive Sanctioning Grid had a non-significant impact on risk of felony reoffending in the first year of supervision. 
Major Violation
There was also no significant impact on major violation behavior in the first year of supervision.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Martin (2008) conducted a quasi-experimental design study to test the effectiveness of the Progressive Sanctioning Grid on recidivism of newly released individuals from the Ohio prison system.
The sample of 1,040 was representative of individuals supervised between August and October 2005 (the grid became effective in July 2005). The comparison group of 1,012 was selected using stratified random sampling of first-time, post-release individuals whose supervision started between October and December 2003. Propensity score matching and covariance modeling were used to correct for any observed differences between the two groups. The final matched sample considered of 1,044 individuals, with 522 in each group.
The treatment group was monitored using the progressive sanctioning grid. The comparison group was treated as usual upon reentry into the community. The follow-up period of observation for both samples was the first year of supervision, or until the date of early termination, whichever occurred first.
For the comparison group, the data was coded from narrative, log-style entries. In the data collection for the treatment group, risk scores were extracted from Reentry Accountability Plan (RAP) databases. The major outcomes of interest were felony reoffending and major violation behavior. Felony reoffending was defined as an arrest for committing a new felony crime or having absconded and been declared a violator. The violation measure included misconduct of the highest severity by the sanctions policy, including threats behavior and weapons-related violations. An analysis of covariance was used to analyze the data.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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

Study 1
Martin, Brian, and Steve Van Dine. 2008. Examining the Impact of Ohio’s Progressive Sanction Grid: Final Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
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Additional References

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

Steiner, Benjamin, Matthew D. Makarios, Lawrence F. Travis III, and Benjamin Meade. 2011. “Short-Term Effects of Sanctioning Reform on Parole Officers’ Revocation Decisions.” Law & Society Review, 45(2): 371–400. (This study was reviewed but did not meet Crime Solutions' criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)

Whitworth, Ariel. 2009. Ohio’s Graduated Sanction Guidelines. Corrections Today. Alexandria, Va.: American Correctional Association, National Institute of Justice.

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Program Snapshot

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White, Other

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Aftercare/Reentry, Alternatives to Incarceration, Probation/Parole Services, Wraparound/Case Management, Court Processing

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center