Research Report An Assessment of Earned Discharge Community Supervision Policies in Oregon and Missouri
Robin Olsen, Constance Hull, Barbara Pierce, Ashlin Oglesby-Neal
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Many states have enacted comprehensive justice system reforms to reduce the use of incarceration and community supervision with the aim of focusing resources on people at higher risk of reoffending and investing in strategies to achieve better outcomes for people and communities. Missouri (in 2012) and Oregon (in 2013) passed legislation to implement earned discharge from supervision for people who fulfill their supervision conditions. The states use two different approaches; Missouri’s approach awards credits automatically for each month of compliance while Oregon’s approach includes a review of compliance at the midpoint of supervision to consider earned discharge and gives local supervision authorities discretion over implementation of the policy. We conducted interviews with stakeholders and analyzed administrative data in both states to examine the implementation and effects of the earned discharge policy reform. Our analysis found that people who receive earned discharge serve less of their original supervision sentence (2 years shorter on average in Missouri and 13 months shorter on average in Oregon) and less of their sentence when compared to people who successfully complete supervision in other ways. Importantly, rates of the use of earned discharge can vary across a state when discretion at the individual or county-level is a large component of the policy design. The analysis also found that people closing their supervision terms through earned discharge or earned compliance credits have similar recidivism rates compared to people who were otherwise eligible for earned discharge but who successfully complete supervision in other ways. This brief offers recommendations that Missouri, Oregon, and other jurisdictions can consider to build on these reforms, including clearly and simply defining eligibility for earned discharge, and reducing the discretion of judges or supervision staff to determine people’s eligibility to ensure consistency and equity in the application of earned discharge.

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety
Tags Corrections Courts and sentencing Reentry and community supervision
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center