What Really Happens in Vegas?: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluation of Nevada's First Day Reporting Center

AuthorLinsey A. Belisle,Matthew P. West,William H. Sousa
Published date01 June 2022
Date01 June 2022
Subject MatterArticles
What Really Happens
in Vegas?: Results
of a Randomized
Controlled Trial
Evaluation of Nevadas
First Day Reporting
Linsey A. Belisle
, Matthew P. West
and William H. Sousa
The current study is one of few to utilize a randomized controlled trial
design to evaluate the effects of a Day Reporting Center (DRC).
Individuals on community supervision were randomly assigned to the DRC
group or the control group. Path models examined the direct and indirect
effects of DRC participation on social outcomes, revocations, and violations.
Findings suggest that DRCs might effectively achieve their goals, at least in
the short term and for some types of individuals. While these f‌indings sug-
gest that DRCs can be effective, more research is needed before def‌initive
policy implications can be made.
day reporting centers, community corrections, community supervision,
intermediate sanctions, probation and parole
University of Houston Downtown, Houston, TX, USA
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL, USA
University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Corresponding Author:
Linsey A. Belisle, University of Houston Downtown Department of Criminal Justice and Social
Work, College of Public Service, One Main St., Suite C340, Houston, TX 77002, USA.
Email: Belislel@uhd.edu
The Prison Journal
2022, Vol. 102(3) 304324
© 2022 SAGE Publications
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00328855221095532
The rates at which people oscillate between incarceration and community
supervision in the United States are striking. Just under half of all U.S.
state prison admissions are individuals on parole or probation who return
due to new offenses or technical violations (Council of State Governments
Justice Center, 2019). This cycle of re-incarceration comes at a high cost to
taxpayers, ~ $28,000 per incarcerated individual per year (Kyckelhan,
2012; Mai & Subramanian, 2017). With over two million adults incarcerated
nationally (Sawyer & Wagner, 2020), the annual costs are in the billions. Due
to high recidivism rates and the high costs of incarceration, there is an increas-
ing need for safe and effective alternatives to incarceration. Day Reporting
Centers (DRCs) are one such alternative. Unfortunately, few rigorous evalu-
ations of DRCs have been conducted to assess whether or not DRCs are
achieving these goals. In this article, we report the results of a randomized
controlled trial (RCT) performed to evaluate the effectiveness of Nevadas
f‌irst DRC.
Day Reporting Centers in the U.S.
DRCs f‌irst began operating in the U.S. in the 1980s (Caputo, 2004) and have
since become a popular alternative to incarceration. Although there is varia-
tion in DRC models (see Caputo, 2004; Lanterman, 2020), there are three key
characteristics of DRCs. First, DRCs tend to target individuals on community
supervision who are deemed to be at medium-to-high risk of reoffending
(based on the riskprinciple; see Bonta & Andrews, 2017) and/or are at
risk of being revoked (Bahn & Davis, 1998; Parent et al., 1995). Second,
DRCs involve more intensive supervision compared to traditional community
supervision. For example, DRC off‌icers have an increased frequency of
contact with individuals on their caseloads (e.g., daily or weekly check-ins)
and conduct more frequent drug testing than traditional supervision (Bahn
& Davis, 1998; Parent et al., 1995). Third, DRCs require participation in
more intensive programming, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, substance
use treatment, or vocational/job skills training. In addition, DRCs usually
provide participants with greater access to services, such as housing or
employment services, compared to traditional supervision (Parent et al.,
In theory, these key features suggest DRC practices should align with
some of the principles of effective intervention (see Bogue et al., 2004).
According to the Risk-Need-Responsivity model (see Bonta & Andrews,
2017), to reduce recidivism, treatment and supervision intensity should
Belisle et al. 305

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