Day Reporting Centers
Day Reporting Centers
Through extensive research and innovation, the field of criminal justice has come up with various methods to improve the function of the criminal justice system. Day reporting centers are one such innovation, currently set up in most states in the United States of America. Day reporting centers are cognitive restructuring programs aimed at changing the adverse thinking patterns of an offender, to provide services such as education and job training to enable the offender find long term employment and to hold offenders who are unemployed accountable during the day. These centers were part of the solutions to the need for alternatives to imprisonment of convicted offenders. Day reporting centers were formed to ease the congestion or overcrowding in prison facilities and correctional centers, and to ease the overburdened criminal justice departments in most states. Some states however have adolescent evening reporting centers, as an alternative or in addition to day reporting centers.
Day reporting centers have been set up in various states in the counties in these states to facilitate ease of access. These day reporting centers provide a long-term solution to challenges in correction of offenders through reducing recidivism and returning offenders to productive lifestyles. When an offender is referred to a day reporting center, they go through a program with several phases including frequent reporting to the center. The period in which an offender can attend a day reporting center goes up to around one hundred and eighty days. The individuals in day reporting centers are placed in categories based on the results of risk and needs assessment. Offenders who attend day reporting centers are monitored using various techniques including intensive case management, alcohol and drug testing and daily check-ins. Those who do not comply face increased sanctions ranging from additional classes, tighter curfews and increased frequency in reporting to house arrest or re incarceration.
The state of Louisiana has three existing day reporting centers that include Covington Day Reporting Center, Bossier City Day Reporting Center and Baton Rouge Day Reporting Center. The Baton Rouge Day reporting Center was opened in March 2015 in the East Baton Rouge County in the state of Louisiana. The goals of this day reporting center include assisting offenders in successful reentry through provision of necessary services, reduction of offender arrests and increasing public safety through holding offenders accountable. The center aims at helping offenders change the way they think and behave, to gain structure and stability, obtaining gainful employment, to abstain from alcohol and other drug use, and to learn and practice new skills for living a responsible lifestyle. These goals are achieved through various services provided at this day reporting center.
At the Baton Rouge day reporting center, offenders participate in a program for up to sixty days plus aftercare, with the imposition of sanctions on those who fail to comply. This program is aimed at breaking the cycle of criminal behavior among offenders. Services provided at this day reporting center include life skills and parenting classes, drug and alcohol classes, employment readiness and career development, cognitive behavior therapy, adult basic education and GED prep resources and referrals, and community connections, including links to community service providers. These services provide offenders with knowledge and skills important for useful and economically viable activities, and with motivation for behavior change.
The Baton Rouge day reporting center has come up with various strategies to achieve the above goals. One of these strategies include surveillance, which is most often rigorous through monitoring the whereabouts and behavior of participating offenders. Surveillance incorporates graduated phases of supervision, high frequency on site contact, close monitoring offsite and vigilant surveillance of criminal behavior. Surveillance is done in phases into which an offender can transition depending on how well they adjust to living in the community. Random or unscheduled drug and alcohol testing, mandatory check-ins are some of the other ways in which Baton Rouge day reporting center monitors offenders. In addition to these, there is intensive case management for offenders who fail to comply or fail to make positive adjustment towards living in the community. All these strategies are aimed at ensuring effectiveness of the services provided by the day reporting center, and ensuring that the goals of the center are achieved.
Day reporting centers are considered a nominal sanction. This is mainly because the offender does not get to serve a jail term in a prison like other offenders. The offender has access to exercising their rights as an American Citizen as opposed to prisoners in confinement. The offender lives in their home and only faces constant monitoring and supervision by probation officers from the criminal justice system. The offender therefore has another opportunity to right their wrongs and to attain positive adjustment to living in the community. After this is achieved, the offender can resume their normal lives without further supervision. They can then start new meaningful lives using skills and knowledge earned through attending the day reporting center. On the other hand, individuals serving a jail term suffer confinement and limited rights due to the nature of prisons. This punitive measure is definitely more severe as compared to attending a day reporting center.
Caputo, G. A. (2004). Intermediate Sanctions in Corrections. University of North Texas Press.
GEO Reentry Services. (2015, November 19). Retrieved from GEO REENTRY SERVICES: www.reentryla.com/bat0n-rouge-day-reporting-center-probationers-to-graduate/
Parent, D., Byrne, J., Vered, T., Valade , L., & Esselman, J. (1995). Day Reporting Centers Volume 1. U.S Department of Justice.