Neumann Professor Partners With Delco Probation Office on Repeat Offender Data

Neumann University professor Leanne Havis
Image via Neumann University.
(c)David Fonda david@fondaphoto.c

The Delaware County Adult Probation and Parole Office has retained Dr. Leanne Havis, professor of Criminal Justice at Neumann University, as a consultant to help analyze local recidivism data and identify trends to guide decisions that might lower the county’s repeat-offender rate.

Currently, the county has what Havis describes as “a great case management system.” The Adult Probation and Parole Office, which is part of the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, collects demographics on race, gender, ethnicity, age, education, the number of days between arrests, and other factors.

“So, they have all the data,” she says, “and you can figure out what actually needs to be done if you look at what the data are actually telling you.”

Danielle Hibberd, director of Adult Probation and Parole, understood the gap between collecting data and using it effectively. As soon as her department was asked to create an assessment process over a three-year cycle to analyze the data it has, Hibberd recognized the need to bring an academic on board.

She approached Judge John Capuzzi, chairman of the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, with the idea of a partnership with an outside advisor. Judge Capuzzi recommended that Hibberd consider Neumann.

Hibberd did her research and presented biographies of several Neumann Criminal Justice professors to Capuzzi. Both thought that Havis would be a perfect fit for the project, and in January, Hibberd approached Havis with the idea of a partnership between Neumann and her office.

“I think that Dr. Havis can help us be more efficient,” said Hibberd. “Everything is data-driven these days. I have a case management system that has the capability to do so much, and I want to be able to look at the system and pull specific, useful information. She can help us start to analyze so many factors and build from there.”

Havis is eager to begin working with the county. “I’m happy to stay on for the duration of the three-year process,” she says. “My hope is that the Adult Probation and Parole unit will look at the results for actionable data that will have a practical effect on the real world. I want to help them make decisions that are grounded in data.”

For example, if the data show that the majority of people who are rearrested do not have a high school education, the county might allocate more resources to GED programs. If most re-offenders have no job, then more vocational training programs might be a solution. Are existing programs equally effective for men and women? There are many key performance indicators to examine.

“Facilitating information sharing with judges and the courts is important because they have the greatest amount of influence regarding whether or not existing programs are used,” Havis explains.

Havis is also optimistic that this partnership will strengthen Neumann’s relationship with various Delaware County offices. She envisions the county bringing programs and speakers to campus and perhaps making internships available to students.

Find out more about Neumann University.

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