Arnold Ventures and CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance

Arnold Ventures and CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance


Reducing Revocations Challenge: Santa Cruz County Action Research


The Santa Cruz County Probation Department (SCCPD), in partnership with RDA, is one of ten counties across the country participating in the Reducing Revocations Challenge launched by Arnold Ventures and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG). In each of the ten counties, an action research team (ART) comprised of a county probation department and a research partner sought to identify what drives probation revocations and develop policy and practice recommendations for the probation department to implement to reduce revocations.


The Santa Cruz County ART implemented a mixed-methods, multi-phased assessment to explore a wide range of potential revocations drivers including terms and conditions of probation, client behavior, probation officer responses to client behavior, and court dispositions, among other factors. As a part of the research, RDA utilized advanced data analysis techniques, including logistic regression, as well as analysis of interview and focus group data, to identify revocation drivers.


Based on our findings, RDA developed a final report including policy and practice recommendations to effectively reduce revocations among the County’s adult probation population. This work was supported by an internal Steering Committee that includes SCCPD leadership, supervisors, SCCPD probation officers, and SCCPD probation aides. By collaborating with this group, the Santa Cruz ART is well-positioned to promote organizational change with real buy-in from staff at all levels.

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