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Process Evaluation of the Cook County Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI)
Modified Project HOPE: Program

David E. Olson, Ph.D.
Donald Stemen, Ph.D.

Prepared for the Cook County Justice Advisory Committee

October 2014


In early 2012, the Cook County Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI) Modified Project HOPE was
launched with the goal of reducing commitments to the Illinois Department of Corrections
(IDOC) for individuals who violate the conditions of their probation. The program was designed
to identify individuals on probation in Cook County who had committed violations of their
supervision that put them at risk of revocation, and as a result, commitment to prison (IDOC).
Based on research conducted for the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC), it was
estimated that 15 percent of all admissions to prison in Illinois were accounted for by probation
violators. Further, following a period of consistent decreases in the number of felons from Cook
County being sent to prison (state fiscal year, SFY, 2004 through 2011), it appears that the
number of felons sentenced to prison from Cook County has begun to increase, particularly for
those convicted of the least serious felony offense classes (i.e., Class 3 and 4 felonies). Indeed,
between SFY 2004 and 2011, the number of sentences to prison from Cook County for a Class 4
felony possession of a controlled substance offense fell from roughly 5,000 to fewer than 1,800,
before rebounding to roughly 2,250 by SFY 2013.

For those probationers screened and referred to the program (i.e., those who were on probation
and committed a violation that put them as risk of revocation), the ARI program model
emphasized frequent contact between probation officers, the program judge, and program
participants, coupled with frequent urinalysis and swift and certain sanctions for violations.
After approximately two years of operation, a process evaluation of the program was requested
to examine the degree to which the program had been implemented as intended, including the
referral process to identify eligible participants, the characteristics of those admitted to the
program, the frequency and results of drug testing of program participants, referrals to substance
abuse treatment services, matriculation through the program, and the degree to which it appears
that the program has effectively diverted at risk probationers from prison. The process evaluation
relied on face-to-face interviews with program administrators and staff, observations of the
courtroom work-group meetings to discuss cases, and analyses of program participant data
submitted by the program.

Program Referrals

The mechanism by which potential participants are referred for ARI consideration appears to be
somewhat informal and it is unclear the degree to which all eligible participants are identified
and referred. During the pre-operational planning phase of the program, it was projected that
each year more than 1,000 probationers would meet the general eligibility criteria for the
program: 1) on probation for a felony offense, 2) medium to high risk, 3) on probation for a non-
violent offense, and 4) high probability of revocation to IDOC. However, the specific eligibility
requirements for ARI eventually included: 1) on probation for a felony offense, 2) a technical
violation of probation, which can include purely technical violations or new arrests for a
misdemeanor offense, 3) at least nine months remaining on the original probation sentence, and
4) no history of violence within the individual’s criminal background or current offense. Thus,
two new eligibility requirements were imposed: having at least nine months remaining to serve
and having no current or past history of violence. During the pre-operational pipeline study it
was not possible to estimate the impact these new requirements would have on the eligibility
pool, and thus the original projection of how many individuals would meet the criteria was likely
an overestimation. One indication that this annual projection of 1,000 eligible probationers may
have been too high is the fact that over the first twenty-six months of program implementation
(February 2012 to April 2014), a total of 676 individuals were referred to the Cook County ARI
program (Figure 1).1 However, as will be seen later, the lower than expected referrals to the ARI
program is also likely due to the inconsistent and sporadic referral process and mechanism.

Analyses of the referrals over time revealed a number of important patterns. First, the annual
number of referrals to the ARI program has declined over time. In 2012, 400 individuals were
referred to ARI; in 2013, just 231 individuals were referred to ARI – a 42% decrease. Similarly,
in the first four months of 2014, just 53 individuals were referred to ARI – a 27% decrease from
the first four months of 2013. The high number of referrals in 2012 is likely due to the initial

Excludes duplicate cases. In the original data provided there were 8 individuals that showed up both as accepted
into ARI and rejected for ARI participation. Based on other program data, it appears that 7 of these individuals
were initially rejected and then subsequently admitted to the program.

implementation of the program. Indeed, during the first four months of program operation
(February 2012-May 2012), monthly referrals to the program exceeded an average of 57 referrals
per month. The number of monthly referrals decreased sharply after that to roughly 20 referrals
per month. Analyses of the number of referrals to ARI each month also reveals that the number
of referrals has been somewhat erratic over time, with monthly referrals to the program ranging
from 34 referrals in November 2013 to just 5 referrals in April 2014.
Based on interviews with program staff, it appears that the understanding of ARI eligibility and
the referral process has not become widely recognized and institutionalized within the Adult
Probation Department, and supervisors within the department often have to be reminded to
review cases that have violations noted for possible referral to ARI. As seen in the monthly
fluctuation of referrals, sometimes these reminders generate substantial increases in cases being
referred to ARI. For example, in March 2013 there were only 8 referrals to ARI, compared to 29
the following month (April) (Figure 1). Referrals tailed off once again from the 29 in April,
falling to just 7 during September 2013.

Figure 1. Number of ARI Referrals, February 2012 – April 2014
Number of individuals referred



















2012 2013 2014

Individuals Rejected from ARI

Analyses were also performed to determine the degree to which referrals to ARI result in either
acceptance/admission into the program or rejection. The process to review cases for ARI
eligibility involves the ARI supervisor in the Cook County Adult Probation Department making
an initial determination to see if the probationer meets the eligibility criteria, and, if so, the case
is then referred to the Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney assigned to the project for their
review of eligibility. Once these reviews occur, eligible cases are then discussed by the ARI
project team, which includes probation officers, an assistant state’s attorney, a defense attorney,
and the program judge. If there is agreement among this group, the probationer is admitted to
the program.

Of the 676 individuals referred to the ARI program during the study period (February 2012
through April 2014), 51% (344 individuals) were accepted and 49% (332 individuals) were
rejected based on the individual’s current offense, criminal history, or other factors (Figure 2). It
appears that early during program implementation, when the referral process and eligibility
criteria were still somewhat unclear, the proportion of referrals that were rejected was higher
than in later months. For example, during the first four months of program operation (February
2012-May 2012), 57% of the referred cases were rejected. By comparison, during the rest of
2012, just 44% of referred cases were rejected and during all of 2013 roughly 46% of referred
cases were rejected. Like the total number of referrals, the rate of rejection has been somewhat
erratic over time, with monthly rejection rates ranging from 72% in June 2013 to just 23% in
July 2013.

Figure 2. Number of ARI Referrals, Acceptances, and Rejections, February 2012 – April
Number of individuals

















2012 2013 2014

Accepted (N=345) Not Accepted (N=338) Total

When cases are reviewed for eligibility, program staff are seeking to determine if the case meets
the eligibility criteria (noted above). When the rejection reasons were examined for cases
referred during the study period, just over 50% of the rejected cases were turned down due to
violence in the individual’s criminal history, roughly 30% of the rejected cases were turned
down due to the nature of the offense that led to the individual being placed on probation, and
roughly 15% of rejected cases were turned down for “other” reasons (i.e., less than none months
remaining on sentence) (Figure 3). As this indicates, in most instances, those individuals who
were rejected for participation in ARI were rejected because it was determined that the nature of
their current offense (i.e., the one that resulted in their sentence to probation) or their criminal
history was too serious, or involved a crime of violence, that precluded them from being allowed
to participate in the program. Although current offense and criminal history are often used as
criteria to determine who is eligible for placement in diversionary programs at the point of
sentencing, the limitation with this rationale for admission to the ARI program is that all of the
individuals referred to the Cook County ARI program were originally sentenced to probation for
the current offense and with the criminal history that later precluded them from being placed into

ARI – arguably a more restrictive, intensive form of probation supervision. In other words, the
current offense and criminal history were not so serious as to preclude placement on probation in
the first place, however, they are being used to preclude placement on a more stringent form of
probation after a violation.

Figure 3. Reason for Rejection from ARI, by Year.

Percent of cases rejected

2012 2013 2014
Current Offense Criminal History Other

Individuals Accepted into ARI

Of the 344 individuals accepted into the Cook County ARI program, most individuals were male
(76%), African-American (88%), single (89%), unemployed (87%), without a high school degree
(51%), and with a mean age of 31 years (Table 1). The vast majority of cases accepted into ARI
were originally placed on probation for a drug-law violation (82%), most often possession of a
controlled substance; indeed, over 62% of individuals admitted to ARI were originally placed on
probation for possession of a controlled substance and an additional 5% of individuals admitted
to ARI were originally placed on probation for possession of cannabis. The remaining
individuals admitted to ARI were originally on probation for burglary (5.5%), fraud/ID theft

(1.7%), retail theft/theft (5.8%), possession of a stolen vehicle (2.6%), criminal damage to
property (0.6%), and public order offenses (0.6%).

As Table 1 indicates, individuals accepted into ARI were slightly different from individuals
rejected from ARI on a number of factors. Individuals accepted into ARI were more likely to be
older (31 years old) than those rejected (28 years old), female (23.3% versus 13.9%,
respectively), and originally sentenced to probation for a drug-law violation (83.8% versus
57.8%, respectively). When those accepted and rejected were compared in terms of their risk
level and average need score (based on the LSI-R assessment), there appeared to be relatively
little difference. For example, only about 10% of both those accepted to and rejected from ARI
were classified as medium-high/high risk, and about 82% of both groups were classified as
medium risk. Similarly, the mean and median LSI-R need score for both groups was
approximately 21. By comparison, among participants enrolled in the original HOPE (Hawaii’s
Opportunity Probation with Enforcement) program, roughly 46% were classified as high risk and
the median LSI score was 282 (the higher the LSI score, the greater the rehabilitative needs).

Hawken, A. and Kleiman, M. (2009). Managing Drug Involved Probationers with Swift and Certain Sanctions:
Evaluating Hawaii’s HOPE. Washington, DC. National Institute of Justice.

Table 1. Characteristics of Individuals Referred to ARI
Accepted into ARI Rejected from ARI
Number of individuals 344 332
Age at referral (mean) 31 years 28 years
Male 76.7% 86.4%
Female 23.3% 13.6%
African-American 87.6% 82.5%
White 3.5% 3.0%
Hispanic 8.1% 13.9%
Marital Status
Single 89.3% 89.8%
Married 8.3% 7.7%
Divorced 2.5% 2.5%
Unemployed 87.3% 83.6%
Employed 12.7% 16.4%
Less than H.S. 3.6% 2.9%
Some H.S. 47.6% 55.0%
H.S. Degree/GED 47.9% 40.8%
Some College 1.0% 1.3%
Current Offense Type
Property 16.3% 27.7%
Controlled Substance 71.5% 46.4%
Cannabis 11.3% 11.4%
DUI 0% 3.3%
Violent 0% 6.6%
Public order/other 0.6% 4.5%

ARI Program Content

In addition to frequent face-to-face contact with their probation officers and status hearings
before the program judge, one of the elements of the Cook County ARI program that makes it
unique from traditional probation is frequent drug testing (urinalysis), followed by swift and
certain sanctions for positive drug tests. Data were examined to gauge the frequency with which
program participants were subject to drug testing, the results of those drug tests, and the types of
substances detected through the urinalysis. Importantly, many of those referred to the ARI
program had a positive drug test as the violation that resulted in their referral to the program.

Drug Testing

Of the 344 individuals admitted to ARI, 317 individuals (92.1%) were subject to drug testing
through March 2014. Initial drug tests were administered a median of 20 days from the date of
ARI admission; subsequent drug tests were administered, on average, every 30 days thereafter.
Of those tested, a total of 2,789 tests were administered, or an average of 8.0 tests per
participant; overall, 33.6% of participants had 10 or more drug tests during program
participation. Of these 2,789 drug tests administered during the study, 559 tests (20%) were
positive. Because a number of program participants were in methadone maintenance programs at
program admission, testing positive for this drug was allowable, although the program team’s
goal for these participants was for them to eventually not require the methadone. When drug tests
positive for only methadone were excluded, only 17% of drug tests were positive for some other

Despite the relatively low positive test results, the large majority of ARI participants tested
positive for drugs at their initial screening; 74% of ARI participants tested positive on the initial
drug test under the program. The percent of participants testing positive at subsequent
screenings decreased; of those individuals with five or more drug tests, 68% tested positive at the
initial screening but just 35% tested positive at the second screening and only 10% tested
positive on the fifth screening (Figure 7). Thus, participant drug use did decrease during
program participation. Yet, overall, 73.5% of individuals admitted to ARI had at least one

positive drug test at some point during the program and 23% of ARI participants had more than
two positive drug tests during program participation.

The most common drug detected in positive tests was cannabis, accounting for 55% of all
positive drug tests (Figure 5); cocaine and opiates accounted for a total of 26% of positive drug
tests and methadone accounted for 19% of positive drug tests. Of the 559 positive drug tests, 64
(11.4%) were positive for multiple substances; similarly, of the 119 positive tests for methadone,
37 (31%) were also positive for another substance, most often opiates.

Figure 4. Percent of ARI Participants with Positive Drug Test (Participants with at Least 5
Drug Tests)
Percent of ARI participants

First Test Second Test Third Test Fouth Test Fifth Test
Positive Positive Positive Positive Positive

Figure 5. Drugs Detected in Positive Drug Tests.




Treatment Referrals

Of the 344 individuals admitted to ARI, just 65 individuals (19%) were referred to substance
abuse treatment (Figure 6). Based on interviews with program staff, there was some concern that
sufficient financial resources were not available to provide more participants with direct and
immediate access to intensive, outpatient drug treatment services. Most of the individuals
referred to treatment (43%) had a single treatment referral; 35% of individuals referred to
treatment had two referrals, 17% had three referrals, and 5% had four referrals. Overall, these 65
individuals were referred a total of 119 times for substance abuse treatment.

ARI participants were referred to a total of 13 different treatment providers (Figure 7). Most
referrals were to Cook County Jail (36 referrals or 30.2%), followed by Gateway Foundation
West Side Residential Program (23 referrals or 19.3%), McDermott Center (15 referrals or
12.6%), and Cornell Interventions (14 referrals or 11.7%). Although the treatment program in
the Cook County Jail accounted the highest number of total referrals, in most cases, the initial
treatment referral was to Gateway Foundation West Side Residential Program (26.7%), Cornell
Interventions (16.7%), or McDermott Center (16.7%); only 8.3% of initial treatment referrals
were to Cook County Jail (Division 14 or 17) (Figure 8). Yet, Cook County Jail accounted for
51.4% of second referrals, 69.2% of third referrals, and 100% of fourth referrals. Overall, of the
65 individuals referred to substance abuse treatment, 31 individuals (47%) had at least one
referral to the program in the Cook County Jail (Division 14 or 17).

Figure 6. Number of Treatment Referrals for ARI Participants.

Number of ARI participants





0 Treatment 1 Treatment 2 Treatment 3 Treatment 4 Treatment
Referrals Referrals Referrals Referrals Referrals
Number of treatment referrals

Figure 7. Total Number of Treatment Referrals, by Treatment Provider
Number of referrals


Figure 8. Percent of Initial Referrals, by Treatment Provider
Percent of initial referrals






Linking Positive Tests and Referrals

The low number of treatment referrals - just 65 ARI participants (19% of ARI participants) were
referred to treatment – indicates a potential disconnect between referrals and treatment need.
Indeed, while just 19% of ARI participants (65 individuals) were referred to drug treatment, 74%
of ARI participants (233 individuals) tested positive for drugs at some point in the program and
23% of ARI participants (73 individuals) had three or more positive drug tests. Of the 73
individuals with three or more positive drug tests, just 28 individuals (38%) had any indication of
a drug treatment referral in the records examined for this study. Thus, among those participants
with a high rate of positive drug tests, very few were referred to treatment. Although individuals
with more positive drug tests tended to be more likely to be referred to treatment, many
individuals with no positive drug tests or 1-2 positive drug tests also were referred to treatment
(Figure 9). Indeed, roughly 7% of individuals without any positive drug tests (8 individuals)
were referred to treatment.

Although beyond the scope of the current analyses, future planning should assess the actual need
for treatment among program participants, and the modality that would be most appropriate.
Given the high prevalence of positive tests for cannabis, coupled with the fact that a large
reduction in positive drug testing was accomplished with the current program approach and
resources, there may be a very specific subset of ARI participants that would really need
intensive treatment (i.e., long-term cocaine and opiate abusers rather than younger cannabis

Figure 9. Percent of Individuals Referred to Treatment, by Number of Positive Drug Tests.
Percent of referred to treatment

No positive drug 1-2 positive drug 3-4 positive drugs 5 or more positive
tests tests tests drug tests

Outcomes for Individuals Referred to ARI

Since program implementation, 182 individuals have been discharged from ARI. Of those
discharged, 70% (128 individuals) were classified as successful and 24% (44 individuals) were
classified as unsuccessful (the remaining 6% of cases involved 8 individuals classified as
“Other” discharge status and 2 individuals who died) (Figure 10). Among those individuals who
were successfully discharged, their average length of time in the ARI program was just under
one year (345 days). By comparison, those who were unsuccessfully terminated stayed in the
program for an average of 290 days.

Among those individuals that were discharged from the ARI program, analyses were performed
to see how many ultimately ended up being sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections
following their discharge from ARI. The median length of the follow-up period between
discharge and the check of IDOC records was roughly 600 days. Of the 128 successful
discharges, just 2% (3 individuals) were subsequently sentenced to IDOC within the follow-up
period. Of the 52 unsuccessful/other discharges, 40% (21 individuals) were subsequently
sentenced to IDOC, and the average amount of time between their unsuccessful discharge from
ARI and admission to IDOC was 140 days (or roughly 3 ½ months). Thus, overall, 13% of ARI
participants were subsequently sentenced to IDOC (Figure 11).

Figure 10. Discharge Status of Individuals Terminated from ARI.

Unsuccessfu Other/Died
l 6%


Figure 11. Percent of Terminated ARI Cases Sentenced to IDOC Post-Discharge.
Percent of sentenced to IDOC

Successful Discharge Unsuccessful/Other Total

Despite having a current offense or criminal history that barred them from participating in the
Cook County ARI program, the majority of those who were rejected from ARI were not
subsequently sentenced to prison—either as a result of the violation that led to their referral to
ARI or any other subsequent violations or arrests. Indeed, of the 332 individuals rejected from
ARI, just 65 individuals (19%) were subsequently sentenced to IDOC; moreover, of these 65
individuals admitted to IDOC, the median time between ARI rejection and IDOC admission was
323 days – indicating that the reason rejected individuals entered prison was likely unrelated to
the violation that led to the ARI referral. These results seem to undercut the primary goal of ARI
– to divert felony probation violators from prison; indeed, these results indicate that most felony
probationers referred to the program would not otherwise be sentenced to IDOC. Thus,
compared to ARI participants, individuals referred to ARI but rejected from the program, were
sentenced to prison at a slightly higher rate that individuals terminated from ARI (Figure 12).

Figure 12. Percent of Terminated ARI Cases and Cases Rejected from ARI Sentenced to
Percent of sentenced to IDOC

Terminated from ARI Rejected from ARI


The preceding analyses identified a number of strengths and weaknesses associated with the
implementation and operation of the Cook County ARI Modified Project HOPE program. An
infrastructure for a potentially valuable and impactful program is in place: highly qualified and
committed staff have been identified and selected to work in the program and have carried out
their responsibilities consistent with the design of the program. These staff have developed
excellent rapport with each other and have put in place a process whereby probationers who
violate the conditions of their supervision are quickly brought back before the program judge and
sanctioned. The frequency of drug testing is consistent with the pre-operational design of the
program, and the program team has identified and utilized a range of intermediate sanctions to
respond to program violations.

The most significant areas for improvement that would allow for the program to have the type of
impact on prison sentences for probation violators envisioned relate to improving the process
whereby probationers at risk of revocation due to technical violations are identified and referred
to the program. One of the challenges to this is that there are a number of programs operating in
Cook County, such as the RAP Court, that have been in existence for a long period of time and
already have in place an institutionalized process to identify those who are truly at risk of
revocation and subsequent incarceration in IDOC. The other challenge is that the eligibility
criteria, and the process by which eligible probation violators are identified for referral, is not as
clear and as formalized as other programs. As a result, it appears that those referred to the ARI
program are not as serious—either in terms of their risk level or the nature of their probation
violation—to be considered prison-bound. Evidence of this comes from the relatively small
number of ARI participants who were unsatisfactorily terminated from ARI and subsequently
sentenced to prison; of the 44 unsuccessful terminations from the program less than one-half (21
of the 44, or 47%) were subsequently sentenced to IDOC. Even further evidence that the referral
process is not effectively identifying probation violators at risk of sentencing to IDOC is comes
from the fact that very few of the individuals rejected from the program were subsequently
sentenced to prison; indeed, just 19% of the individuals rejected from the program were
sentenced to IDOC within 600 days of their ARI rejection.

That said, if the ARI project were able to more effectively identify higher risk probationers for
participation, the current availability of the types of rehabilitative services needed would have to
be considered. As it currently stands, there are limited resources available to provide ARI
participants intensive, clinical intervention through contractual service. As a result, extensive use
of the jail-based treatment programs has resulted, which may not necessarily be the most
appropriate for the targeted population. It appears that for many of the relatively low risk,
cannabis users admitted to ARI, the program is able to modify their behavior (i.e., reduce their
drug use, matriculate them through the program successfully) with the threat (and follow-
through) of swift and certain sanctions. However, if the program were to target and admit the
types of higher-risk probation violators that are more likely to end up in IDOC (and more
consistent with the risk level of the original Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement

program participants), capacity to effectively address their criminogenic needs beyond just the
swift and certain sanctions will need to be in place.