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Environmental Corrections

Environmental Corrections
A New Paradigm for Supervising Offenders in the Community

November 2015 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

A new paradigm for supervising offenders in the community


Environmental Corrections is an innovative guide filled with rich insights and strategies for probation and parole officers to effectively integrate offenders back into the community and reduce recidivism. Authors Lacey Schaefer, Francis T. Cullen, and John E. Eck move beyond traditional models for interventions and build directly on the applied focus of environmental criminology theories. Using this approach, the authors answer the question of what officers can do to decrease opportunities for an offender to commit a crime. Readers will learn how to recognize and assess specific criminal opportunities in an offender’s past and gain the tools and strategies they need to design an individualized supervision plan that channels offenders away from these criminogenic situations.

Chapter 1: Why Offender Supervision Does Not Work
The Invention of Probation and Parole: Treatment and Control

The Limited Effectiveness of Offender Supervision

Why Treatment Does Not Work

Why Control Does Not Work

Conclusion: A New Paradigm for Offender Supervision

Chapter 2: Why Opportunity Matters
The Evolution of Crime Science

Crime Science and Opportunity Reduction

Conclusion: Opportunity-Reduction Supervision

Chapter 3: How to Supervise Offenders
Current Offender Supervision Practices

Introduction to Environmental Corrections Supervision

Identifying Exposure to Crime Opportunities

Considering Gender

Creating the Offender’s Case Plan

Modifying the Offender’s Case Plan

Graduated Consequences

Earned Discharge and Aftercare

Chapter 4: Developing Offender Supervision Technology
Offender Assessment and Classification

Identifying Opportunities for Crime

Opportunity-Reduction Case Plans

Chapter 5: Getting Offenders to Think Right
Reducing Propensity

Opportunity Resistance

Opportunity Avoidance

Chapter 6: How the Police Can Help
Increasing the Supervision of Offenders

Increasing the Supervision of Targets and Places

Increasing the Surveillance by Crime Controllers

Chapter 7: Making Offender Supervision Work
Lesson #1: Punishment Does Not Work Well

Lesson #2: Reducing Crime Opportunities Reduces Crime

Lesson #3: Environmental Corrections Can Reduce Crime Opportunities

Lesson #4: Crime Opportunities Must Be Assessed

Lesson #5: Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques Can Help

Lesson #6: The Police Make Excellent Community Corrections Partners

Lesson #7: Research Is Needed

Lesson #8: Opportunity-Reduction Supervision Can Work


“For more than a half century, scholars have contested whether offender supervision should emphasize treatment or control.  Drawing on the insights of environmental criminology, Schaefer and colleagues move beyond this increasingly stale debate by proposing a truly innovative approach to community corrections: using supervision to limit offenders vulnerability to criminal opportunities.  Scholarly yet accessible, this volume promises to be a contemporary classic in the field of corrections.”

Joan Petersilia
Stanford Law School

“This book breaks important new ground by integrating environmental criminology and

place-based ideas into community supervision of offenders.  The idea of "environmental corrections" is not just new and intriguing; it presents a new approach to doing something about an important part of the crime problem.”

David Weisburd
George Mason University and Hebrew University

A text like Environmental Corrections is a hot cake in the field of criminal justice, especially in the branch of Corrections. It addresses the whole components of correctional system in a systematic method. It uses a comprehensive approach to explain to readers the environment in which the modern day correction systems operate. By breaking down the theory of correction in Chapter one, the author makes it easier for readers to appreciate the discussions in the Environmental Correction.  I believe the use of this book in my correction class would add more flavor in explaining the process of corrections in America.”

Chima O. Ahanotu
Texas A&M University-Commerce

“This book has the potential to be for community corrections what Goldstein’s Problem Oriented Policing was and still is for policing.”

Jonathon A. Cooper
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

“This may well be the most important book on community corrections in decades.  It takes a mountain of research evidence from a staggering variety of sources and consolidates it into a roadmap for the future.  The ugly truth is that American corrections is broken.  Environmental Corrections may well be the approach necessary to repair a critical part of it.  The authors have brutally assaulted the mantra that "nothing works" by showing otherwise”.

Adam J. McKee
University of Arkansas at Monticello

“It’s an important book – well-written and well-argued. Even though it may ask a lot from probation and parole officers, it certainly provides a standard to aspire to.”

Richard P. Wiebe
Fitchburg State University

“Strengths: Thoroughness, Inclusion of forms and excellent figures, Practical discussions”

Elizabeth Perkins
Morehead State University

“I would be very likely to seriously consider this as a supplementary text to my Community Corrections class.  I also think it would be a good addition to my Police and Community course”

Deirdre M. Warren
Kent State University at Stark
Key features


  • An innovative approach focused on criminal opportunity merges key insights from environmental criminology and correctional theory to enhance public safety and improve offender outcomes.  
  • An overview of traditional probation and parole supervision models illuminates how intervention strategies are complementary, not mutually exclusive.  
  • Concrete advice and realistic examples show how environmental corrections can be practiced using technology instruments.  
  • An integration of rehabilitation interventions shows readers how environmental corrections can be integrated in innovative ways with traditional rehabilitation approaches.  
  • Eight lessons for making offender supervision more effective are listed in the final chapter to offer readers clear advice on how best to improve the supervision of offenders on probation and parole.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

For instructors

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