There has been growing agreement among practitioners, policymakers, and the general public that far too many people are under correctional control in the United States (U.S.). Indeed, in 1980, 1.8 million adults were in prison, jail, or under community supervision; by 2016, that number had grown to over 6.6 million. In response to this, a number of large-scale initiatives have launched with the goal of reducing jail and prison populations. There remains a significant gap in the reform landscape in the area of community supervision, however—ironically, the type of correctional control that is by far the most common in the U.S. At present, one in 55 adults is under supervision, representing roughly 2 percent of the U.S. adult population and nearly two-thirds of the total correctional population.

Community supervision is designed to be an alternative to incarceration, yet rates of failure among people on probation are alarmingly high and revocations a significant driver of jail and prison admissions. To attempt to counter these trends and maximize the chances of success, a range of evidence-based supervision strategies—such as risk and needs based supervision and graduated responses—have emerged over the years, along with efforts in some jurisdictions to reduce the length of supervision terms. While these strategies have effected change in many places, however, success rates remain far too low, and we lack knowledge about the factors, circumstances, and behaviors that drive revocations to jail or prison and how to respond to clients in a way that prevents new criminal activity without over-punishing less harmful behaviors. Without this knowledge, we lack understanding about how to effectively manage the population in a manner that reduces revocations and maximizes supervision success, while at the same time protecting public safety.

In recognition of these critical gaps in our knowledge and the need to fundamentally transform this country’s approach to probation, Arnold Ventures and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) have launched the Reducing Revocations Challenge. The Challenge will support action research in up to 10 jurisdictions around the country to explore in-depth the drivers of probation failure and use that information to identify new policy and practice solutions. Research will be carried out by Action Research Teams (ARTs) comprised of a research organization and a local probation agency, to be selected through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process. ISLG will serve as the intermediary for the initiative, overseeing the RFP process and providing technical assistance and support to grantees, including peer learning events that will culminate in a cross-site summit to share findings and discuss policy and practice implications. Promising policy and practice interventions proposed by ARTs may be eligible to receive funding in a potential second phase of the initiative.

Request for Proposals

Arnold Ventures and ISLG are currently seeking proposals from interested researcher-practitioner partners who will be eligible for awards of up to $200,000 each. Click here to view the RFP. An addendum to the RFP containing answers to submitted questions is available here.


  • A webinar was held on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. EST to answer questions related to the RFP. A recording from the webinar can be accessed here, and the slides can be accessed here.


  • The deadline to submit questions regarding RFP content to be addressed during the webinar is Thursday, May 30, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Any additional questions must be submitted by Friday, June 7, 2019. An addendum including responses to all questions will be posted on this website on Friday, June 10, 2019.
  • The deadline to submit proposals is Monday, June 24, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Proposals must be submitted through the ISLG application portal at


The deadline for submitting questions regarding RFP content has passed. Questions regarding technical difficulties may be submitted to