What Is Intensive Supervision Probation?

An individual who commits a crime may be sentenced to prison or granted a term of probation by the courts. In certain cases, a defendant may be placed on intensive supervision probation, also called intensive probation supervision (IPS). IPS is a highly structured program, similar to home arrest, and the defendant must comply with strict terms of probation. Standard probation has a more lenient reporting schedule, usually monthly, and defendants are not required to stay at home. This intensive probation supervision is also available for juveniles.


According to the Cook County, Illinois Court website, intensive probation supervision was established there in 1984 as a prison diversion program for high-risk or some violent offenders.


Eligibility requirements differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, there is a limit to the prior history of violence an offender may have in his record. Defendants must live within the county and be willing to abide by the terms of IPS. Prior to sentencing, a persistent writer will obtain a full social and criminal history. In some counties, there are special screeners who will discuss the level of the case based on determining factors to assess the defendant's risk level. Generally, offenders who have committed prior felonies or who have previously been on probation or parole are candidates for IPS. Some offenders who are initially placed on standard probation need closer monitoring, so they may be placed on intensive probation if they violate standard probation.

Read More: Rules & Conditions of Supervised Probation


Most jurisdictions allow the defendant to transition through three phases. The total time period ranges from nine to 24 months, depending on the compliance of the defendant and on the jurisdiction. The probation officer works with a partner, usually a surveillance officer, to check on the defendant at all hours of the day and night. During Level I, also known as Phase I, defendants are seen a minimum of four times weekly, in the field, at home and in the office. Each phase lasts a minimum of three to four months, and when the defendant completes Phase III, he is ready to transition to standard probation.


Standard terms of probation such as obey all laws, report to the probation officer as directed, and pay court fees as ordered apply to defendants on IPS as well. Additional terms include: abide by all curfew restrictions, do not leave home without the permission of the probation officer, and complete weekly community service hours as ordered. Some jurisdictions require that the defendant turn her paycheck over to the probation officer so that all court fees can be deducted. The remaining paycheck is then returned to the defendant.


According to the website run by the Supreme Court for the State of Arizona, juveniles convicted of a second felony or who would otherwise be sentenced to prison are appropriate for juvenile intensive probation supervision. Much like adults, juvenile offenders must also abide by the following terms: attend school or work, complete community service hours, complete treatment, pay court fees, remain at home except as directed by the probation officer, submit to alcohol and drug testing as court ordered and complete goals and expectations determined by the court.

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