Mass Probation in the U.S. 

Understanding Supervision’s Impact on Wellbeing

Interviewer team in summer 2019 above. Transcription and analysis team in fall 2020 below.

Together with colleagues across the University and in Hennepin County, I'm currently working on a University of Minnesota's Grand Challenges Initiative funded project on the intersection of probation and health. The over-arching Mass Probation and Health Project includes collecting and analyzing criminal justice and health and human services data for all adults on probation in two cohorts (2014 and 2016) and interviews with adults on probation, probation officers, and health care providers.

Our research team interviewed 170 adults on probation in 2019 to better document and understand the experiences and backgrounds of people under this form of criminal justice supervision. The interview guide combines structured survey questions with open-ended responses that ask about participants lives--including health and healthcare access, experiences with supervision, family relationships, employment, and housing. 

In June 2021, we released the project report for this data collection effort: Mass Probation and Health: Supporting the Wellbeing of Adults on Probation.

We also have three academic papers from this project:

Phelps, Michelle S., Ingie Osman, Chris E. Robertson, and Rebecca Shlafer. 2022. “Beyond ‘Pains’ and ‘Gains’: Untangling the Health Consequences of Probation.” Health & Justice 10, Article number 29. 

Piehowski, Victoria and Michelle S. Phelps. 2023. “Strong-arm Sobriety: Addressing Precarity through Probation.” Law & Social Inquiry 48(2): 489-516. 

Shlafer, Rebecca J., Michelle S. Phelps,  J’Mag Karbeah, and Alyssa Scott. 2023. “Parents on Probation: Custody, Co-residence, and Care of Minor Children During Community Supervision.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation OnlineFirst (Aug. 24, 2023).

Please email for a copy of working papers and/or paywalled articles.