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 have three papers-in-progress, listed below. Please email for a copy of any of these working papers:


Piehowski, Victoria and Michelle S. Phelps. “Strong-arm Sobriety as Coercive Care: Addressing Precarity through Probation.”

Phelps, Michelle S., Ingie Osman, Chris E. Robertson, and Rebecca Shlafer. “A Chance to ‘Take Care of Myself” or Stressful Burden? The Impacts of Probation on Adults’ Health.”

Shlafer, Rebecca, J’Mag Karbeah,GS Alyssa Scott,GS and Michelle Phelps. “Parents on Probation: A Family Perspective on Custody and Caregiving of Minor Children During Supervision.” Paper In Progress.

Graduate Research Collaborators + Research Assistants (Past + Present)

Ph.D. Candidate, Public Health

Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology

M.P.H. Student

Ph.D. Student, Sociology

Ph.D. Student, Sociology

M.P.H. Student


UMN Law Student

Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology

Undergraduate Research Assistants (Past)

Olufemi Akindumila

Anna Stalsberg

Rodrigo Tojo Garcia

Lizeth Diaz Rodriguez


Hannah Hagen

James Rashid

Faith Adewunmi

Sara McClendon

Noura Abukhadra