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How do you think the investigative and supervisory functions of probation can be most effectively organized? What would the judges in your area say about your proposal? What would the department of corrections say?Why is there so much interest in probation today? How does the use of probation affect the corrections system? Why is it used so extensively?Post in depth (3-4 paragraph) APA cited posts with in text/reference list (Quality is key)(APPLY THE BOOK AND AT LEAST ONE OUTSIDE SCHOLARLY SOURCE, CITING (IN TEXT AND REFERENCE LIST) AND PARAPHRASES AS WELL AS THE RESEARCH)Chapter 8 from the book is the uploaded filePlease make sure that what you write uses the critical thinkingprocess. Make sure what is written doesn’t just address peripheral issues butuses analysis and creative thought. Don’t just recite facts/textual informationbut be sure to also address the issues being questioned with analysis and creative thought. Make sure what iswritten is articulate/understandable and free from errors in grammar,punctuation and/or usage.
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Chapter 8
Clear, Todd R.; Reisig, Michael D.; Cole, George F.. American Corrections. Cengage
Learning. Kindle Edition.
something is happening to America’s probation system. After years—decades,
really—of neglect and irrelevance, probation is suddenly brimming with new ideas.
It seems that in every corner of the country, some new model of probation is being
advanced: HOPE Probation in Honolulu, Opportunity Probation in New York City,
C.A.R.E. Probation of the American Probation and Parole Association, Public Safety
Realignment in California, RECLAIM Ohio Probation in Ohio—just to name a few.
(See the Focus boxes throughout this chapter.) What is going on? For one thing,
people are realizing that a lot of money is wasted putting people behind bars.
Reacting to the $189 million that Ohio spends locking up people with an average
sentence of nine months, Maureen O’Connor, Ohio’s Chief Justice, said, “They
actually turn out worse. The result is negative, not positive…. Let’s plug in the right
people to the right programs, instead of a one-size-fits-all… approach.” And
probation is the key.1 Ohio is not alone. Everyone seems to be taking a new look at
probation as the states try to deal with declining revenues and support correctional
systems that have been growing in costs for more than 30 years.2 The stakes are
high. One economic policy think tank estimated that up to $15 billion could be saved
by using probation more often for people convicted of nonviolent crimes.3 But is
probation up to the task? Most people would say that probation needs to change.
Although few citizens or political leaders give it much respect, it is by far the most
extensively used form of corrections in the United States. Over half of all adults
under correctional authority are serving probated sentences. In 2012 this included
more than 3.9 million people, or nearly three times the number of adults in
prisons.4 Escalating prison growth has captured the public’s attention, but since
1985 the U.S. probation population has actually grown at a faster rate than the
incarcerated population. Despite the wide use of probation, media critics tend to
give it short shrift, often portraying it as a “slap on the wrist.” This notion is so
widespread that a well-known scholarly work on correctional policy once referred
to probation as “a kind of standing joke.”5 These views sharply contrast with official
policies. For example, during the past decade alone the government devoted over a
quarter of a billion dollars in federal funds to improve and expand probation, and
supervision in the community is becoming the sanction for more and more
offenders. Further, advocates of intermediate sanctions point to probation as the
base on which to build greater punishments. What is really true about probation?
How effective is it? How important is it today? In this chapter we describe the
function of probation in corrections and review numerous studies of probation
supervision and court services. Although in today’s correctional environment
probation is increasingly coupled with a variety of intermediate sanctions, in this
chapter we consider traditional probation services. (Intermediate sanctions are
covered in Chapter 9.) Our review will demonstrate that, as in most other areas of
corrections, probation agencies work amid social and political ambivalence about
punishment. This ambivalence, together with uncertainty about treatment methods,
leaves probation in a quandary: We ordinarily rely heavily on it in sentencing
offenders, but we show limited confidence in its corrective capacities. The History
and Development of Probation Probation is the idea that in lieu of imprisonment,
the offender is allowed to live in the community under supervision and must
demonstrate a willingness to abide by its laws. In this country probation began with
the innovative work of John Augustus, who was the first to provide bail for
defendants under authority of the Boston Police Court, in 1841. However, the roots
of probation lie in earlier attempts, primarily in England, to mitigate the harshness
of the criminal law. Benefit of Clergy From the 1200s until the practice was
abolished in 1827, people accused of serious offenses in England could appeal to the
judge for leniency by reading in court the text of Psalm 51. The original purpose of
this benefit of clergy was to protect people under church authority, such as monks
and nuns, from the power of the king’s law. Because this benefit was gradually
extended to protect ordinary citizens from capital punishment, Psalm 51 came to be
known as the “neck verse.” The requirement that the person be able to read favored
the upper social classes. Eventually, common thugs memorized the verse so they
could pretend to read it before the court and thus avail themselves of its protection;
judges then became more arbitrary in granting the benefit. In the United States,
benefit of clergy was criticized because of its unequal application and baffling legal
character—charges often directed at probation today. Judicial Reprieve Judges
have long understood the need to grant leniency to some offenders, and they
regularly seek ways to deflect the full punitive force of the law. In nineteenthcentury England, judicial reprieve became widespread. If an offender requested it,
the judge could suspend either the imposition or execution of a sentence for a
specified length of time on condition of good behavior by the offender. At the end of
that time, the offender could apply to the Crown for a pardon. In the United States,
judicial reprieve took a different form and led to a series of legal controversies.
Rather than limiting the duration of the reprieve, many judges suspended
imposition of punishment as long as the offender’s behavior remained satisfactory.
The idea was that the reprieved offender who remained crime-free need not fear the
power of the court; however, the offender who committed another crime was
subject to punishment for both crimes. In 1916 the U.S. Supreme Court declared the
discretionary use of such indefinite reprieves unconstitutional.6 The Court
recognized the occasional need to suspend a sentence temporarily because of
appeals and other circumstances, but it found that indefinite suspension impinged
on the powers of the legislative and executive branches to write and enforce laws.
With this decision, the practices of probation became subject to the provisions of the
states’ penal codes. Recognizance In a search for alternative means to exercise
leniency in sentencing, nineteenth-century judges began to experiment with
extralegal forms of release. Much of this innovation occurred among the
Massachusetts judiciary, whose influence on modern probation was enormous. One
of the trailblazers was Boston Municipal Court Judge Peter Oxenbridge Thatcher, the
originator of the practice of recognizance. In 1830 Thatcher sentenced Jerusha
Chase “upon her own recognizance for her appearance in this court whenever she
was called for.” 7 In 1837 Massachusetts made recognizance with monetary sureties
into law. What made this important was the implied supervision of the court—the
fact that the whereabouts and actions of the offender were subject to court
involvement. Both reprieve and recognizance aimed at humanizing the criminal law
and mitigating its harshness. The practices foreshadowed the move toward
individualized punishment that would dominate corrections a century later. The
major justifications for probation—flexibility in sentencing and individualized
punishment—already had strong support. Yet an institutionalized way of
performing recognizance functions was still needed. As the first probation officer,
John Augustus was the first to formalize court leniency. Because his philanthropic
activities made Augustus a frequent observer in the Boston Police Court, the judge
deferred sentencing a man charged with being a common drunkard and released
him into Augustus’s custody. At the end of a three-week probationary period, the
man convinced the judge that he had reformed, therefore receiving a nominal fine.
Besides being the first to use the term probation, Augustus developed the ideas of
the presentence investigation, supervision conditions, social casework, reports to
the court, and revocation of probation. He screened his cases “to ascertain whether
the prisoners were promising subjects for probation, and to this end it was
necessary to take into consideration the previous character of the person, his age,
and the influences by which he would in future be likely to be surrounded.”8
Augustus’s methods were analogous to casework strategies: He gained offenders’
confidence and friendship, and by helping them get a job or aiding their families in
various ways, he helped them reform. The Modernization of Probation Probation
eventually extended to every state and federal jurisdiction. As it developed, the field
underwent a curious split. Augustus and his followers had contributed a
humanitarian orientation that focused on reformation. In contrast, the new
probation officers were drawn largely from the law enforcement community—
retired sheriffs and policemen—who had their own orientation. The strain between
the so-called law enforcer role of probation, which emphasizes surveillance of the
offender and close controls on behavior, and the social worker role, which
emphasizes provision of supportive services to meet offenders’ needs, continues
today—with no resolution in sight. Advocates of the law enforcement model argue
that conditions for community control must be realistic, individualized, and
enforceable. Proponents of the social work model believe that supervision must
include treatment to help the offender become a worthwhile citizen. Each view has
dominated at one time or another in the past half-century. In the 1940s, leaders in
probation and other correctional branches began to embrace ideas from psychology
about personality and human development. Probation began to emphasize a
medical model, with rehabilitation as its overriding goal. This new focus moved
probation work—or at least its rhetoric—to a more professional approach.
Although only a very small number of probation departments fully implemented
this approach, the ideas underlying it dominated the professional literature. The
medical model remained influential through the 1960s, when the reintegration
model came to the fore. This model assumed that crime is a product of poverty,
racism, unemployment, unequal opportunities, and other social factors. Probation
was seen as central because it was the primary existing means of working with the
offender in the problem’s context—the offender’s community. Methods of probation
began to change from direct service (by psychological counseling) to service
brokerage: After being assessed, clients were put in touch with appropriate
community service agencies. Government studies heralded the reintegrative
approach, and federal funds were shifted to community-based correctional agencies
(discussed in Chapter 9), including probation agencies. In the latter part of the
1970s, thinking about probation changed again in a way that continues to this day.
The goals of rehabilitation and reintegration have given way to an orientation
widely referred to as risk management. The goal here is to minimize the probability
that an offender will commit a new offense, especially by applying tight controls
over the probationer’s activities and maintaining careful surveillance. Risk
management combines values of the just deserts model of the criminal sanction with
the idea that the community deserves protection. Today, offenders are placed on
probation in one of four ways. Most commonly, judges impose a sentence of
probation directly (60 percent of offenders on probation). Sometimes the judge
imposes a sentence of probation that is suspended pending good behavior (22
percent). For still other offenders who are already on probation, an additional
sentence is imposed, but its activation is suspended (9 percent). Finally, the court
may require that some period of incarceration be served prior to probation; this is
called a “split sentence” (9 percent). This last option was quite popular in the 1990s,
but its use has waned in the last few years. This may be because many probationers
face jail while awaiting trial or because prison space is limited. In addition, judges
may use other sentencing arrangements, including the following:
1. Modification of sentence: The original sentencing court reconsiders an offender’s
prison sentence within a limited time frame and modifies it to probation.
2. Shock incarceration: An offender sentenced to incarceration is released after a
period of confinement (the shock) and resentenced to probation.
3. Intermittent incarceration: An offender on probation spends weekends or nights
in a local jail.
Who gets probation? In the past it was thought that probation should be reserved
for firsttime offenders who have committed lesser crimes. This has changed over
time so that today 53 percent of probationers have been convicted of a felony, and
about one-fifth are convicted of a violent crime.9 The characteristics of probationers
are shown in Figure 8.1. (See also “Myths in Corrections.”) Clearly, probation
practices reflect the social forces of the time. For instance, the emphasis on
psychiatric social work flowed naturally from the idea of corrections as reformative,
a vision held by religious and social reformers of the day. Further, the reintegration
movement represented a shift from imprisonment toward services such as job
training and education. This was consistent with President Lyndon Johnson’s vision
of the Great Society, which would create equal opportunities for all citizens and
would eliminate discrimination, poverty, and injustice. When the Great Society
failed to materialize, attention turned to the responsibility of society to protect its
citizens from crime. Thus, the recent emphasis on risk management sprang from
widespread public demands that the justice system be streamlined and that it focus
on reducing crime. Many see combining probation with periods of incarceration as a
way to make probation “tougher” and more effective at reducing crime. Today, there
has been a growing interest in probation’s role as a part of community justice, a
philosophy that emphasizes reparation to the victim and the community, problem-
solving strategies instead of adversarial procedures, and increased citizen
involvement in crime prevention. By breaking away from traditional bureaucratic
practices, community justice advocates hope to develop a more flexible and
responsive form of local justice initiatives—and many see probation as leading the
way.
The Organization of Probation Today Originating in court, the first probation
agencies were units of the judicial branches of city and county governments,
primarily in the eastern United States. The first full-time federal probation officer
was appointed in 1927. “Careers in Corrections” offers a view of work as a federal
probation officer (compare this with the Careers feature on state and county
probation officers later in the chapter). As the idea of probation caught on and
moved westward, variations in its organization were attempted. Probation has been
placed in the executive branch, it has been subjected to statewide unification, and it
has been consolidated with parole. Figure 8.2 shows the seven jurisdictional
patterns of probation organization nationwide, including the differing arrangements
for adult and juvenile probation. The organization of probation involves three issues
concerning whether it should be (1) centralized or decentralized, (2) administered
by the judiciary or the executive branch, and (3) combined with parole services or
not. Should Probation Be Centralized or Decentralized? The centralization issue
concerns the location of the authority that administers probation services.
Proponents of decentralization argue that an agency administered by a city or
county instead of a state is smaller, more flexible, and better able to respond to the
unique problems of the community. Because decentralized probation draws its
support from the community and the local government, it can offer moreappropriate supervision for its clients and make better use of existing community
resources than centralized probation can. In contrast, centralization places
authority for a state’s probation activities in a single statewide administrative body.
Proponents of this approach assert that local probation has tended to follow
outdated practices and to lack professionalism. State agencies, they argue, are
larger, can train staff to take a variety of roles, and can implement broader programs
with greater equality in supervision and services. (For information on how
California’s state legislature has treated probation, see “California Public Safety
Realignment.”) Who Should Administer Probation? Though the recent trend has
been away from judicially administered probation, many observers (especially
those who seek greater accountability in probation) believe that the probation
function rightfully belongs under the judiciary. The usual claim is that under judicial
administration, probation is more responsive to the desires of the sentencing judge,
who is more likely to scrutinize supervision when it is performed by judicial
employees. Also, the morale of probation officers who work closely with judges may
be higher than that of other probation officers. Proponents of placing probation
under the executive branch argue that the judiciary is ill prepared to manage a
human services operation. To coordinate and upgrade the quality of a human
services operation such as probation requires the full attention of professional
public administrators. It is argued that placing probation under the executive
branch results in better allocation of probation services, increased interaction and
administrative coordination between corrections and allied human services,
increased access to the legislature and the budgeting process, and more-appropriate
service priorities.
Should Probation Be Combined with Parole? Probation and parole both supervise
offenders who are serving portions of their sentences in the community. Indeed, the
growth in the use of split sentences and shock probation means that probation often
begins after a jail or even prison term—just as with parole. Because of these
similarities, many states have placed probation and parole functions under a single
agency, which promotes more-efficient hiring and training practices. Arguably, such
comprehensive approaches also promote the professionalization of community
supervision officers. However, some experts suggest that subtle but important
distinctions between probationers and parolees are hard to sustain in a unified
system. Probationers are usually less deeply involved in criminal lifestyles, while
parolees face serious problems in reentering the community after longer
incarceration (see Chapter 16). These differences call for different handling, which
some people believe can best be done by separate agencies. No solution to the
problem of how to organize probation is at hand. Rather than searching for a single
“best” way to organize probation, considering how it will work in a given state or
region may be more fruitful. For example, in jurisdictions with a tradition of strong
local government, decentralized probation under the executive branch may be best,
whereas states with a strong central bureaucracy or strong judiciary may choose to
place probation there. Figure 8.3 shows that states vary dramatically in their use of
probation. Further, no clear pattern has appeared in the relationship between the
way probation is organized and how frequently it i …
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