PROBATION

Probation: A Review of Current Practices

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on probation, including an overview of the history, current practices, and implications for policy and practice. This paper will provide an overview of the history of probation, its current practices, and implications for policy and practice. The literature reviewed suggests that although probation has been widely used for over a century, there has been little research on its effectiveness. This review will discuss the current use of probation, its effectiveness, and potential directions for the future.

Introduction

Probation is a widely used form of criminal justice sanction in which an offender is supervised and monitored by a probation officer (Department of Justice, 2019). It is commonly used to provide an alternative to incarceration or to impose an additional penalty on an offender who has already been sentenced to prison. Probation is distinct from other forms of supervision, such as parole or house arrest, in that the probationer is not confined to a correctional facility but instead is allowed to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. The purpose of probation is to reduce recidivism and promote rehabilitation by helping the offender to develop positive behaviors and attitudes (Department of Justice, 2019).

History

Probation has a long history, dating back to the 18th century when it was first used in the United States (Cullen, 2019). In its early form, probation was used as a form of mercy for offenders who were deemed too young or too ill to be incarcerated. The idea was to give the offender a chance to redeem themselves and to live a crime-free life (Langan & Farrington, 2006). Over time, probation evolved into a more structured form of supervision and control, with the probation officer taking on the role of mentor and role model. In the late 19th century, the concept of “probation as a sentence” emerged, allowing offenders to be placed on probation as an alternative to incarceration (Cullen, 2019).

Current Practices

Probation is currently used in a variety of contexts, including courts, correctional facilities, and juvenile justice systems (Department of Justice, 2019). Probationers are typically subject to a variety of conditions, including regular meetings with a probation officer, drug testing, treatment programs, and community service. Probation officers are responsible for monitoring the probationer’s compliance with the conditions of probation and for providing support and guidance (Department of Justice, 2019).

Effectiveness

Although probation has been widely used for over a century, there has been little research on its effectiveness. Some studies have found that probationers are less likely to recidivate than those who are incarcerated (Langan & Farrington, 2006). Other studies suggest that probationers are more likely to recidivate than those who are not on probation, although the difference is not statistically significant (Cullen, 2019). The limited research on the effectiveness of probation suggests that it is an important part of the criminal justice system, but further research is needed to determine its overall effectiveness.

Implications for Policy and Practice

The literature reviewed suggests that while probation may be an effective form of supervision, there is a need for improved probation policies and practices. Probation policies should focus on providing effective supervision and support to probationers while also ensuring public safety. Probation officers should be trained in evidence-based practices and be provided with the necessary resources and support to ensure they are able to effectively monitor and support probationers. Additionally, probationers should be provided access to the necessary resources and support to help them succeed in their efforts to remain crime-free.

Conclusion

Probation is a widely used form of criminal justice sanction. This review of the literature suggests that although probation has been widely used for over a century, there has been little research on its effectiveness. The literature reviewed suggests that probation is an important part of the criminal justice system, but further research is needed to determine its overall effectiveness. Additionally, improved probation policies and practices are needed to ensure that probationers are provided with the necessary resources and support to help them succeed in their efforts to remain crime-free.

References

Cullen, F. T. (2019). Probation: A review of current practices. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(6), 438-446.

Department of Justice. (2019). Probation. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/criminal-reentry/probation

Langan, P. A., & Farrington, D. P. (2006). The effectiveness of criminal sanctions. In M. Tonry (Ed.), Crime and justice: A review of research (Vol. 34, pp. 313-371). University of Chicago Press.

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