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NCJ Number: 200384 Find in a Library
Title: J' Accuse: Probation Evaluation-Research Epistemologies, Part One: The Critique
Journal: Criminal Justice  Volume:3  Issue:2  Dated:May 2003  Pages:161-179
Author(s): Stephen Farrall
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 19
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that the evaluation of probation is flawed at an epistemological level, requiring a major modification in how probation research is conducted.
Abstract: This critique of current practices for evaluating probation is not based on an examination of the worst evaluation practices but rather on the best that have thus far been conducted, i.e., studies that are widely cited as the indicators of the effectiveness of probation interventions. This critique focuses on seven specific areas of current research methodology that the author views as either seriously deficient or in need of a sustained re-examination. These areas are research design, data collection, and analysis; the conceptualization of outcomes; current data sources; self-reported data; factors that determine the effectiveness of probation supervision; descriptions of probation supervision; and the role of social and personal factors in probation outcomes. Some suggestions for a research agenda that will facilitate more reliable probation evaluations include collecting data from the probationers themselves as well as their supervising officers; the use of self-reported data on offending rather than conviction data; the consideration of probation outcomes as continuous variables as a measure of degrees of success; and more detailed descriptions of what probation officers actually do to help probationers address factors associated with their offending. Another suggestion is to collect data in such a way that the obstacles to probationers' success, their responses to them, the actions of their supervising officers, and the social contexts can be understood as a dynamic process. 9 notes and 60 references
Main Term(s): Corrections research
Index Term(s): Evaluation criteria; Evaluation measures; Probation effectiveness; Probation evaluation
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