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NCJ Number: 221439 Find in a Library
Title: Thacher, Augustus, and Hill--The Path to Statutory Probation in the United States and England
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:71  Issue:3  Dated:December 2007  Pages:36-41
Author(s): Charles Lindner
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 6
Document: HTML
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reviews the historic contributions to American and British probation of John Augustus, Matthew Davenport Hill, and Judge Peter Oxenbridge Thacher.
Abstract: John Augustus is considered by many to be the "father of probation," Champion (2002) notes that "Probation in the United States was conceived in 1841 by a successful cobbler and philanthropist, John Augustus ..." Silverman and Vega (1996) state that the work of Augustus "led to the statutory creation of probation services in Massachusetts." A number of writings, however, both in the United States and England, note the contribution of Matthew Davenport Hill to the development of probation. Hill, a lawyer in England, held the judicial post of recorder in Birmingham, England. Although his work did not as closely parallel modern-day probation as that of Augustus, it contributed to the development of the practice. Hill used one of the techniques that would become a component of today's probation, i.e., the supervision of the offender. After using the traditional 1 day of incarceration for convicted juvenile offenders, Hill required that persons be assigned to act as guardians for a young offender. Special court-appointed police officers would periodically call upon the guardians of the juvenile in order to monitor the youth's behavior. A record was generally kept of the guardian's report on the juvenile's behavior. Coincidentally, Augustus and Hill initiated their probation-like work in the same year. In addition to the contributions of Augustus and Hill to the emergence of the practice of probation, Judge Peter Oxenbridge Thacher preceded them in releasing many juvenile offenders on condition of good behavior rather than incarcerating them. Thacher used release on recognizance with great frequency in his years on the bench (1823-43) in the Municipal Court of Boston. 24 references
Main Term(s): History of corrections
Index Term(s): England; Judicial discretion; Juvenile sentencing; Massachusetts; Probation; United States of America
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