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NCJ Number: 228809 Find in a Library
Title: Discretionary Decision Making by Probation and Parole Officers: The Role of Extralegal Variables as Predictors of Responses to Technical Violations
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:25  Issue:4  Dated:November 2009  Pages:424-441
Author(s): John J. Kerbs; Mark Jones
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using data collected in a national self-report survey of 332 probation and parole officers (PPOs), this study examined extralegal predictors of discretionary decisions made by PPOs when their clients committed technical violations.
Abstract: The study found that the PPOs’ discretionary decisions about whether to submit a client’s technical violation (e.g., a curfew violation or missing a meeting with his/her PPO) were predominantly influenced by organizational characteristics that were beyond the PPOs’ daily control. Of the 56 organizational factors examined, 16.1 percent were significantly associated with PPOs’ decisions to submit technical violations to a formal hearing. This compared with 7.1 percent of PPOs’ sociodemographic variables and 11.4 percent of the PPOs’ occupational variables being significantly associated with the discretionary decision to submit clients’ technical violations to a formal hearing. Although no one organizational variable was associated with every type of technical violation examined in seven models, each violation was associated with at least one or more organizational factors. Findings suggest that increasing the number of officers in an agency (a proxy variable for levels organizational bureaucracy) decreased PPO support for formal hearings for offenders who missed meetings, failed to complete required community service, and/or failed to pass drug screens. This may suggest that larger court systems and PPO agencies have more in-house options for alternative ways of dealing with minor technical violations. Study data were derived from a survey of members from the American Probation and Parole Association who served as line officers and middle managers responsible for supervising adult offenders under pretrial release, probation, parole, or postrelease supervision. Independent variables pertained to PPO sociodemographic, occupational, and organizational characteristics. Dependent variables pertained to officer discretionary responses to specific offender technical violations, i.e., verbal/written reprimands, other administrative sanctions, or an arrest warrant or formal hearing for formal sanctions. 2 tables and 52 references
Main Term(s): Community-based corrections (adult)
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; Parole violations; Probation casework; Probation or parole decisionmaking; Probation violations
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