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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 34305 Find in a Library
Title: HOW STRUCTURAL VARIABLES CONSTRAIN THE PAROLE OFFICER'S USE OF DISCRETIONARY POWERS
Journal: SOCIAL PROBLEMS  Volume:23  Issue:2  Dated:(DECEMBER 1975)  Pages:209-225
Author(s): R MCCLEARY
Corporate Author: Soc for the Study of Social Problems
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Soc for the Study of Social Problems
Buffalo, NY 14122
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: STUDY TO SHOW THAT VARIANCES IN THE DISCRETIONARY BEHAVIOR OF PAROLE OFFICERS PREVIOUSLY ATTRIBUTED TO INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY AND PHILOSOPHY DIFFERENCES MAY ACTUALLY RESULT FROM STRUCTURALLY CONSTRAINED BEHAVIOR.
Abstract: PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION AND INTERVIEW METHODS WERE USED TO STUDY PAROLE OFFICERS (POS) EMPLOYED BY THE COOK COUNTY (CHICAGO) ADULT FIELD SERVICES BRANCH OF THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. THE DATA SHOW THAT CASE DECISIONS ARE OFTEN DETERMINED BY ORGANIZATIONAL DEMANDS NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO THE REHABILITATION OF PAROLEES OR TO THE PROTECTION OF SOCIETY. THE SITUATION, AS DEFINED BY THE ORGANIZATION, THE PO'S OWN PERCEPTION OF A PAROLEE, AND THE PO'S PROFESSIONAL REPUTATION ALL DETERMINE THE DEGREE OF FREEDOM A PO WILL HAVE IN MAKING A CASE DECISION. SITUATIONS AND PERCEPTIONS ARE RELATIVELY CONSTANT BUT REPUTATIONS CAN AND DO CHANGE. POS MAXIMIZE THEIR FREEDOM WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION BY MANIPULATING THEIR REPUTATIONS. THIS STRUCTURAL DYNAMIC HAS DEFINITE SHORT-TERM BENEFITS FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND FOR SOME POS. ITS LONG-RANGE EFFECT IS TO CORRUPT THE GOALS OF THE ORGANIZATION, HOWEVER. THIS FINDING RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CONSTRUCT VALIDITY OF PAROLE OUTCOME STUDIES. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT)
Index Term(s): Illinois; Parole; Probation or parole decisionmaking; Probation or parole officers
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