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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51620 Find in a Library
Title: SOME RANDOM REFLECTIONS ON THE OCCASION OF A BARELY NOTICED ANNIVERSARY
Journal: CRIME AND DELINQUENCY  Volume:24  Issue:4  Dated:(OCTOBER 1978)  Pages:453457
Author(s): P W KEVE
Corporate Author: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Newark, NJ 07102
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: COMMENTS ON THE PAST AND FUTURE OF PROBATION ARE PRESENTED IN COMMEMORATION OF THE CENTENARY OF THE FIRST LAW DEFINING 'PROBATION OFFICER' AND AUTHORIZING THE HIRING OF PROBATION OFFICERS AT PUBLIC EXPENSE.
Abstract: THAT LAW WAS PASSED IN MASSACHUSETTS, WHERE JOHN AUGUSTUS, A BOSTON SHOEMAKER, HAD SHOWN WHAT A DEDICATED PERSON COULD DO (IN HIS CASE ON A VOLUNTEER, UNAUTHORIZED BASIS) TO HELP PEOPLE BROUGHT BEFORE THE COURTS. THE FIRST PROBATION LAW WAS MORE LIBERAL THAN MANY THAT CAME LATER. PROBATION COULD BE GRANTED TO ANY OFFENDER, REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER OR SERIOUSNESS OF OFFENSES, THE OFFENDER'S AGE, OR ANY OTHER FACTOR. LEGISLATURES NO LONGER ARE WILLING TO GIVE THE COURTS UNFETTERED DISCRETION IN GRANTING PROBATION, PERHAPS REFECTING DISILLUSIONMENT WITH PROBATION AS IT HAS BEEN PRACTICED--PROVIDING INEFFECTIVE SUPERVISION BECAUSE OF ABSURDLY HIGH CASELOADS. IN ITS FIRST CENTURY, PROBATION ESTABLISHED ITSELF AS AN INDISPENSABLE MEANS OF SOCIAL CONTROL. IT IS NECESSARY TO CHANGE AND REFINE THAT MEANS TO MEET THE CHALLENGES AND CHANGING PRESSURES IN CORRECTIONS. ONE PRESSURE IS THE GROWTH IN PRISON POPULATIONS. PROBATION HAS ALWAYS SERVED AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO IMPRISONMENT. IN THE COMING YEARS, EVEN GREATER PERCENTAGES OF OFFENDERS MUST BE DIVERTED FROM INSTITUTIONS. TO HANDLE GROWING CASELOADS, PROBATION MUST DEVELOP MORE SOPHISTICATED MEANS OF CLASSIFYING CASES. IN CASES IN WHICH STRAIGHTFORWARD SURVEILLANCE IS THE ONLY REALISTIC APPROACH, THAT APPROACH SHOULD BE TAKEN. IN OTHER CASES, WHEN REAL CORRECTIONAL HELP IS CALLED FOR, A VARIETY OF TECHNIQUES (RESTITUTION, COMMUNITY SERVICE, ETC.) SHOULD BE AVAILABLE. THESE TECHNIQUES NEED TO BE DEVELOPED AND STRENGTHENED. THE IDEA OF THE PROBATION OFFICER AS A SERVICE BROKER ALSO HOLDS PROMISE. CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION ARE REQUIRED IF PROBATION IS TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF ITS SECOND CENTURY. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Probation
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51620

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