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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70623 Find in a Library
Title: Should Probation be Transformed or Abolished?
Journal: Criminologie  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:Special issue (1979)  Pages:89-100
Author(s): A Normandeau
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Canada
Annotation: With the demise of the rehabilitation and medical model dealing with offenders, the call for the end of institutions and of obligatory therapy, and with the cry for new approaches has come questioning of the value of probation.
Abstract: More and more studies have suggested that neither incarceration nor rehabilitation have cut down on recidivism. Researchers and policymakers call for fixed sentences and a system of fixed and standardized punishment. Critics suggest that probation itself is merely transferring rehabilitation attempts from one structure (prison) to another (probation), and that probation is merely treatment in an open setting. What policymakers are calling for are sanctions that are neither institutionalizing, nor requiring personnel that are too highly specialized, nor too complicated to implement. The probation service can respond to these criteria by adopting a new approach for probation offices on middle ground between their dual role of being agents of control and social workers. Officers should become negotiators of resourcees and work in teams. From this posititon they would be responsible for identifying the needs of their clients and connecting the clients with the appropriate community resource. The officers would stop fulfilling the role of counselor, budgetary advisor, emotional problem solver, and police-supervisor and could devote their energies to convincing probationers that certain social agencies can fulfill their needs. Officers would no longer have their own cases but would divide cases with other agents. Each agent would specialize in a particular area of resource referral, an act as a go-between for services in his area, the community, and his client. Probation agents will not take easily to such a role as it diminishes the personal aspects probation officers prize so highly and highlights instead a procedural and systematic process of interaction. Yet, to survive the criminal justice crisis of rehabilitation versus justice, probation officers must be prepared to change. --in French.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Canada; Correctional reform; Interagency cooperation; Probation or parole officers; Probation or parole services; Professional recognition; Work attitudes
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