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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77515 Find in a Library
Title: Volunteers in Correction - The South Australian Experience
Journal: Australian Crime Prevention Council Forum  Volume:2  Issue:6  Dated:(1979)  Pages:31-36
Author(s): R M Durant; M T McCarthy
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article describes the development of the volunteer scheme in the South Australian Department of Correctional Services from preliminary planning to the present model.
Abstract: A serious discussion on volunteerism in the probation and parole branch took place in the latter part of 1973. In mid-1974, a seminar on volunteers was held, in which all probation and parole officers participated, to provide a more accurate test of feelings towards introducing the concept. Most officers agreed that coordination of any scheme would be a function of the senior probation and parole officers and that volunteers would not reduce the workload but might improve the service to agency clients. Subsequently, a discussion paper was developed, reviewed, and acted upon. The initial model, which evolved by July 1975, was to use volunteers to develop relationships with probationers and parolees, with the overall authority remaining with the statutory officer. Volunteer recruitment was conducted by word of mouth from initial volunteers and from probation and parole officers to interested individuals. The problem of training was faced, and an orientation and preparation program was devised. A basic training manual for volunteers was produced. Today, the majority of volunteers are used in one-to-one situations with probationers, parolees, and families. They are generally used to fulfill a specific goal, based on offenders' and volunteers' skills. The duration of contact is flexible; it may involve befriending clients on either a long- or short-term basis, counseling, training in a particular area, or assisting in finding accommodations or employment. Responsibility for the volunteers is delegated to senior officers. The coordinator in the district office acts as a resource person for such matters as interoffice referrals for a volunteer with particular skills and training new volunteers. Men and women are equally represented in the volunteer program, and the majority are middle aged. A volunteer scheme provides a chance for citizen participation in the corrections area, which in turn educates an increasing proportion of the community to the goals and programs of corrections. Problems have stemmed from the fact that probation officers are encouraged rather than required to involve volunteers in appropriate cases. The article includes 3 tables and 13 notes.
Index Term(s): Australia; Probation or parole services; Volunteer programs; Volunteer training; Volunteers
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