skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 78220 Find in a Library
Title: Probation Assistants and Labeling - Results of an Exploratory Study of Social Control in Interaction With Probationers/Parolees
Journal: Bewaehrungshilfe  Volume:27  Issue:3  Dated:(1980)  Pages:261-278
Author(s): R Bieker
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: The nature of interaction between probation assistants and probationers is analyzed to determine whether probation assistants perpetuate their clients' already assigned status as delinquents.
Abstract: Study material consists of 38 tape recordings of conversations conducted by 10 probation assistants with their clients during a 1-week period in a West German city. As the sample is not representative, generalizations can only be made with great caution. The texts of these conversations facilitate examination of the course of the interaction between probation assistants and clients on suspected new offenses committed by probationers, on past criminal offenses, on probationers' failure to live up to certain behavioral expectations relating to work and contacts, on the attitude of probation assistants about the continuing ability of probationers to remain within the bounds of the law, and on strategies of the probation officers against the penalties proposed by the justice system. Results indicate that in interactive situations probation assistants do not resort to placing blame, stigmatizing, threatening punishment, and predicting negative legal consequences. In general, probation assistants promise to go to great ends to keep their clients from having their probation revoked. Thus, probation assistants' behavior in their immediate interaction with clients does not support a theory of negative labeling. In fact, the findings reveal a number of constructive strategies by probation assistants designed to avoid social marginalization of probationers. The validity of these results must be verified in further research, including a comparison of observed probation assistant-client interaction with strategies and statements of probation assistants in official court documents. A table, notes, and a 16-item bibliography are provided.
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Evaluation; Germany; Labeling theory; Probation; Probation or parole officers; Probationers
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.