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NCJRS Abstract

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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:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=78220

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