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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97868 Find in a Library
Title: Professionals or Judicial Civil Servants? An Examination of the Probation Officer's Role
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:48  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1984)  Pages:14-21
Author(s): R Lawrence
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The perceived roles and functions of 139 probation officers employed by adult probation departments in a Southwestern State were assessed utilizing a self-administered anonymous questionnaire.
Abstract: The questionnaire contains scales to assess professional identification, attitudes toward presentence investigations (PSI), role conflict, and working relationships. While a majority of subjects showed a generally high degree of professional identification with their field, 50.4 percent believed they were not given equal professional status with attorneys and were not seen as professionals by attorneys and judges. Many officers did not conduct PSI, thus, the large percentage of uncertain responses should be interpreted as nonapplicable. Many question the objectivity, impartiality, and value of the PSI reports in the sentencing decision. Some degree of job dissatisfaction or role conflict was indicated regarding excessive caseloads and paper work. That most probation officers appeared to accept their role as in support of the court rather than as advocates of their clients suggest greater emphasis is placed on control than on rehabilitative functions. A high proportion entered the field with greater expectations of pursuing rehabilitation and change goals than they now have. Most officers enjoyed quite positive working relations with their administrators, supervisors, and judicial personnel. Findings are discussed with reference to A. Blumberg's (1979) assessment of the probation officer's role and function and implications for increased professionalism and autonomy in the field. Percentage responses to items in the 4 scales are provided in tables, and 28 references are given.
Index Term(s): Criminal justice research; Employer-employee relations; Presentence investigations; Probation officer attitudes; Professional recognition; Professionalization; Role conflict; Role perception; Surveys; Work attitudes
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