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Role of Probation

Articles and resources on the role of probation in light of restorative principles and values.

East Lancs probation officer shortlisted for national award
from the article in the Lancashire Telegraph: A probation officer who helped the father of a peacemaker killed with a single punch meet his killer has been shortlisted for a national award. Geraldine Martin was a finalist in the national Probation Award’s Victim Services category for her work with the family of Padiham Ladies' football coach, Adam Rogers from Blackburn.
New Staffordshire crime-fighting partnership praised by Justice Secretary
from the article by Sonya Britton iin This Is Staffordshire On a visit to Staffordshire's new integrated crime-fighting hub, Justice Secretary Lord McNally met former offenders, victims of crime, and staff from police, probation and drug treatment agencies. And Lord McNally was impressed at the joint working shown by the 180° Integrated Offender Management partnership, which aims to help tackle the most challenging and prolific offenders in Staffordshire in an integrated way.
Wright, Martin. 2000. Restorative justice and Mediation. Paper presented at the conference "Probation Methods in Criminal Policy: Current State and Perspectives" at Popowo, Poland, 20-21 October.
From the early 1980s, victim/offender mediation introduced in a few places, by local probation services or by voluntary organizations. (The first Victim/Offender Reconciliation Programme, in Canada, was started by a probation officer.) In 1998, ACOP and Mediation UK issued a joint statement on Victim/offender mediation, agreeing principles and standards. (excerpt)
Strehorn, Molly Ryan. Restorative Probation in Franklin County, Massachusetts: A Qualitative Evaluation
In Franklin County, MA, Restorative Probation, which began in 1996 serving residents of the county through the courts, is a partnership program under the Reinventing Justice Project. Restorative Probation is an alternative rehabilitation program in which offenders meet with a group of community volunteers, the victim, and anyone else impacted by the crime. Restorative justice is used around the world to heal the relationships damaged by crime. With the main goal of restorative work to heal relationships damaged by crime, it is extremely difficult to measure its outcomes through evaluation. Since its inception in 1996, Restorative Probation has not had a formal assessment. This qualitative evaluation of Restorative Probation concentrates on the impact that the program has on offenders. A survey was utilized which concentrated on the probationers who successfully completed the program in the past 4 years. The evaluation indicates that the program is making great strides in the process of healing the relationships damaged by crime. The key values provide a solid framework for programs such as Restorative Probation to offer holistic approaches to community justice. The implementation of the Reinventing Justice project in Franklin County shows strong community activism and willingness on the part of the civic leaders to try new methods. Recommendations were presented on ways to improve Restorative Probation. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.
Whitehead, John T and Braswell, Michael C. The Future of Probation: Reintroducing the Spiritual Dimension into Correctional Practice.
This paper outlines several models of probation for the future: rehabilitation, law-enforcement, 'broken windows', new penology, public safety, intermediate sanction, restorative justice, balanced approach, and spiritual. Positive and negative aspects of each model are examined. Abolition and privatization are also discussed. The authors conclude that restorative justice and the spiritual model are the most promising models for the future of probation. Ways to incorporate a concern for spirituality into probation practice are noted. Author's abstract.
Clear, Todd R. Places not Cases?: Re-thinking the Probation Focus.
John Augustus, the ‘first probation officer’, carried a caseload assigned by the court. And ever since, this way of organising the probation officer’s accountability has dominated the profession. To be sure, there are plenty of probation officers who do not carry caseloads, but probation officers who ‘work the line’ do so around an assignment of specific cases. This tradition has considerable implications for the professional identity of the probation officer and the day-to-day work-styles the job generates. Recently, however, a growing movement of innovation has arisen in probation work which takes probation’s focus away from the caseload: partnerships, restorative justice, community crime prevention, and so forth. Research repeatedly shows us that probationers’ residences are concentrated in certain locations – typically certain more-or-less well identified neighbourhoods. This fact suggest that an alternative way of organising line work of probation officers would be by place rather than case. This article explores the rationale for such a shift in probation officer work, and it speculates about the benefits that might accrue to the profession from taking such a step. Potential problems are also identified. (author's abstract)
Duff, R. A.. Probation, Punishment and Restorative Justice: Should Altruism be Engaged in Punishment?
This article presents a new conception of punishment, claiming that probation should be justified and administered as a punishment, something imposed on or required of offenders with the intent to be burdensome or uncomfortable.Today, probation is officially and formally recognized in England as a punishment, counting as a sentence. There are many that resist the idea of probation as punishment and believe that in order for probation to retain its value and legitimacy it must remain an alternative to punishment. This article sketches a conception of punishment as a communicative penance with probation officers playing the role of administrators of sentences and as mediators between victims, offenders, and victims. Probation should be understood as a mode of punishment or a mode of constructive punishment, seeking to bring offenders to face up to the effects and implications of their crimes, through rehabilitation and advocating restorative justice. The article argues that probation, properly understood, should ideally constitute not an alternative to punishment, but a model of punishment; what punishment ought to be. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.
Harding, John. "Which way probation? A correctional or community justice service?"
Martin Narey’s appointment as the Commissioner for Correctional Services is likely to have a profound effect on the development of the probation service over the next five years. His responsibilities in terms of oversight include: prisons, probation, the Parole Board and the National Youth Justice Board. The Criminal Justice Bill 2003 creates a range of new penalties including ‘Custody Plus’, ‘Custody Minus’ and intermittent custody. The overall effect will be more people imprisoned and a greater seamlessness between prison and probation. Given this process, the author considers that a drive towards an integrated correctional service in a third Labour administration appears likely. He argues that probation should remain separate from the prison service and regain its former identity with its key stakeholders, the local courts and local communities.
Dooley, Michael. The New Role of Probation and Parole: Community Justice Liason
The field of probation and parole has been experiencing dramatic change in recent years. Critical shifts in orientation, roles, and responsibilities have occurred. Against this background, Michael Dooley examines the most recent changes and challenges for probation and parole in relation to the emergence of community and restorative justice. He looks at roles, responsibilities, traits, and characteristics for professionals in probation and parole. Specifically, he discusses restorative justice job profiles, general duties of a community resource liaison worker, and the nature of change in implementing new roles.
Cannon, Joanna B and Clear, Todd R. Neighborhood Probation Offices in Maricopa County, Arizona.
In studying the Coronado Neighborhood Probation Office in Maricopa County, Arizona, Clear and Cannon highlight one of the cornerstones of community justice: accessibility. Management trends for much of the twentieth century often led to centralization of services to increase efficiency. Development of small neighborhood probation offices counters the trend of centralization. A chief purpose is to increase accessibility. Looking at one such office – the Coronado Neighborhood Probation Office – Clear and Cannon explore the following: history and philosophy of the office; the office’s efforts to foster community justice; partnerships between the probation office and other organizations; and lessons and concerns stemming from the office’s work.
Klein, Andrew. Community probation: Acknowledging probation’s multiple clients
Noting serious issues faced by probation, Klein faults probation for a single-minded focus on the offender. Instead, it should be recognized that probation’s principal mission is seeing that justice is done, victims are served, and the community is protected. To explain his position, Klein explains why the victim and community should be principal clients of probation services, and why the offender should be probation’s third client. In this context, probation professionals must balance service to the three clients.
Immarigeon, Russ. "The restorative justice and probation movements: Two trains running."
In this article, Immarigeon aims to place restorative justice in context with other, contemporaneous movements that have attempted to affect the criminal justice system, in particular the development of probation and parole. He does this largely by reporting on two conferences and some of the key ideas, history, and practices of each movement as highlighted through the conferences: one conference focused on restorative justice; and the other conference focused on probation and parole. Immarigeon sees restorative justice and probation/parole as having some overlap but also some conflicts; hence, he urges explicit discussion and debate among advocates of each.
Shapiro, C.. "Adult Probation in America: Its Role in Restorative Justice."
Probation is the most pervasive arm of Americaís vast correctional scheme. Today, approximately 75% of all felons are under some form of community-based supervision with an additional large number of misdemeanants being serviced by state and local probation departments. Sheer numbers alone give us pause to examine probation's role in a restorative justice model. This paper presents arguments against and for probation as a proponent of restorative justice. It culminates with a research agenda that builds upon probationís inherent strengths.
Schwalbe, Craig S. and Maschi, Tina. Investigating probation strategies with juvenile offenders: The influence of officers' attitudes and youth characteristics.
Probation officers are the focal point for most interventions with delinquent youths in the juvenile justice system. The present study examines probation strategies and interventions in a sample of 308 probation officers who completed the Probation Practices Assessment Survey (PPAS) in a web-based survey. The PPAS measures six probation approaches: deterrence, restorative justice, treatment, confrontation, counseling, and behavioral tactics. Structural equation models and latent class analyses showed that probation officers use multiple approaches with delinquent youths consistent with the balanced and restorative justice movement. Younger youths, high-risk youths, and youths with prior social service involvements are likely to receive more intensive interventions. The implications of these findings for improving probation practices with delinquent youth are discussed. (author's abstract)
Boonsit, Angkana. Restorative Justice by my experience
Fortunately, the Director-General of the Department of Probation, Dr. Kittipong Kittayarak, is the leading thinker on restorative justice in Thailand. So, there is a master plan of the justice system which supports restorative justice. The vision in this plan is “to develop the justice system by enabling effective use and also enhancing a just and fair, restorative and peaceful society beyond equilibrium between law enforcement and human dignity”. And the mission is “to promote and to develop the justice system and its mechanisms regarding rights/liberty of people, the community and other organizations. The rights of the victim are emphasized for enhancing a vigorous and harmonious society.” (excerpt)

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