BCJ 3150, Probation and Parole 1
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit I Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
6. Analyze the impact of rehabilitation in probation and parole. 6.1 Examine the various reasons for the increased use of community supervision. 6.2 Explain rehabilitation, specific deterrence theory, and restorative justice. 6.3 Analyze the costs of incarceration versus community corrections.
8. Examine the importance of supervision in probation and parole.
8.1 Explain risk/need/responsivity, criminogenic needs, recidivism, and the participation process model.
8.2 Summarize evidence-based practices. 8.3 Analyze what it means to reduce recidivism.
Reading Assignment Chapter 1: An Overview of Community Corrections: Goals and Evidence-Based Practices
Unit Lesson As we begin this course in probation and parole, it is important to first take a look at the criminal justice system as a whole and where the use of community supervision (i.e., probation and parole) fits into the system. Consider the criminal justice system to be a pendulum of changing legislation and ideology that always aims to reach the same goals of reducing recidivism (when an offender returns to the criminal justice system for a new crime, is convicted of a new crime, or is returned to prison or jail) and preventing crime. In other words, the criminal justice system wants to decrease the number of new people entering the system for a criminal offense, and it also wants to reduce the number of people reentering the criminal justice system after they have already been punished for committing a criminal offense. The pendulum swings based upon various things that include the public’s perception of how big a problem crime is in society; how well lawmakers believe the current legislation is working to reduce crime; and how the media portrays how well the criminal justice system is doing to prevent crime, punish criminals, and rehabilitate those who need help. Each of these factors work with, and sometimes against, one another to shape what the criminal justice system does. This is important to recognize because sometimes the pendulum swings more towards the punitive, or punishment, side, and sometimes it swings towards the rehabilitative side. As you will see when you study the history of probation and parole, the criminal justice system in the United States started with the goals of punishment, deterrence, and incapacitation. Once it was largely accepted that the ways in which we dealt with criminals bordered on cruel and excessive, our country adopted the medical model for treating offenders, which you will learn more about in Chapter 3. Essentially, our criminal justice system went from punishing the offenders to attempting to “cure” them of their criminal behavior. Over time, and due to a variety of reasons, the pendulum again swung to the punitive side. Concepts like three-strikes laws, determinate sentencing, and sentencing enhancement all emerged from the get tough on crime mentality that took hold in this nation in the 1970s. While on paper we are still a nation that wants to get tough on crime, as evidenced by our legislation, a new way of working with offenders has emerged in the past twenty years that has incorporated the concepts of punishment, deterrence, and incapacitation with the idea that offenders can change their behavior if they have the ability to learn new ways of thinking, and they can be rehabilitated and provide restitution to their victims and the community.
UNIT I STUDY GUIDE
Community Corrections Overview
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This blended way of working with offenders can be seen most in community corrections—probation and parole. The concepts of probation and parole in and of themselves are punitive in nature. The offender is punished because he or she now has a criminal record, must pay fines or supervision fees, and must report to see a probation or parole officer for supervision. Offenders can also be incapacitated because probation officers can use sanctions like periodic imprisonment, such as weekends in jail for technical (rule) violations of probation. Parole officers can likewise return a parolee to the department of corrections for a technical (rule) violation. The specific and general deterrence goal of sentencing can also be met in the community corrections setting, especially for low-risk offenders. Sometimes even the act of being sentenced to probation is enough for some offenders to never commit another crime. Probation and parole have the ability to provide more rehabilitative programs to offenders because oftentimes the offenders are helping to subsidize the cost of these programs in exchange for being afforded the ability to reside in the community while serving their sentence. Prisons and jails are at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to offer rehabilitative programing because they are funded almost entirely with taxpayer dollars and cannot justify spending extra monies on programming. In addition, it is much easier for probation and parole to enforce restitution through community service or payment of money to the victim because the offender is allowed to be out in the community, working and earning money to pay the victim, or out in the community doing volunteer work to benefit the community as a whole. There are some really exciting concepts that have emerged in the past twenty years in community corrections as a result of the need to reduce the prison and jail populations to save money and to reduce recidivism in the offender population. These “evidence-based practices – correctional programs and techniques shown through systematically evaluated research studies to be most effective with offenders,” utilize a lot of psychology principles like cognitive-behavior therapy, reality therapy, and psychoanalytic theory to work with offenders, changing their thinking and behavior (Alarid, 2015, p. 17). Some of these concepts include motivational interviewing, which you will study in more detail in this course, and the Thinking For A Change program, which was developed for the National Institute of Corrections for use in every correctional setting (prison, jail, probation, and parole). You can view the entire Thinking For A Change curriculum at http://static.nicic.gov/Library/025057/default.html. Another concept is restorative justice, also called balanced and restorative justice, which really focuses on repairing the harm caused to the victim and community by an offender while at the same time restoring the offender to a good place within the community. As we will see later in this course, the more invested an individual is in his or her community, the less likely he or she is to commit an offense that would harm the community or a member of the community. Evidence-based practices also involve being able to accurately assess the offender for both risk of recidivism and needs within the offender’s life that contribute to his or her criminal behavior. These accurate assessments are important at all stages of the criminal justice process, but become crucial when working with an offender on probation or parole because that is where, most likely, he or she will spend the most time and have access to the most resources. For example, while incarcerated in prison, it is definitely important to accurately assess an inmate for risk so that he or she can be placed in the appropriate security-level facility. However, as previously stated, those in prison do not have access to many rehabilitative programs; therefore, probation and parole officers need to know what empirically-tested tools to use in order to have an accurate picture of their clients’ risk and needs. This is called the risk/need/responsivity principle, and it involves assessing criminogenic needs in order to refer the offender to programs that will address those needs and thereby reduce recidivism. For example, if a probation officer is able to accurately assess that an offender’s lack of education, employment, and social support are the main causes of his criminal behavior, that probation officer can use motivational interviewing to help the offender see that his peer group is negatively influencing him, and the probation officer can refer him to job training programs that will help him learn skills necessary to obtain a good job. The last thing to keep in mind as we study probation and parole is the challenges that the criminal justice system faces in regards to legislation and how that impacts the evidence-based practices that criminal justice professionals are implementing. While public opinion and criminal justice policy may be swinging on the pendulum towards rehabilitation, our legislation is very much still swinging towards the get tough on crime, lock ‘em up and throw away the key mentality that prevailed from the 1970s until the early 2000s. The fact is that the majority of the general public is in favor of reducing the overall prison population because not only will it save taxpayer money, but also because most of the general public is in favor of seeing non-violent offenders, such as property-crime offenders or drug offenders, get help for their criminal behavior rather than go to jail or prison. The challenge in these coming years is to help align legislation with public opinion and
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criminal justice programming, and along with that comes the task of increasing public buy-in for crime prevention programs to help change potential offender thinking and behavior before that person enters the system. As we go through this course, keep in the back of your mind how legislation and policy/ideology do not quite line up, and how that can present issues in the present-day administration of probation and parole.
Alarid, L. F. (2015). Community-based corrections (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Suggested Reading The following articles can be found in the CSU Online Library by accessing the ProQuest Criminal Justice database. If you have any questions, the librarians’ contact information can be found on the right side of the library page. This article discusses the ways in which a probation department is incorporating an offender’s family in the probation process. Dizerega, M. (2011). San Francisco’s family-focused probation: A conversation with Chief Adult Probation
Officer Wendy Still. Federal Sentencing Reporter, 24(1), 54-56. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/criminaljusticeperiodicals/docview/897046898/fulltextPDF/F8948002ADD7 4FD8PQ/1?accountid=33337
This article details the basic tenets of restorative justice, the barriers to implementation, and how the juvenile justice system would benefit from the use of restorative justice techniques. Tsui, J. C. (2014). Breaking free of the prison paradigm: Integrating restorative justice techniques into
Chicago’s juvenile justice system. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 104(3), 635-666. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/criminaljusticeperiodicals/docview/1564021579/fulltextPDF/2AFDA8F5CF 2443D9PQ/1?accountid=33337
The following articles can be found by searching the internet at the links below. This article details the most recent statistics on the number and characteristics of individuals on community supervision in the United States. Bonczar, T., & Herberman, E. (2014). Probation and parole in The United States, 2013. Retrieved from
http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5135 This resource provides video discussions on the use of motivational interviewing in parole hearings and further references to read more about motivational interviewing and its use in parole and probation. National Parole Resource Center. (2014). The parole interview as an opportunity to enhance an
offender’s motivation to change. Retrieved from http://nationalparoleresourcecenter.org/the- parole-interview-as-an-opportunity-to-enhance-an-offenders-motivation-to-change
Learning Activities (Non-Graded) Click here to access the unit Flash Cards. Click here to access a PDF version of this activity. Non-graded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.