Probation Effectiveness Discussion Essay

Evaluate the effectiveness of probation and identify some of the promising programs in probation services.

*(3 – 4 pages, Time New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced).

  • Two scholarly journal articles should be included as references.

*The paper should look like and all the APA requirements attached. Make sure to follow these guidelines Probation Effectiveness Discussion Essay.

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Effectiveness of Probation

Introduction

Probation is one of corrective strategies applied on offenders in the US and other countries. The strategy has been implemented in the US since 1980s as an alternative to incarceration. By 2019, around 4.5 million people in the US were enrolled in probation and related programs. An issue with the probation is that evidence from recent studies has shown increasing levels of ineffectiveness in meeting the goals of significantly preventing or reducing recidivism. Despite this, some of the proposed innovative probation programs have been found to have the potential to solve the issues associated with probation. Thus, they promise an increase in effectiveness of probation. In this regard, this paper explores the effectiveness of probation and the programs that promise greater effectiveness Probation Effectiveness Discussion Essay.

Discussion

One of the reasons that have led to the ineffectiveness is that probation was not originally designed to include high-risk offenders. Due to issues associated with incarceration such as overcrowding of prisons and high costs of the processes, a significant proportion of high-risk offenders in the US have been diverted to probation during the recent years. However, evidence from the previous studies indicates that probation is not effective in correcting such offenders. A study conducted by Hyatt and Barnes (2017) indicated that probation is not effective in reducing recidivism on high-risk offenders. The results showed that there was no difference in the rate of re-offending between high-risk offenders that had been enrolled into the probation programs and those who had not. Thus, inclusion of high-risk offenders is one of the causes of the ineffectiveness.

Case overload is another issue that has led to the ineffectiveness. As Canton (2013) explained, a rapid increase in the number of people enrolled in probation is the cause of the case overload. As a result of the increase, there are many situations in which an officer deals with many people enrolled in probation, making it difficult to make close follow-up on each of them. If the offenders are not well supervised, they do not feel the seriousness of probation and thus, there is a high probability of reoffending (Canton, 2013). In addition, case overload reduces the ability of the probation officers to monitor behavior changes of the offenders closely Probation Effectiveness Discussion Essay.

The issue of ineffectiveness is compounded further by the lack of congruence in the results derived from the studies and statistics. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2020), around 43 percent of the people enrolled in probation every year are rearrested. The statistics given by Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that most of the offenders that are rearrested are those who were not well supervised during probation. As such, the statistics suggest that intensive probation, which includes close supervision, can be effective in reducing recidivism. However, many studies have shown that intensive probation in the US is not effective in reducing recidivism even on the low-risk offenders, as found out in the study conducted by Barnes et al. (2012). A study conducted by Hennigan, et al. (2010, as cited in Barnes et al., 2012) found that that intensive supervision increases recidivism especially among the juveniles. Overall, however, there is enough evidence showing that probation in the US is largely ineffective in reducing recidivism.

Although a few studies have found probation to be effective in reducing recidivism among the offenders, much of the available evidence from the recent studies has shown that it is largely ineffective. In their study, Smith et al (2018) found that supervised probation leads to a significant reduction in the rate of recidivism among the offenders. However, the study was limited by major methodological issues and biases Probation Effectiveness Discussion Essay.

Despite this, the probation programs that are set to be implemented in the US are promising to be effective in reducing the effectiveness. The programs are developed in a way that they address the weaknesses of the past strategies. A good example is the Reduced Probation Caseload in Evidence-Based Setting program, which has been tested in IOWA and found to be effective in reducing recidivism among the offenders (National Institute of Justice, 2020). In the program, high-risk offenders are only supervised by officers that do not have case overloads. Another program that has been found to be effective involves the incorporation of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Based Anger Management for Adult Male Offenders (National Institute of Justice, 2020). The program is promising to address recidivism among the offenders found to have engaged in violence because of anger.

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Another promising program is use of probation alongside AMIkids Community-Based Day Treatment Services. In this program, the offenders are required to attend daily services where they are given counseling and emotional and psychological support to enable them change their behaviors. Pilot study results have shown that the offenders that are enrolled into the program are not likely to be arrested for the next 12 months (National Institute of Justice, 2020). Additional programs mainly involve combining parole and rehabilitation strategies.

Conclusion

Overall, probation has not been effective in reducing recidivism among the offenders, based on the available evidence. Case overloads, goals and design are among the causes of the ineffectiveness. Despite this, various programs that are set to be implemented, as described in the analysis, are promising to improve effectiveness of probation Probation Effectiveness Discussion Essay.

References

Barnes, G. C, Hyatt, J. M., Ahlman, L. C., & Kent, D. T. L. (2012) The effects of low-intensity

supervision for lower-risk probationers: updated results from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Crime and Justice, 35(2), 200-220. doi: : 10.1080/0735648X.2012.679874

Bureau of Justice Statistics (2020). Probation and Parole in The United States, 2016. Retrieved

3 July 2020 from https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=6188

Canton, R. (2013). The point of probation: On effectiveness, human rights and the virtues of

obliquity. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 13(5), 577 593. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1748895812462596

Hyatt, J. M., & Barnes, G. C. (2017). An Experimental Evaluation of the Impact of Intensive

Supervision on the Recidivism of High-Risk Probationers. Crime & Delinquency, 63(1), 3–38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128714555757

National Institute of Justice (2020). Community Corrections. Retrieved 3 July 2020 from https://www.crimesolutions.gov/TopicDetails.aspx?ID=167

Smith, A., Heyes, K., Fox, C., Harrison, J., Kiss, Z., & Bradbury, A. (2018). The effectiveness of probation supervision towards reducing reoffending: A Rapid Evidence Assessment. Probation Journal, 65(4), 407–428. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0264550518796275

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