Essay Analysis on the role of Probation Services in the US Criminal Justice System
Crime has over the past; Crime has been a complex issue that is currently addressed by the whole world. It needs both complex and comprehensive solutions. Probation services aids in crime reduction. Probation service is section from the Justice department, department of Equality and the reform of law. Their main function is to assist in the assessing and managing of wrongdoers in the public and this carried out on behalf of jail Services and Services of Courts.1 They have aided in achievement of a community that is threat free and this can be one of their achievements amongst others. They extend their services in detention and prisons.
Changes in the works and culture of the Probation Service in the past two decades
In former years, Probation service had taken a more social work approach. Over the years, this has changed to public protection, enforcement of the law incorporating rehabilitation of the law offenders as well; a more professional approach. This organization experienced alterations in work due to the managerial revolution that took place the world over. This was to quell the growing need over the years to measure the quality of performance and effectiveness of this service. Methods of assessing measurable results such as rates of completion of sentences, rates of re-offending and rates of referrals have been employed. The probation service also shifted focus to include reprobates with higher risks of custody in the program. Fundamentally, the changes in culture have been brought about by the change in the ideology from "No thing works” to "that which works”. 2
1This is from Chui, W. (2003). Moving probation forward: evidence, arguments, and practice. Publisher Longman. pg 24- 65
2 From Balladur, D. (2008). Sociology of law: studies and research. Publisher Institutul European,
The "Nothing works” principles emphasized the ineffectiveness in criminal rehabilitation. Methods of correctional used were generalized. This has changed over the years to the search for and employment of techniques (mainly scientific) that work at individual levels, the "What works” philosophy.3
The merits and demerits of the emphasis on management of risk in the present functions of Probation Service with offenders in the society
It has proven effective to some extent in making the communities safer as statistics indicate that the rate of recidivism has reduced. Though minimal, this change is attributed to adoption of practical risk management techniques. It also enables smooth integration of the probates reverse into the society through close monitoring and in some few cases protection from an angry public of the probates. It improves the quality of service provided by and productivity of the practitioners as they have feeling of safety when working with the offenders. They are outfitted with appropriate skills to deal with the risks that may arise. Other tools of risk management such as safety are employed by the organization.4 The public gets a positive image of the probation service as this shows commitment and efficiency in delivery of their service. The public also feels secure as they interact with the probates at the different community levels. New risks may come out in the ever changing local societies and the world. This may pose a greater threat to the communities as the practitioners may lack the knowledge or skills to handle such cases. They might need to rely on techniques to be devised later on.
3 from Luta, S. (2007). Probation: a new perspective .Publisher Reliance Pub. Original from the University of California;Digitized 14 May.
4 from the criminology data base in United kingdoms as in From Balladur, D. (2008). Sociology of law: studies and research. Publisher Institutul European
Challenges currently in Probation service
Regardless of their achievements in reduction of crime, however, the Service is faced by numerous challenges some of which are internal and others external. Statistical evidence (rates of reoffending of reprobates) has been showing nominal accomplishments of the Probation service. The public therefore, has been strongly criticizing this organization and has failed to appreciate the little and significant progress it makes. With the introduction of structure of organizational and its styles of management, plenty of time is spent by the practitioners in meeting bureaucratic procedural requirements than with the offenders; such as filling forms and data sheets. Consequently, their impacts on the offenders are not as strong and as lasting as it was before. Poor co-ordination between Prison service and Probation service continues to hamper the overall aim of this sector in transforming the lives of probates5. Information on the offenders shared, is sometimes inadequate for excellence service rendering by the practitioners. Lack of discretion in the release of their criminal records may hinder resettlement and employment in the communities. Despite the employment of risk management strategies by the Probation service, we cannot rule out that the offenders pose some threat to the probation officers and the community. Resources are limited to the organization. Lack of adequate public support hinders ample funding, human resources and other necessary resources to the service.6
5 From Chui, W. (2003). Moving probation forward: evidence, arguments, and practice. Publisher Longman
6 from Luta, S. (2007). Probation: a new perspective .Publisher Reliance Pub. Original from the University of California. Digitized 14 May
As the complexity of crimes and various forms of crime are being introduced, the importance of Probation services will be essential. Without probation services rate of crime will increase at and alarming rate. They hand victims the most appropriate manner as attention is given to the reform of the victims rather than just punishing them. It is in the probation services that the dignities of the lawbreakers are upheld. It separates the offenders from being exposed to tough criminals.
Chui, W. (2003). ‘Moving probation forward: evidence, arguments, and practice’ Publisher Longman
Luta, S. (2007). ‘Probation: a new perspective .Publisher Reliance Pub.’ Original from the University of
California. Digitized14 May.
Balladur, D. (2008). ‘Sociology of law: studies and research’. Publisher Institutul European,