RUTGERS INTRO Wk 14 - CRITICAL ISSUES CHAPTER 21 CRITICAL...

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CRITICAL ISSUES CHAPTER 21 CRITICAL PROBATION FAILURES AND PROMISING INNOVATIONS
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INTRODUCTION This chapter provides historical context of how probation has been viewed by policy makers and analysts during the twentieth century. Additionally, this chapter will raise a number of questions of whether the restructuring of the New York City’s Probation Department was effective in public safety or management terms.
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A SHORT HISTORY OF PROBATION One of the few criminal justice concepts agreed upon by academics, practitioners and the public is the general ineffectiveness of probation services. This criticism of probation not only dates from the earliest years of its creation but has been consistently expressed throughout history and continues today. Probation agencies developed throughout the nation over time, with the sentence of probation steadily increasing in popularity.
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A SHORT HISTORY OF PROBATION In 1967 The Presidents Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice produced the task Force Report on Corrections. During the evaluation, this report expressed numerous and significant criticism of probation: Probation services have been characteristically poorly staffed and often poorly administered. Despite that, the success of those placed on probation, as measured by not having probation revoked, has been surprisingly high. Probation is badly undermanned in general by staff who are too often under-trained and almost always poorly paid. Probation agencies only occasionally mount the type of imaginative programs that fulfill their potential for rehabilitation. More manpower is needed for probation services than is now available. Throughout the country probation services to misdemeanants are sparse and spotty. Some exceptions are in large metropolitan areas. Even there, caseloads are too high to permit adequate pre-sentence investigations and meaningful supervision of probationers.
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COMPETITION FOR SCARCE RESOURCES Despite the multitude of criticisms, it must be recognized that probation supervision is more difficult than ever before. Originally, probation was intended to serve a basic misdemeanant population, typically non violent offenders. Over the years, with the insatiable demands of institutional facilities for more space, the probation population nationwide was transferred into a felony population. Currently, approximately 75 percent of probationer population is convicted felons. A felony population presents increased supervision difficulties for probation
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EFFORTS TO DO MORE WITH LESS Recognizing that inadequate staffing prevented all probationers from receiving the same degree of supervision, it was decided that the entire probation services would be entirely restructured through the use of anew classification system, the use of structured group for high risk cases, and the use of the latest technology.
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