Probation: Prison and Community Corrections Movement

7 July 2016

There are three theories or models of criminal justice. The first is the retributive theory, the second is the rehabilitative theory, and the last is the restorative theory. The first basically concerns itself with the punishment of people by putting them in boot camps/prisons or away from people, in order to deter their ways. Such acts instill discipline and fear, which in turn reduces crime.

The second one believes that working with these people change their ways reduce crime (The U . S. Penal System: Restorative and /or Retributive Justice). The third restorative theory aims to reintroduce and re-incorporate the persons back into the community after retribution or rehabilitation. The retributive theory is optimistic and believes that people are innately good such that prison cells are built so that the prisoner inside the cell can be silent.

As he is silent, he can meditate on his wrong-doings. This tradition believes that then spiritual transformation may take place thus rehabilitating such person. On the other hand, the rehabilitative theory is pessimistic, which is why facilities were built to bring about obedience. What is done is to “instill habits of work in people, help build their skills’ then they will be rehabilitated.

The third restorative theory is one, which believes that true rehabilitation takes place when such person is allowed back into the community and is a combination of both retributive and rehabilitative theories, seeks to (1 )deter future and past criminals from doing a crime because the threat of incarceration looms (2 ) incapacitate the offender to stop the individual from possibly endangering others (3 ) punish the criminal by serving time and living a restricted lifestyle and (4 ) rehabilitate them for release into society (Fuller , 125-27).

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the probation success rate is 62%. Most probation programs are designed to (1) protect the community by assisting judges in sentencing and supervising offenders, (2) carry out sanctions imposed by the court, (3) help offenders change, (4) support crime victims, and (5) coordinate and promote the use of community resources. Background Parole in America’s criminal system is one of today’s most hotly debated topics in the criminal justice field is whether or not individual states should abandon the parole system.

Parole is a release from confinement after serving part of the sentence: conditional release from prison under supervision of a parole officer who has the authority to recommend a return to prison if the conditions of parole are violated. It is only in the last 30 years that community corrections have become a substantial part of the correctional system. The procedure known as “parole” in the criminal justice system has been in practice in the United States since the late 1800’s when it was begun in a reformatory in Elmira, New York.

The ground work for probation was laid in 1830 with the use of release on recognizance. Probation began to emerge in 1841 with the volunteer efforts of John Augustus. He began by first recommending to judges that certain offenders be released under his supervision. In recent years, the push for alternatives to incarceration has, in large part, been in response to rapidly increasing prison populations in Canada and the United States. Legislators in Canada and the United States have passed legislation in recent years aimed at reducing or stabilizing prison populations.

Canada and the United States have the highest rates of incarceration of all Western democratic countries, at 130 and 529 per 100,000 populations respectively (Correctional Service of Canada, 1995). Canadian prison and penitentiary populations are increasing rapidly, up 12% and 22% respectively between 1989/90 and 1994/95. Beginning in the 1950s, national attention was focused on the development of alternative, community-based correctional services. In the early stages of the community corrections movement, local institutions, residential centers, group homes and specialized probation services were promoted as alternatives to incarceration.

In the late 1960s, a second phase of the community corrections movement stimulated an explosion of diversion programs that were promoted as alternatives to the criminal justice system altogether (Kornell, 2013). Community corrections offer viable alternatives to incarceration for offenders at various stages of the criminal justice process. The alternatives which may be available to offenders include are bail supervision programs, alternative measures programs, restitution programs, fine options programs, community service order, probation, intensive supervision probation, conditional sentence of imprisonment, attendance center programs, electronic monitoring, community-based centers, temporary absence programs and parole.

Its process provides for early conditional release from prison for convicted felons, after part of their prison sentence has been served, and they are found to be eligible for parole based on factors such as: conduct while incarcerated, rehabilitative efforts/progress, type of offense, and remorse for their crime. Its use has been expanded to many states, and today has become the primary way by which offenders are released from prisons and correctional institutions.

Parole is a supervised release of a prisoner before they have completed their entire sentence. When on parole the parolee has to comply with the rules set forward for them or they will end up going back to jail for violating their parole. Some of the rules they have to follow include following the law, getting a job, and checking in with their parole officer. Parole does not mean that the offenders are completely free; they are still supervised by the parole officer. Benefits that many people feel it is time to do away with parole, while others are fighting for its survival.

As with any controversial change, mainly there are pros and cons to parole and the argument, of all in which are very convincing. The basic arguments for and against the parole system at the state level can be easily defined. One of the strongest arguments against the destruction of the parole system is the overpopulation problem in most prisons. Since the early 1990’s, the population of inmates in correctional institutions has grown astronomically. Between 1996 and 1999, prisons have seen a 41% increase in the population of violent crime offenders.

For drug related offenses, the number has increased three-fold (Kornell 2013). So it would make sense to argue that eliminating parole would be detrimental to the criminal justice system and its penitentiary facilities. Parole is based on the belief that a controlled, gradual, and supervised release from prison back into society. Not only helps the inmate but also makes a safer society. However, the American public understands that not all criminals can be locked up. Doubts are being raised about allocating a significant proportion of tax dollars to prisons.

Pouring billions of dollars into operating costs and new prisons constructions ($24. 5 billion in 1996) and seeing no reduction in crime will slowly move the public to reassess attitudes toward punishment. The US prison exists for these four reasons. Admittedly, the priority of these two theories is not the person put in prison but the community, which he /she violated and the other possible communities, which he /she may violate in the future. The prison system really at present is aimed at the protection of the communities rather than the rehabilitation of the prisoner.

While the reason for the prison system is to deter past and future criminals, incapacitate the offender, punish the criminal and rehabilitate them, what is accomplished by the system at present are the first three. While the prison system aims at rehabilitating the person, the community outside does not afford the person the opportunity to rehabilitate himself within the community. Case-in-point are fourteen states in the country where ex-felons are not allowed to vote because of their crimes.

Unfortunately, parole is not always rewarded to worthy inmates, thus putting society at risk for repeated crimes that often outweigh the benefits of parole, therefore, parole should be abolished and inmates should be made to complete their full sentence. When deciding whether or not to release an inmate on parole the most important factor is the protection of society. Just because the inmate has been good and has followed all the rules does not mean that they are going to get parole. In order to be released on parole the inmate must be eligible. Not all prisoners are eligible for parole during their sentences.

For example prisoners serving life sentences are not likely eligible. 45% of parolees will complete their supervision and will then be released, While the other 55% of parolees will violate their parole and end up back in jail. The ones who are convicted of offending are also charged with violating their parole. Parole not only helps the inmate get released back into society, it also helps the prisons with space. There are many things that influence how a judge sentences a person to jail or probation. Each state has a mandatory prison sentence in regards to the type of crime.

The most common prohibited probation offenses are murder, use of weapon, sex offenders, prior felony, kidnapping, drug crimes robbery and repeated drunk driving. There are four factors in revoking probation for an offender, them being; lack of availability, he offenders willingness to accept probation, the Pre-Sentence Investigation report. When it comes to providing supervision of an offender, there has to be the resources to do so. The United States has so many offenders out on probation and parole that the ratio from offender to PO is over overwhelming.

So when there are not enough resources available the judge has no other choice but to place the offender into the corrections supervision for a period of time. Some offenders would rather take the shorter sentence of prison then a long probation period. Doing the jail time, when they get out they can move around and do what they please without getting permission from the state. Most of the times the offenders who chose to take prison over probation are going to end up back in the system. (Recidivism 2007). Community involvement and reaction Research also shows that citizens are less punishment-oriented than many political leaders believe.

For example, in surveys conducted in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Alabama, the Public Agenda Foundation of New York City found that “when the public is made aware of the possible range of punishments, and given information about how and with whom they are used, they support alternatives to incarceration-including punishments administered in the community- for offenders considered nonviolent and low risk. (Kornell 2013). An incident occurred in Palm Beach were a 19-year old woman dodged a lengthy prison sentence for DUI manslaughter involving the death of two people and injury to two others.

The Circuit Judge sentenced a sophomore attending the University of Florida to 15 years in prison, then suspended the sentence and put her on probation with a host of special conditions; one is that she spends a year in jail upon completion of her college degree. The other is her license is permanently revoked, although she can apply for a hardship license. There are other conditions, but know she is labeled a felon on any job applications she applies for. (Recidivism 2007). In this case we see the effects of probation and parole and how it can affect the life of the criminal forever in varying ways.

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