Conditional suspension of an offender's sentence upon the promise of good behaviour and agreement to accept supervision and abide by specified requirements. It differs from parole in that the offender is not required to serve any of his sentence. Those convicted of serious offenses and those previously convicted of other offenses are usually not considered for probation. Studies in several countries show that 70 to 80percnt of probationers successfully complete their probation; additional limited evidence suggests that recidivism may be less than 30percnt.
Learn more about probation with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Nevada, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are a few of the states in the forefront of Probations as each of these states probations agencies are now FULL POLICE OFFICERS. They have statewide arrest powers, tactical special operations units, and deploy to emergencies and disasters to provide policing. Nevada Probation & Parole (a division of the Nevada state police dept. of public safety) responded to the Hurricane Katrina disaster providing much needed police to the devastated area.
Standard Supervision Similar to High Supervision, except that contacts in the office and field may be quarterly instead of monthly.
Unsupervised probation does not involve direct supervision under a specificly appointed probation officer. Terms of probation are expected to be completed within a specific duration of time. For example, if given 1 year of unsupervised probation, a probationer might be required to have his/her terms (i.e. community service, court costs, etc) completed within the first 6 months. For the remaining 6 months, he/she must maintain good and lawful behavior, may not enter bars/taverns/liquor stores, submit their right to having a firearm, and give up their 4th Amendment rights to search and seizure. Probationers may be asked to meet with their officers toward the end of the term of unsupervised probation; however, if they complete their terms early, may not require meeting with their officer at all. If terms are not completed, their officer may file a petition to revoke probation.
Usually the offender is supervised by a probation officer, to monitor their performance during the probation period. The probation officer helps the offender to adapt to living in the community; to guide and help them to behave in a lawful and responsible way. Conversely, the probation officer also monitors the offender to ensure a lack of future criminal behavior. The probation officer may have to revoke the offender's probation or have to arrest the offender.
Massachusetts developed the first state wide probation system in 1880, and by 1920, 21 other states had followed suit. With the passage of the National Probation Act on March 5, 1925, signed by President Calvin Coolidge, the U.S./Federal Probation Service was established to serve the U.S. Courts. On the state level, pursuant to the Crime Control and Consent Act passed by Congress in 1936, a group of states entered into agreement by which they would supervise probationers and parolees for each other. Known as the Interstate Compact For the Supervision of Parolees and Probationers, the agreement was originally signed by 25 states in 1937. In 1951, all the states in the United States of America had a working probation system and ratified the Interstate Compact Agreement. In 1959, the newly adopted states, Alaska and Hawaii, in addition the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and the territories of Guam and American Samoa ratified the act as well.
Probation began as a humanitarian effort to allow first-time and minor offenders a second chance. Early probationers were expected not only to obey the law but also to behave in a morally acceptable fashion. Officers sought to provide moral leadership to help shape probationers' attitudes and behavior with respect to family, religion, employment, and free time. They aimed to ensure that this was enforced as well, and early probationers were given the opportunity to prove themselves and possibly even reduce their sentence.
During the 1920s through the 1950s, the major developments in the field of psychology led probation officers to shift their emphasis from moral leadership to therapeutic counseling. This shift brought three important changes. First, the officer no longer primarily acted as a community supervisor charged with enforcing a particular morality. Second, the officer became more of a clinical social worker whose goal was to help the offender solve psychological and social problems. Third, the offender was expected to become actively involved in the treatment. The pursuit of rehabilitation as the primary goal of probation gave the officer extensive discretion in defining and treating the offender's problems. Officers used their judgment to evaluate each offender and develop a treatment approach to the personal problems that presumably had led to crime. Many states offered to dismiss or expunge the conviction if the probationer fulfilled the terms of the probation.
During the 1960s, major social changes swept across the United States. These changes also affected the field of community corrections. Rather than counseling offenders, probation officers provided them with concrete social services such as assistance with employment, housing, finances, and education. This emphasis on reintegrating offenders and remedying the social problems they faced was consistent with federal efforts to wage a "War on Poverty." Instead of being a counselor or therapist, the probation officer served as an advocate, dealing with private and public institutions on the offender's behalf.
In the late 1970s the orientation of probation changed again as the goals of rehabilitation and reintegration gave way to "risk management." This approach, still dominant today, seeks to minimize the probability that an offender will commit a new offense. Risk management reflects two basic goals. First, in accord with the deserved-punishment ideal, the punishment should fit the offense, and correctional intervention should neither raise nor lower the level of punishment. Second, according to the community protection criterion, the amount and type of supervision are determined according to the risk that the probationer will return to a life out of compliance with the law.
Prisoners may be released on parole before the end of their sentence, and are normally on probation until the end of the sentence.
A probation officer may at his discretion issue a probationer a warning, or order him to appear before a court for a probation violation hearing. At the hearing, the probation officer will typically request additional punishment, usually involving incarceration. A prisoner released on parole may have parole revoked, and be recalled to prison.There is no "hard and fast" rule for what type of violation will result in a hearing. One violation that is almost always considered serious is failure to appear for scheduled meetings with the probation officer. Being found in possession of illegal drugs, or being arrested for another crime, is likely to result in a hearing. How seriously the violation is regarded may depend upon the facts of the original offense – for example, if a person has been convicted of a gang-related offense, "association with known criminals" may be viewed as a more serious violation than if the person were on probation for driving a car with a suspended license.