Probation is a sentence of time when an individual must pay for a mistake that he or she has made, a law has been broken, and a sentence is ordered by a judge. Probation is usually set instead of serving jail but in some cases can be in addition to jail time. According to University of Phoenix Probation and Community Corrections (2006), probation is the chief means of supervising criminals outside confinement. That supervision is done by a probation officer that in most cases has an overabundance of individuals or caseloads to work with, or keep track of. Probation is a way of helping with the overcrowding jails and prisons but the problem of overcrowding has moved into the areas of the probation officers stations. Certain conditions are set forth by the court that the probation officer will need to supervise, such as refrain from possession of firearms, abide to a curfew, remain employed, and not leave the jurisdiction. Those conditions are kept track by a meeting between the officer and the offender and in some cases that meeting is delayed or very short lived.
Probation departments have become seriously under-staffed and when asked what should happen with probation programs in the future I feel that needs to be addressed. One of the roles of probation, other than punishment to the offender is to protect the public and control crime but with inadequate supervision the effort can be lost. Probation programs in the future need to have adequate funding and officers need to be more involved in their traditional role. Officers need to be accountable for the criminal behavior of the offenders in their caseload (Foster p. 479). Performance based initiatives for the officers would help with steady leadership which is needed for the rehabilitation for offenders. Probation agencies could seek the assistance from surrounding communities, organizations, and local residents to help monitor the behavior of offenders, thus keeping in mind the protection of the...
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