Community Supervision Programs - an Alternative to Incarceration

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Community Supervision Programs – An Alternative to Incarceration

CJS 230
Erin Wingfield
University of Phoenix
October 11, 2009

In the mid-1800’s, a local Bostonian civic activist John Augustus, began to identify criminal defendants who, in his mind, was ripe for rehabilitation. He sought to help some defendants out of their lives of crime by helping them obtain jobs and address the social problems leading to their criminal acts. Thus, the early roots of probation were born. In its inception, probation was seen as an opportunity for a potential probationer to complete a series of tasks that would eventually lead to a constructive and crime free life in the community. Augustus, along with volunteers, would supervise the offenders within the community, helping them find jobs, housing and act as mentors to the offender in the hopes his crimes would not be repeated. This “case management” style of supervision and monitoring outside of confinement became the seed of modern probation – a system of supervision within the community that allows an offender an alternative to removal from the community. Although there are now several modes of structured community supervision in place, they all follow the original idea of allowing an offender the opportunity to be held accountable for his crimes while working towards the goal of being a constructive society member.

Simply put, probation is a type of sentence where the offender is placed under supervision in the community as opposed to incarceration. While under the supervision of a probation officer, a probationer is required to comply with various requirements and restrictions. Such requirements are generally offense specific, but fall into three broad categories: standard conditions, such as reporting to the probation officer, avoiding negative contact with law enforcement and being employed; punitive conditions, such as paying fines and supervision fees, restitution and drug tests; and treatment conditions,...
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