Probation: Crime and California College Attended

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John Augustus is credited with being the father of probation. A Boston shoemaker, Augustus spent his spare time observing what took place in the courts. Disturbed that minor offenders and common drunks were often forced to remain in jail because they had no money to pay off their fines, he convinced authorities to let him pay their fines and offered them friendly supervision. When the defendants later came into court for sentencing, Augustus would report on his progress toward reformation. Augustus efforts encouraged his home state of Massachusetts to pass the first probation statue in 1878. Four more states had followed suit by 1900. Probation was thus established as a legitimate alternative to incarceration. The first juvenile court was in Cook County, Illinois in 1899. The enabling legislation eventually passed at state and federal levels not only enacted statutes that permitted probation, but eventually defined specific categories of offenses for which probation could not be granted. It is clear that the legislators enacting probation statues intended juvenile offenders and misdemeanants to be its beneficiaries, not hard core criminal offenders. Probation is a sentence serves while under supervision in the community. Its goal is to retain some control over criminal offenders while using community programs to help rehabilitate them. Today, probation is the most common form of criminal sentencing in the United States. Those sentenced to probation must agree to abide by court mandated conditions of probation, with a violation of conditions possibly leading to probation revocation. Two types of conditions are general and specific. General conditions apply to all probationers in a given jurisdiction and usually require that the probationer obey all laws, maintain employment, remain within the jurisdiction of the court and possess no firearms. Specific conditions may be mandated by a judge who feels that the probationer is need of particular guidance or...
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