There are times when almost everyone wonders exactly what the purpose of probation is, what kinds of conditions can be imposed if someone is put on probation, and what roles the probation officer and the court systems play in the scheme of things. If you know someone that is on probation it may not hurt to know a little bit about the way it works and that is exactly what we will be talking about here.
Probation is one of the least restrictive penalties among the alternatives confronting a sentencing judge. Probation is the conditional release of an individual by the court after he has been found guilty of the crime charged. In the case of probation then, the individual has not been sentenced to prison, although he may, in fact, have been incarcerated in jail following his arrest and awaiting trial.
Probation is in fact a charge and not a dismissal of charges, as many people believe. Many people believe that putting a person on probation is just a "slap on the wrist" and that it will not stop the person from committing further crimes but the term of probation is supervision and if it is broken punishment will follow for the probationer.
Probation is a basic tool of rehabilitation for first time offenders and very few if any person who has more than one offense will receive probation. These offenders are more likely to receive jail or prison time for their offenses. Even first time offenders revert to crime during probation, which in turn embarrasses the court that gave that person probation rather than a jail or prison sentence.
One helpful aspect of probation is the indication of a certain trust and confidence placed in the offender by the judicial order or probation officer. Another helpful aspect of probation is that there is actual supervision and guidance by a probation officer.
Probation is an extension of powers of the court over the future behavior and destiny of the convicted person by showing them ways to keep themselves out...
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Pursley, Robert D. 1977. Introduction to Criminal Justice. Encino, California: Glencoe Press. vi. 553 pages
Rubin, Sol. 1963. The Law of Criminal Correction. St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Company. xxv. 728 pages
United States, Wickersham Commission. 1968. No. 9 Report on Penal Institutions, Probation, and Parole. Montclair, New Jersey: Patterson Smith Publishing Corporation.
United States Sentencing Commission. 1990. Policy Statements for Violations of Probation and Supervised Release. Washington, D.C.: The Commission. i. 40 pages
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