Probation and parole are terms mentioned frequently in the media, but rarely do you hear detailed explanations of what they entail. What exactly do those terms mean, and why would one criminal be given probation as opposed to intermediate sanctions? It has already been established in your readings thus far that the criminal justice system is fluid and requires a balance of perspectives, personnel, communities, laws, and institutions to uphold the societal concept of justice.
The corrections aspect of the criminal justice system is the branch that is capable of the most rigidity, but it is actually very flexible in terms of discretion when allocating correctional punishments. These are based on the individual’s history, severity of the crime, behavior while in the corrections system, and propensity for recidivism. Based on those factors and whether the particular federal, state, or local system aligns with a particular perspective on punishment or rehabilitation, a criminal may serve more or less time in confinement—or none at all, as in the case of probation. The specific objectives of each correctional approach or “punishment” vary, and the effectiveness of those approaches oftentimes depends on the system as much as it does on the criminal.
To prepare for this assignment:
Review Chapter 10 in your course text, Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction, and focus on the use of probation, parole, and intermediate sanctions in the corrections system.
Consider the objectives, effectiveness, and efficiency of probation, parole, and the variety of intermediate sanctions. In what ways are they similar in terms of these three characteristics? In what ways do they differ?
Think about which of the three practices you believe is most useful and why.
Reflect on the information you have learned about jails, prisons, and correctional practices and entities, and think about how diversity and ethics impact correctional processes, approaches, and facilities, including their personnel and inmates.
The assignment (1–2 pages):
Compare one similarity and one difference in the objectives, effectiveness, and efficiency of probation, parole, and intermediate sanctions. Be specific and use examples to illustrate your points.
Using what you learned from the comparison, explain which approach you think is most useful and why.
Identify and explain one diversity or one ethical issue related to correctional processes, approaches or facilities. Be specific and use examples to illustrate your points.
Please read and view (where applicable) the following Learning Resources before you complete this week’s assignments.
Course Text: Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction
Chapter 10, “Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections”
Chapter 11, “Prisons and Jails”
Chapter 12, “Prison Life”
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: Corrections Statistics