Probation
Overview
Probation literally means testing of behaviour or abilities. In a legal sense, an offender on probation is ordered to follow certain conditions set forth by the court, often under the supervision of a probation officer
Probation officer
Parole officers and probation officers play a role in criminal justice systems by supervising offenders released from incarceration or sentenced to non-custodial sanctions such as community service...

. Offenders are ordinarily required to refrain from subsequent possession of firearms, and may be ordered to remain employed, abide to a curfew
Curfew
A curfew is an order specifying a time after which certain regulations apply. Examples:# An order by a government for certain persons to return home daily before a certain time...

, live at a directed place, obey the orders of the probation officer, or not leave the jurisdiction.
Encyclopedia
Probation literally means testing of behaviour or abilities. In a legal sense, an offender on probation is ordered to follow certain conditions set forth by the court, often under the supervision of a probation officer
Probation officer
Parole officers and probation officers play a role in criminal justice systems by supervising offenders released from incarceration or sentenced to non-custodial sanctions such as community service...

. Offenders are ordinarily required to refrain from subsequent possession of firearms, and may be ordered to remain employed, abide to a curfew
Curfew
A curfew is an order specifying a time after which certain regulations apply. Examples:# An order by a government for certain persons to return home daily before a certain time...

, live at a directed place, obey the orders of the probation officer, or not leave the jurisdiction. The probationer may be ordered as well to refrain from contact with the victims (such as a former partner in a domestic violence
Domestic violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

 case), with potential victims of similar crimes (such as minors, if the instant offense involves child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities , indecent exposure with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to...

), or with known criminals, particularly co-defendants. Additional restrictions can include: a ban on possession or use of alcoholic beverages, even if alcohol was not involved in the original criminal charges. Offenders on probation might be fitted with an electronic tag (or monitor), which signals their whereabouts to officials. Also, offenders have been ordered to submit to repeated alcohol/drug testing or to participate in alcohol/drug or psychological treatment, or to perform community service
Community service
Community service is donated service or activity that is performed by someone or a group of people for the benefit of the public or its institutions....

 work.

Arming and increased authority

In the United States, most probation agencies have armed officers. In 39 states, territories and federal probation, such arming is either mandated or optional. Arming is allowed in an increasing number of jurisdictions.

Probation officers are peace officers who possess limited police powers.

Types of supervision

Intensive probation, home detention, GPS monitoring
These are highly intrusive forms of probation in which the offender is very closely monitored, and it is common for violent criminals, higher-ranking gang
Gang
A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity. In current usage it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation. In early usage, the word gang referred to a group of workmen...

 members, habitual offenders, and sex offenders to be supervised at this level. Some jurisdictions require offenders under such supervision to waive their constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause...

 regarding search and seizure, and such probationers may be subject to unannounced home or workplace visits, surveillance, and the use of electronic monitoring or satellite tracking. GPS monitoring and home detention are common in juvenile cases, even if the underlying delinquency is minor.

Standard supervision
Offenders under standard supervision are generally required to report to an officer, most commonly between biweekly and quarterly, and are subject to any other conditions as may have been ordered (as described above: treatment, community service, and so on).

Unsupervised probation does not involve direct supervision by an officer. The probationer is expected to complete any conditions of the order without the involvement of an officer, perhaps within a shorter period. For example, given one year of unsupervised probation, a probationer might be required to have completed community service, paid court costs or fines, etc., within the first six months. For the remaining six months, he or she may merely be required to refrain from unlawful behavior. Probationers are allowed to go to their workplace, educational institution, or place of holy worship. Such probationers may be asked to meet with an officer at the onset or near the end of the probationary period, or not at all. If terms are not completed, an officer may file a petition to revoke probation.

Informal supervision is supervised or unsupervised probation without having been found guilty of a crime. Probation terms such as search clauses or drug testing may be included. At the end of the informal supervision period, the case is dismissed. This is usually offered as part of a plea bargain or pre-trial diversion, and typically requires the accused to sign a form to waive some Constitutional rights, such as protection from unreasonable search and seizure while on probation. Informal probation can also require the accused to enter a plea of "Guilty", pending the completion of the terms set forth in the agreement, at which time the charge is typically dismissed.

History

The concept of probation, from the Latin, probatio, "testing," has historical roots in the practice of judicial reprieve. In English common law, prior to the advent of democratic rule, the courts could temporarily suspend the execution of a sentence to allow a criminal defendant to appeal to the monarch for a pardon
Pardon
Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves...

. Probation first developed in the United States when John Augustus
John Augustus
John Augustus was a Boston boot maker who is called the "Father of Probation" in the United States because of his pioneering efforts to campaign for more lenient sentences for convicted criminals based on their backgrounds. Augustus' efforts are credited with the establishment of the Presentence...

, a Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 cobbler, persuaded a judge in the Boston police court in 1841 to give him custody of a convicted offender, a "drunkard," for a brief period and then helped the man to appear rehabilitated by the time of sentencing. Even earlier, the practice of suspending a sentence was used as early as 1830 in Boston, Massachusetts, and became widespread in U.S. courts, although there was no statutory provision for such a practice. At first, judges, most notably Peter Oxenbridge Thatcher of Boston, used "release on recognizance" or bail and simply refrained from taking any further action. In 1878 the mayor of Boston hired a former police officer, the ironically named "Captain Savage," to become what many recognize as the first official probation officer. By the mid-19th century, however, many Federal Courts were using a judicial reprieve to suspend sentence, and this posed a legal question. In 1916, the United States Supreme Court, in the Killets Decision, held that a Federal Judge (Killets) was without power to suspend a sentence indefinitely. This decision led to the passing of the National Probation Act of 1925, thereby, allowing courts to suspend the imposition of incarceration and place an offender on probation.

Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 developed the first state-wide probation system in 1880, and by 1920, 21 other states had followed suit. With the passage of the National Probation Act on March 5, 1925, signed by President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

, the U.S. Federal Probation
Federal Probation
The Federal Probation Service or United States Probation Service is part of the Federal Judiciary and serves the United States district courts in all 94 judicial federal districts nationwide and constitutes the community corrections arm of the Federal Judiciary...

 Service was established. On the state level, pursuant to the Crime Control and Consent Act of 1936, a group of states entered into an agreement wherein they would supervise probationers and parolees who reside in each other's jurisdictions on each other's behalf. Known as the Interstate Compact For the Supervision of Parolees and Probationers, this agreement was originally signed by 25 states in 1937. By 1951, all the states in the United States of America had a working probation system and ratified the Interstate Compact Agreement. In 1959, the new states of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 and Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, and the territories of the Virgin Islands, Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, and American Samoa
American Samoa
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa...

 ratified the act as well.

Theory

Probation began as a humanitarian effort to allow first-time and minor offenders a second chance. Early probationers were expected not only to obey the law but also to behave in a morally acceptable fashion. Officers sought to provide moral leadership to help shape probationers' attitudes and behavior with respect to family, religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, employment, and free time. They aimed to ensure that this was enforced as well, and early probationers were given the opportunity to prove themselves and possibly even reduce their sentence.

From the 1920s through the 1950s, the major developments in the field of psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 led probation officers to shift their emphasis from moral leadership to therapeutic counseling. This shift brought three important changes. First, the officer no longer primarily acted as a community supervisor charged with enforcing a particular morality. Second, the officer became more of a social worker whose goal was to help the offender solve psychological and social problems. Third, the offender was expected to become actively involved in the treatment. The pursuit of rehabilitation as the primary goal of probation gave the officer extensive discretion in defining and treating the offender's problems. Officers used their judgment to evaluate each offender and develop a treatment approach to the personal problems that presumably had led to crime. Many states offered to dismiss or expunge
Expungement
In the common law legal system, an expungement proceeding is a type of lawsuit in which a first time offender of a prior criminal conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, thereby making the records unavailable through the state or Federal repositories. If successful, the...

 the conviction if the probationer fulfilled the terms of the probation.

During the 1960s, major social changes swept across the United States. These changes also affected the field of community corrections. Rather than counseling offenders, probation officers provided them with concrete social services such as assistance with employment, housing, finances, and education. This emphasis on reintegrating offenders and remedying the social problems they faced was consistent with federal efforts to wage a "War on Poverty
War on Poverty
The War on Poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by Johnson in response to a national poverty rate of around nineteen percent...

." A probation officer became less of a counselor or therapist, and more of an advocate, dealing with private and public institutions on the offender's behalf.

In the late 1970s the orientation of probation changed again as the goals of rehabilitation and reintegration gave way to "risk management." This approach, still dominant today, seeks to reduce the likelihood that an offender will commit a new offense. Risk management
Risk management
Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities...

 reflects two basic goals. First, in accord with the deserved-punishment ideal, the punishment should fit the offense, and correctional intervention should neither increase nor diminish the severity of punishment. Second, according to the community protection criterion, the amount and type of supervision are determined according to the risk that the probationer will return to lawbreaking.

Probation violations

A probation officer may imprison a probationer and petition the court for a violation of probation. The court will request that the defendant prove their innocence at an order to show cause
Order to show cause
An order to show cause, in most Anglo-Saxon law systems, is a type of court order that requires one or more of the parties to a case to justify, explain, or prove something to the court. Courts commonly use orders to show cause when the judge needs more information before deciding whether or not to...

 hearing. If the defendant is unable to challenge the presumption of guilt at the hearing, the officer or prosecutor may request that additional conditions of probation be imposed, that the duration be extended, or that a period of incarceration be ordered, followed by a return to probation. There is no invariant rule as to what circumstances warrant a violation hearing, although conviction of a subsequent offense, or failure to report (to the officer) are nearly universal.

If a violation is found, the severity of the penalties may depend upon the facts of the original offense, the facts of the violation, and the probationer's criminal history. For example, if an offender is on probation for a gang-related offense, subsequent "association with known criminals" may be viewed as a more serious violation than if the person were on probation for driving a car with a suspended license; the reverse may be true if the initial offense were for driving under the influence
Driving under the influence
Driving under the influence is the act of driving a motor vehicle with blood levels of alcohol in excess of a legal limit...

. Similarly, penalties for violation may be greater if a subsequent offense is of greater severity (such as a felony
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

, following a misdemeanor
Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor is a "lesser" criminal act in many common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions and regulatory offences...

), or if the original offense and subsequent offense are of the same type (such as a battery
Battery (crime)
Battery is a criminal offense involving unlawful physical contact, distinct from assault which is the fear of such contact.In the United States, criminal battery, or simply battery, is the use of force against another, resulting in harmful or offensive contact...

 following an assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

, or retail theft
Shoplifting
Shoplifting is theft of goods from a retail establishment. It is one of the most common property crimes dealt with by police and courts....

 following retail theft).

Probation revocation

When a probation violation is extremely severe, or after multiple lesser violations, a probation revocation hearing could be scheduled. A judge at the hearing will consider reports from the probation officer, and if probation is revoked, the probationer will often be incarcerated in jail or prison. However, the term of incarceration might be reduced from the original potential sentence for the alleged crime(s). In cases where a defendant opted to accept probation rather than incur the time or risk of going to trial, a probation revocation can result in conviction of the original criminal charges. Thus, an innocent defendant could agree to probation but later be judged in severe probation violation, causing revocation, a jail term, and a permanent record of conviction.

Glossary of terms

  • Probation officer
    Probation officer
    Parole officers and probation officers play a role in criminal justice systems by supervising offenders released from incarceration or sentenced to non-custodial sanctions such as community service...

     - a peace officer
    Peace officer
    A law enforcement officer , in North America, is any public-sector employee or agent whose duties involve the enforcement of laws. The phrase can include police officers, prison officers, customs officers, immigration officers, bailiffs, probation officers, parole officers, auxiliary officers, and...

     assigned to monitor a person on probation.
  • Probation violation - an action which violates the terms of probation.
  • Probation revocation - the termination of probation, typically due to excessive violations. It is very common for probation to be revoked, and the person be sent to jail or Prison.
  • Probation period - the duration of time for each individual's probation.
  • felony
    Felony
    A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

     - (high crime
    High Crime
    High Crime , also known by its UK video title The Marseilles Connection, is a 1973 poliziottesco film directed by Enzo G. Castellari. The film stars Franco Nero, James Whitmore, Delia Boccardo and Fernando Rey....

    ) a major offense typically incurring punishment of one year or longer in prison.
  • misdemeanor
    Misdemeanor
    A misdemeanor is a "lesser" criminal act in many common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions and regulatory offences...

     - a minor offense with typical punishment of less than one year or fines.

See also

  • Probation Journal
  • Suspended sentence
    Suspended sentence
    A suspended sentence is a legal term for a judge's delaying of a defendant's serving of a sentence after they have been found guilty, in order to allow the defendant to perform a period of probation...

  • South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services
  • Parole
    Parole
    Parole may have different meanings depending on the field and judiciary system. All of the meanings originated from the French parole . Following its use in late-resurrected Anglo-French chivalric practice, the term became associated with the release of prisoners based on prisoners giving their...

  • Rehabilitation Policy
    Rehabilitation Policy
    Rehabilitation policies are those that intend to reform criminal offenders rather than punish them or segregate them from the greater community.-History:...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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