Benefits of Merging Probation With Parole Research Paper

Pages: 25 (7880 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 25  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

¶ … Merging Probabtion and Parole

In the United States, the parole and probation systems have been implemented with two main goals in mind: To promote rehabilitation rather than mere incarceration; and to offer an alternative to incarceration in already overcrowded prisons. Further, probation offers an economic alternative to incarceration. In comparison, an individual under probation supervision costs only approximately $1,250 per year, as opposed to $30,000 to keep the same individual incarcerated for a year. The probation and parole systems are, however, not handled in the same way across the United States. Some have different types of legislation and rights for parole and probation officers, others have similar legislation and rights, while a third group of states have integrated and streamlined their probation and parole boards. Probation officers, essentially being piece officers, are allowed to carry firearms in 31 states in the country, for example (Morton, n.d.). For many, the third option appears sensible, since this could result in significant cost savings while also easing the case loads for the different types of officers. And indeed, logic would suggest that such integration would be sensible. The differences in government arms responsible for these boards, however, is one of the challenges faced by states such as New Jersey when considering integration.

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One of the questions at the basis of integrating probation and parole systems is the efficacy of these. Morton (n.d.) quotes statistics from the Bureau of Justice in indicating that 13% of all adult probationers are rearrested per year, while 49% are likely to eventually re-offend. Indeed, according to the same statistics, more than 40% of felony probationers across the country are rearrested for new felonies within three years of their placement under supervision. The question these statistics beg are then whether these statistics can be improved in any way by integrating parole and probation boards across the country in general and in New Jersey specifically, thereby creating a more uniform system across the country.

TOPIC: Research Paper on Benefits of Merging Probation With Parole Assignment

Probation and Parole: History

In their earliest manifestations, the concepts of probation and parole were developed to include less severe punishments to fit less severe crimes (Probation and Parole, n.d.). One component of probation, for example, is to release the prisoner to the community depending on certain conditions. Originating as part of the English court system, probation started its existence as a type of bail system, or, as it was known first, "release on recognizance." This would allow people accused of lesser crimes, or who were not considered to be a risk to the community or the justice system, to be released to the community to await trial, much like today's bail system. In some cases, judges failed to take further action against criminals released on bail. If a bail released person were to break the conditions of bail, he or she would be subject to revocation.

The English and American systems are both similar and, in some respects, different in the way in which bail and appeals were handled. In the English court system, judicial reprieve allowed defendants to appeal o the Crown for a pardon. In the American system, the sentence could be suspended if a miscarriage of justice was found. This power was later extended to all cases, whether a miscarriage of justice was found or not. This practice was challenged in 1894 in a state court in New York and later in the Supreme Court (1916).

John Augustus, credited by most as the founder of probation in the United States, began the practice of not only bailing offenders out of court, but also assuming responsibility for them in the community. To encourage agreement to the terms of bail, Augustus provided philanthropic acts such as helping the offender find employment and assisting his or her family in several ways. This created a platform for offenders to be willing to abide by the terms of the bail agreement. After a period of time, the offender would be scheduled for a hearing again, during which Augustus would present his recommendations. In most cases, the offender was found to be rehabilitated sufficiently to be spared further conviction. Today's probation practices closely resemble the system started by Augustus.

One component of Augustus' system was, for example, great care in determining eligibility for probation. Factors he considered in this determination included a person's character, age, and factors that would influence him or her after release. When a case was less than certain, Augustus used methods such as requiring a probation candidate to be employed or go to school.

In 1852, Augustus published an account of his work with people on probation, which led to an 1878 Massachusetts bill allowing the city of Boston tot hire a probation officer. This practice subsequently spread throughout the state and beyond at the turn of the twentieth century. Between 1897 and 1920, 26 states passed adult probation statutes. For juveniles, probation law had ben adopted in all states except Wyoming by 1927. Adults had to wait until 1956 to have probation available for all. The main concern behind probation was to effect a platform for rehabilitation, as far as possible, for defendants. This was made available by providing an opportunity for reconciliation between the offender and the state. Once rehabilitation is achieved, the offender was "forgiven."

When considering the origins of parole, one might investigate the court and prison system as it occurred during the mid-nineteenth century. At this time, most offenders could expect a flat or "determinate" sentence in prison (Probation and Parole, n.d.). This meant that a specific amount of time was spent in prison for a specific crime. This created a massive overcrowding problem in prisons, which meant that either mass pardons or random releases had to be effected in order to make room for prisoner influxes.

Unlike Augustus, early parole systems are credited to a two people; the Englishman, Captain Alexander Maconochie and he Irishman, Sir Walter Crofton. Captain Maconochie was appointed as governor of the English penal colony close to the coast of Australia, notorious for the violent and lawless nature of its inhabitants. Norfolk Island, where Maconochie was to begin his work as governor, served as a secondary penal colony. In other words, this colony was reserved for those who had committed crimes even as part of the existing penal colon on the mainland, which was Australia at the time.

When arriving at his new post, one of Maconochie's first actions was to eliminate the flat sentence structure. He replaced this with a "mark system." This meant that, instead of serving the full sentence imposed without any hope of release, a convict could earn marks by means of hard word and good behavior. The earned marks could then be used towards purchasing goods or a reduction in sentence. The system was based upon Maconochie's belief that prisoners should be incarcerated and rehabilitated rather than simply locked away for a number of years without any hope of redeeming themselves.

Sir Walter Crofton shared this belief. He became the administrator of the Irish Prison System in 1854. His system included three classes: Imprisonment, indeterminate sentences, and tickets-of-leave (Probation and Parole, n.d.). The indeterminate system later became known as the Irish system, and meant that convicts could earn marks for a move away from solitary confinement on conditional pardon or ticket-of-leave.

In the United States, the Michigan penologist Zebulon Brockway is generally credited with the implementation of indeterminate senences and parole release. Like his English and Irish predecessors, Brockway believed not only retribution by means of imprisonment, but also in rehabilitation.

In Brockway's system, the initial sentence included he possibility of being released before the completion of the sentence depending on the behavior of he individual. The reasoning behind this system was based on two major advantages. First, that it would provide a good way to manage prison populations, and second, that I would provide an opportunity for reform by means of he good behavior requirement.

Brockway first implemented his system in 1876 as newly appointed superintendent of Elimor Reformatory for youthful offenders in New York. Grades were awarded to inmates based on their conduct, achievements, and education. Their behavior during their stay at the reformatory was then used as a basis for parole. To monitor this, volunteers were recruited to act as guardians and submit written reports on the behavior of inmates within the community. One of the parole conditions was that offenders needed to report to their guardians once per month. By 1900, the United States had a parole system firmly in place, which meant:

1) a sentence reduction was possible as a result of good behavior;

2) once parole was obtained, the parolee would be supervised in the community; and

3) sentences would be indeterminate.

Further, the outcome of Brockway's work was that twenty states had parole statutes by 1901, with every jurisdiction in the country having some form of parole release and indeterminate sentencing by 1944.

Probation and Parole in New Jersey

The fact that parole and probation are inherent parts of the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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