Probation and parole are very important to our communities,
victims, offenders, and society as a whole. So, what is probation and parole
and how does it help? This is a great question that often people wonder, but do
not ask. Take this into account that there is over 5 million people that are
currently being supervised within the corrections system and about 70% are
supervised by probation and parole. Probation and parole are currently called
community corrections which includes traditional probation
and parole as well as other sanctions such as intensive supervision,
restitution, community service, correctional boot camps, and fines (Admin, 2013).

This community corrections have been used for over 30 years
and has helped change the theoretical model
guiding the practice of community supervision. This helps make the goals of the
community important and for the offenders to integrate into the community. For
many victims’ probation and parole are very important to them because both
probation and parole have obligations to ensure that victims rights are been
provided. Victims are in many ways considered

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clients of community corrections
agencies, because they are to be kept informed, and involved in receiving information
about and access to community- and system-based services that can help them in
the aftermath of a crime. These victims are also helpful in provided useful information
that can be critical to effective management and supervision of
defendants/convicted offenders (Appa-Net, 2013).

within the community corrections offenders are giving the tools needs to become
successful in the community. Probation and parole help offenders obtain
employment and aiding the offender’s family. This method comes for a man named
John Augustus, which has been being used since the late 19 centuries.  After probation or parole time is up the
offenders return to court armed with sentencing recommendations or reduced
sentencing. Due to his efforts John Augustus’s charges were typically spared
incarceration. John Augustus’s probation is what is still practiced today with
little change (Encyclopedia of Crime and
Justice, 2002).

clearly understand probation and parole you need to know how this practice came
around. It started in the mid-19th century that many to all the
offenders were sentencing was either a flat or
determinate sentencing into prison. By using this type of sentencing, an
offender received a specific amount of time to serve in prison for a specific
crime. However, this created major problems when prisons became overcrowded. Therefore,
due to overcrowding there had to be mass pardons or random prison releases of offenders
to have room for more. Therefore, something had to be done and therefore created
room for change in the system.

            Changes were made to start creating
a parole system which was started by an Captain Alexander Maconochie, and later
improved by Sir Walter Crofton. Maconochie wanted to use the idea that was used
in Norfolk Islands which was that criminals were transported to between one English
country to another English country (Norfolk Island) which was considered
“twice condemned”. Conditions were so bad on Norfolk Island that men
who received reprieves from the death penalty wept. Therefore, Maconochie removed
the flat sentencing structure and instead created a “mark system” (Encyclopedia
of Crime and Justice, 2002). The Mark System was
used for offenders to could earn freedom through hard work and good behavior within
the correctional system. The earned marks could be used to purchase goods or used
to shorten their sentence. The prisoners that were chosen for the Mark System had
to pass through a series of stages beginning with strict imprisonment through
conditional release to final freedom (Encyclopedia of Crime and
Justice, 2002).

 Sir Walter Crofton had a different idea which
he believed the length of the sentence should not be based on a certain period
but should be related to the rehabilitation of the offender. Crofton created a
system that incorporating three classes of penal servitude: strict
imprisonment, indeterminate sentences, and tickets-of-leave (Encyclopedia
of Crime and Justice, 2002).

In the last 19th
century Zebulon Brockway, known for initiating indeterminate sentences and
parole release in the United States. He had very similar ideas to Maconochie
and Crofton, however Brockway believed inmates should be able to earn their way
out of prison through good behavior. Therefore, prisoners should receive a
sentence that could vary in length depending upon their behavior in prison. This
system can offer two advantages which are first provide a release valve for
managing prison populations. Second it would put value on reforming offenders
because they would be earning release by demonstrating good behavior (Encyclopedia
of Crime and Justice, 2002).

Brockway came up with
this idea of a probation and parole system when he was the superintendent of
Elmira Reformatory. The inmates within the reformatory were graded on their
conduct, achievement, and education. Therefore, basis of their behavior in the
reformatory they were given parole (Encyclopedia of Crime and
Justice, 2002).

Making this the
important concept which created the ground work for probation and parole in the
United States. Brockway offered 3 concepts that were put into place (1) a
reduction in the sentence of incarceration based on good behavior in prison;
(2) supervision of the parolee in the community; and (3) indeterminate
sentences (Encyclopedia of Crime and
Justice, 2002).

Due to Brockway it
created the probation and parole to what it is today however, with changes to
what is needed today instead of the 19th century. Today we are faced
with even more overcrowding than before. Causing increases to probation and
parole populations. Increased rates of revocations have been attributed to many
factors including: (1) the shift toward control-oriented practices of community
supervision; (2) the law-enforcement background of new probation/parole
officers (as opposed to the social work background of the past); (3) an
increase in the number of conditions of probation; (4) improvement in the
methods of monitoring violations; (5) the more serious offender placed on
community supervision caseloads; and (6) an increase in probation and parole
caseloads (Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice, 2002).

Therefore, most
probationers successfully completed their sentence without incident. In short,
their study seemed to refute the assumption that due to early release and
diversion from prison, the probation population has become increasingly

However, recidivism
rates for parolees are even higher than the rates of probationers. Beck and
Shipley (1989) examined the recidivism rates of 108,580 men and women who were
released from jail in eleven states. More than 62% percent had been rearrested
for a felony or serious misdemeanor within three years of release and 41% had
been returned to prison (Encyclopedia of Crime and
Justice, 2002).

Due to the increasing
numbers of offenders are having parole revoked during community supervision,
many jurisdictions are reexamining their revocation procedures. Therefore, different
developments had to be made to the probation and parole structure which include
decision-making, and consistent general trend in criminal justice. The goal of
the structure is to give officers concrete guidance so that their choices
become more certain and uniform without removing all discretion.  The new structure is incorporated into the
decision-making by written policy giving the goals of revocation and specifying
which violations are serious enough to result in revocation procedures.
Behaviors that warrant alternative sanctions are also identified. Thus,
agencies make it clear to officers that violations are a routine part of
supervision that can be responded to in a variety of ways (Encyclopedia
of Crime and Justice, 2002).

In conclusion it is
important to understand what, and where probation and parole comes from. This
is an important step to help communities, victims, offenders, and society as a
whole. It is important to see the functions of probation and parole. To have a
successful system in place you first must learn it and understand what the
system is. Therefore, understanding the history, movements, and practices are


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