Exploring the black box of community supervision

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Haworth Press
Community supervision has been an integral part of corrections since the establishment of probation more than 100 years ago. It has commonly been assumed that offenders benefit from community supervision much more than if they were incarcerated. However, empirical evidence in support of the effectiveness of community supervision in reducing recidivism questions this assumption. A detailed examination of audio taped interviews between 62 probation officers and their clients found relatively poor adherence to some of the basic principles of effective intervention–the principles of Risk, Need and Responsivity. For the most part, probation officers spent too much time on the enforcement aspect of supervision (i.e., complying with the conditions of probation) and not enough time on the service delivery role of supervision. Major criminogenic needs such as antisocial attitudes and social supports for crime were largely ignored and probation officers evidenced few of the skills (e.g., prosocial modeling, differential reinforcement) that could influence behavioral change in their clients. As a snapshot of present practices, this study begins a path to a systematic and structured training agenda to help probation officers become more effective agents of change. [Author Abstract]
Community supervision, Offender rehabilitation, Probation
Bonta, J., Bourgon, G., & Scott, T. (2008). Exploring the black box of community supervision. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 47(3), 248-270. https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11990/10285