Probation and Approaches Running head: PROBATION AND APPROACHES

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Probation and Approaches

Jake J. Koppenhaver

Introduction to the Criminal Justice System Dr. Jerry Griffin July 18, 2005

Probation and Approaches Probation and Approaches According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2004 there were a total of 2,845,170 prisoners in our nation’s jails and prisons1. That is almost three million incarcerated that citizens pay for through taxes. Each year more and more offenders are convicted of all types of crimes, and a major issue in our criminal justice system is overcrowded facilities. Enter the Probation system: Those who are convicted of lesser offenses and not deemed immediate threats to others are released back into society under the supervision of the courts. Those on probation are instructed to check in with an appointed Probation Officer or Deputy at regular intervals, along with other orders that may include mandatory drug treatment

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and testing, not consuming alcohol, not being allowed in certain establishments or around certain people, etc. The program is designed to deal with those who do not need prison time, who have committed crimes such as drug possession, petty theft, vandalism, etc. These offenders are generally not a major threat to society. Some jurisdictions have had much success with this program. For instance, in Lafayette, IN, out of 1,837 probation cases in 2004 only 12 have been discharged for new crimes this quarter, and 15 for probation violations2. Other areas have not been so successful: In some counties in Florida, out of 1,497 new cases, 751 probation violations were filed3. Many safeguards are in place to try to prevent offenders from committing more crimes while they are on probation. Examples would be drug testing for narcotics offenders, electronic monitoring for those on house arrest, Ignition Interlock Devices (a portable breathalyzer requiring an alcohol test before starting a vehicle) for those convicted of DUI, or internet

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http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/jails.htm and http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/prisons.html http://www.tippecanoe.in.gov/probation/division.asp?fDD=18-124 3 http://www.jud10.org/CountyCourt/Probation/Reports/stats01-05.htm

Probation and Approaches monitoring for released sex offenders. Individualized probation requirements are designed for each offender and usually decided on by a judge, in hopes of keeping the offender in line. In Orange County, CA, a system has been developed called the “8% Solution.”4 The system focuses on the eight percent of first time offenders in that specific county that represents

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fifty percent of the repeat crime in the juvenile criminal system. Identifying the youth who show signs of being part of the eight percent is the first step, and those are juveniles who have serious issues in the home (recent divorce, child abuse and neglect, deviant parents, sexual abuse, etc.), problems at school (truancy, poor grades, behavioral issues), drug or alcohol abuse, and indicators of delinquency such as gang involvement or repeated runaway attempts. Probation Deputies assigned to these youth are partnered with other community centers and organizations that strive to make a better life for these youth so they have somewhere else to turn to vent other than crime. Personally I do believe that the probation concept can be successful, conditional on the offender and probation requirements. Youth are known for experimentation. It’s a part of growing up, and minor trouble with the law is almost expected of today’s young people. This is in hopes they will see the error in their ways and become a responsible, law abiding adult. It is greatly dependant on the youth though, as we all make our own decisions, but giving alternatives to crime and jail can help them make the right decisions.

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http://www.ocgov.com/Probation/home/index.asp

Probation and Approaches References Video Transcript. (2005). The 8% Solution. Retrieved July 16, 2005, from http://www.ocgov.com/Probation/solution/videotranscript.asp

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County Probation Statistics, January 2004. (2004). Florida’s Tenth Judicial Circuit. Retrieved July 17, 2005, from http://www.jud10.org/CountyCourt/Probation/Reports/stats01-05.htm

Jail Statistics. (2005). Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved July 16, 2005, from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/jails.htm

Prison Statistics. (2005). Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved July 16, 2005, from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/prisons.htm

Probation and Parole Statistics. (2005). Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved July 16, 2005, from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pandp.htm