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The History of Probation - University of Minnesota Duluth

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HistoryProbation 101
Early Precursors
Middle Ages (1200s-1800s)Benefit of the ClergySanctuaryJudicial ReprieveCommon Theme/Purpose?
Early American Experience
Benefit of the Clergy?Security for Good BehaviorIn Massachusetts“Filing” or “Laying on File”“Motion to Quash”Release on Recognizance or “Suspended Sentence”
John Augustus (1785-1859)
Credited as “Father of Probation”Probation = “period of proving or trial”Began his probation work in 1841 by bailing out a “common drunk”Bailed 1100 people over first 10 years, 2000 for lifetimePracticesProvide bail, sentence postponedFound home, employment…counseledBrought back to court after period of timeIf successful, no incarceration
Emergence of Probation
TimelineMA first to pass probation law (juveniles) in 1878In 1900, only 6 states had a probation lawBy 1938, 37 states have juvenile and adult probation lawsBy 1956, all states have adult and juvenile probation laws
Why in the early 1900s?
TheKillits CaseThe Juvenile Court MovementThe Progressive Era (1900-1950)
The Fall From Grace
Rehabilitation Comes under attack (early 1970s)Rx (progressives) tied heavily to probationProbation comes under attack (1980s)Charles Murray “Beyond Probation”The 1985 “RAND report”
Turning Up the Heat
1982 Georgia starts Intensive Supervision Program1983 Electronic monitoring begins in New Mexico1989 All states have an ISP program1993 Evaluations of ISP programs suggest “supervision only” ISP programs are ineffective
Where is probation now?
Many departments still “zero tolerance”Arguments for “reinventing probation”Community ProbationRestorative JusticeCooperation with PoliceCooperation with judges/Drug Courts
Probation Basics
Latest National Stats (end of 2008)4.3 million on probation½ from felony convictions30% drug offense, 25% property offense, 19% violent¾ MalesAbout 20% of probationers are housed in TX and CAOf those who exited supervision in 2008:63% completed their full-term sentences or were released early17% were re-incarcerated.
Strong Tradition of Community CorrectionsFirst “Community Corrections Act”Therefore, mid to high rate for probation/parole in nation3,000/100,000 citizens (3% of MN citizens)30% are felonsMost felony convictions for drug, assault, forgery/theft
Probation Conditions
Judges have authorityLegislature may set “general” conditionsEven here, judges can decline to impose themHUGE LEVEL OF DISCRETIONTYPES: Standard, Punitive, Treatment
Conditions of Probation
Traditional Model = Rehabilitation ConditionsStill some emphasis on thisSex offender treatmentDrug/alcohol treatment, Drug CourtAnger management, cognitive skills, etc.1980s Introduced Punitive ConditionsPrison time/boot camp/”shock probation”Intensive SupervisionElectronic MonitoringFines, Fees and RestitutionCommunity ServiceDrug Testing
The Limits of Conditions
Conditions must be clearConditions must be reasonableConditoins must protect society or rehabilitate offenderConditions must be constitutional
Effectiveness of Conditions:Be careful what you impose
Drug Testing as an ExampleRandom Drug TestingDifficulty for the OffenderCost to Probation DepartmentDrug testing “games”What do you do with Positive tests?Revoke? Expensive, “Unwarranted?”Warn? Puts PO in bad position
Pre-Sentence Investigation
PSI = “Investigative Function” of ProbationFront EndSpecialized vs. GeneralContent of PSIOld/rehab/narrativeNew/risk based/guidelines/actuarial risk/needs
How do judges use PSI?
Careful review for sentencing?Scan through for certain pieces of information?Sentencing recommendationPresumptive Guideline sentence
Other PSI issues
Legal IssuesDefendant have a right to see PSI?OtherHearsay admittedAttorney not necessaryInaccuraciesPrivate PSI





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The History of Probation - University of Minnesota Duluth