“Probation in the United States: A Historical and Modern Perspective” in Handbook of Corrections in the United States
During this time, there was also a fundamental shift in the function of probation (see Taxman 2002). Probation departments began downplaying its officers’ roles as social workers and who aided in connecting probationers to resources and services in the community, and intensifying the use of controls over offenders (Taxman 2008). Whereas the first 150 years of probation were focused on rehabilitating and assisting offenders stabilize their lives, these changes led to probation officers emphasizing the law enforcement aspects of their job, with a particular emphasis on strictly enforcing the conditions of probation (e.g., reporting, drug testing, working, paying restitution, informing the officer of their whereabouts; Taxman 2012). This strategy was based on the assumption that technical violations of these conditions serve as a precursor to criminal behavior (see Campbell 2014). It was therefore reasoned that this strict enforcement strategy would deter offenders from engaging in such undesirable behavior (see e.g., Center for Civic Innovation 1999; Farabee 2005; and Hawken and Kleiman 2009).