If we move away from custodial sanctions in favor of noncustodial sanctions, the implications for practitioners working in the probation system would be most crucial, as the average level of criminal activity—and other poor life-course outcomes—among persons on probation would likely increase. Three key implications for practice spring from this. First, probation officers would have to become comfortable revoking probation less consistently for technical violations of probation to keep persons who chronically offend and are diverted from the correctional system from rapidly being sent there for a technical violation. Second, the breadth and depth of training for probation officers would have to be significantly increased to help serve this vulnerable population, or there would need to be a movement toward a shared model of case management in probation that also relies on the expertise of practitioners working in medical and social work settings. Third—and maybe most importantly—if the number of persons who chronically offend and are on probation increases, it would be more difficult to move the average individual on probation toward desistance. Therefore, local agencies should decrease the caseloads each probation officer manages.
Posted on by Kelly Smith