Correction unit 6 responses 1. By definition, probation is “a sentence allowing the offender to serve the sanctions imposed by the court while he or she lives in the community under supervision” (Clear et al., 2016, p. 81). Parole, by definition, is “the conditional release of an inmate from incarceration, under supervision, after part of the prison sentence has been served” (Clear et al., 2016, p. 386). It seems that both definitions are saying the same thing because they essentially are. Both concepts revolve around the idea of letting someone “pay their dues” while living in the community, and not behind bars. Because they both serve the same purpose, many people believe they should be combined into one administrative unit, rather than be two separate units.An advantage of combining the two would mean the administration unit would be bigger, which may lead it to receive more funding. Research shows that 9 out of every 10 dollars allocated for corrections go towards prisons, rather than parole/probation (Pew Center on the States, 2009). By merging the two units, it becomes a larger entity that is harder to ignore. Along with this same thinking, combining the two units into a bigger unit may lead to the creation of more jobs, which decreases the workload of current officers. By decreasing the workload, you are allowing each officer to give more attention and thought to each case. Additionally, combining the two units offers an easier, more streamlined way to create programs that help released offenders reenter the community (Christie, 2006). Reentry is the most difficult part of the process, and having more resources dedicated to improving its efficiency is not a bad idea. A disadvantage of combining the two units is that, though subtle, there is a difference between the two agencies. People on probation are never sent to prison, which usually means they are low-risk offenders and do not pose as many risks, whereas parolees are more likely to be involved in some level of the criminal lifestyle (Clear et al., 2016, p. 200). By combining the two, you run the risk of a high-risk parolee getting overlooked in the mix between probationers and parolees. With this information in mind, I do believe that the benefits outweigh the cons when combining probation and parole. A continual issue within the justice system is how overworked correctional staff are, which means they cannot pay enough attention to each offender as they should. By creating a bigger unit, you create the opportunity for more funding, which can be allocated for better pay/benefits for officers, which will likely entice people to enter the field. By doing so, you are increasing the likelihood of each probationer/parolee receiving adequate supervision, which can prevent recidivism (Smith et al., 2018). Additionally, it can be refuted that having a streamlined set of protocols will increase efficiency/productivity within community corrections. By combining the two, it makes general protocols much easier to maintain, which makes them more effective. Most states, if not already, should consider combining their parole and probation administrative units.
2. Based on the findings from Cornell Law, parole is “the conditional release of prisoners before they complete their sentence.” A practice that is used in legal settings for prisoners that have behaved well. When a prisoner is released on parole, they are still closely watched by the system, more specifically a parole officer. Parole officers are assigned individuals to keep track of their actions and whereabouts. Prisoners are only allowed to go through parole after they’ve seen the parole board. Cornell Law describes probation as “…release a convicted criminal defendant into the community instead of confining him or her to jail or prison.” Probation allows an offender to seek rehabilitation while also protecting them from society.The advantages to combining parole and probation are reducing the cost of resources that are used on both entities. Because more manpower would be required to integrate the units, employment would rise. Since resources would be expanded, better rehabilitation services would be avaiable. The disadvantages to combining parole and probation together as one is that it could be seen as unfair or unjust to the offenders that don’t deserve combined treatment. This could also increase the risk to the community because civilians won’t be able to identify who is the real risk if there is one. The recommendation I have for this action is to keep these administrative units separate. They may seem similar in description but they deserve to be treated separately. Prisoners need fair treatment and since the justice system isn’t seen as fair these days, combining such administration can create an uprower especially in the community. These entities were made to be separate to begin with so it should stay that way.
3. Probation and parole are oftentimes used together. There are both advantages and disadvantages of combining probation and parole. “Probation is defined as a sentence allowing the offender to serve the sanctions imposed by the court while he or she lives in the community under supervision” (Cole et al., 2016, 572). “Parole is defined as the conditional release of an inmate from incarceration, under supervision, after part of the prison sentence has been served” (Cole et al., 2016, 571). Both probation and parole are doing well when they are used separately. But combining them can have some benefits and some drawbacks. One benefit of combining probation and parole is that it could save the criminal justice system money because imprisonment is very expensive. Another benefit would be that it could create more job opportunities for individuals who are in the field of criminal justice. “Disadvantages include concerns about the lack of punishment, increased risk to the community, and increased social costs” (Champion, 2007).
Personally I feel that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and that we should keep probation and parole separated. This is because individuals who have committed crimes should take responsibility for their actions and should be punished for what they have done.
4. Probation and parole are sometimes used interchangeably, as their definitions are quite similar. Probation is a sentence allowing the offender to serve the sanctions imposed by the court while he or she lives in the community under supervision (Clear et al., 2016). Parole is the conditional release of an inmate from incarceration, under supervision, after part of the prison sentence has been served (Clear et al., 2016). The largest difference of the two depends on who can receive which release. “While parole is for people who have been convicted of a crime and have already served a portion of their prison sentence, probation is a community supervision option that does not require the convicted person to spend time in jail” (mikeglaw, 2021). While the two are slightly different, there are advantages and disadvantages of combining parole and probation together in one administrative unit.An advantage of combining the two would be creating one single agency, which in turn can promote more-efficient hiring and training practices (Clear et al., 2016). Having everything in one facility would just make things easier. While this would call for bigger facilities, this would cause more job opportunities, thus having more employees can contribute to more one-on-one time with inmates in order to ensure treatment plans, release plans, etc. A disadvantage of combining parole and probation together in one administrative unit would be that while the differences between parole and probation are subtle, there are important distinctions between the two that would be difficult to sustain in a unified system (Clear et al., 2016). The differences can be rather important, especially when handling certain situations. For example, probationers are usually less deeply involved in criminal lifestyles, while parolees face serious problems in reentering the community after longer incarceration (Clear et al., 2016).Based on both the advantages and disadvantages of combining parole and probation together in one unit, I feel as though combining the two is not a bad idea. Looking at it from a rehabilitation perspective, the main goal is to prevent recidivism rates in correctional facilities. With that being said, combining the two creates a bigger unit, but allows for more jobs, hiring more professionals to help the inmates, which again, is the goal of rehabilitation. However, there are always two sides to a situation. For example, in jurisdictions with a tradition of strong local government, decentralized probation under the executive branch may be best, whereas states with a strong central bureaucracy or strong judiciary may choose to place probation there (Clear et al., 2016). I feel as though proper treatment plans must be put in place, along with release plans for the inmate to ensure recidivism will not occur or will be at a very low percentage. Combining probation and parole already exists in 37 states, with the mission of the supervision of those convicted of a crime either granted a reprieve or release from jail being the same (“Our View: Combining probation, parole functions makes sense”, 2011). When focusing on this idea through a rehabilitative lens, I feel as though combining probation and parole would be more beneficial and not such a bad idea.
5. To begin, probation is referred to as a term that “is derived from the Latin word ‘probare’ which means ‘to test’ or ‘to prove’. Etymologically, probation means ‘I prove my worth’” (Kumar, 2017). In addition, another definition of probation consists of “the postponement of final judgment…in a criminal case, giving the offender an opportunity to improve his conduct and to readjust himself to the community” (Kumar, 2017). Simply, probation is an action that the courts take in order to be an alternative to incarceration and has been used increasingly in our modern society. In a similar way, parole is characterized as, “a release from prison after part of the sentence has been served, the prisoner still conditions until discharged and liable to return to the institution for violation of any of these conditions” (Kumar, 2017). Parole, in layman’s terminology, is an option to be released from prison before one’s sentence is over in which this option actually reduces the over-crowding of prison.Now, the advantages of probation include is being a useful option for juvenile cases, offers a sense of hops for the rehabilitation of the offender, and it reduces the crowding in jails and prisons (Kumar, 2017). However, the disadvantages of probation are that there is no deterrence and/or threat of prison with the idea of probation in existence and it decreases the average penalty (Kumar, 2017). Likewise, the advantages of parole is that, like probation, it offers hope among prisoners, it eliminates the burden of jailtime, it is economical for the states, and it is an incentive for the parolee to maintain good conduct (Kumar, 2017). On the other hand, the disadvantage of parole is if there is negligence when choosing a parolee, there can be a higher risk of recidivism, there is political interference, and the Parole Board is bias based on the aid of the jail authority (Kumar, 2017). So, when these advantages and disadvantages are taken into consideration, it is evident that combining them could offer a greater sense of hope for inmates, yet could also lead to a higher risk of crime and negative consequences when negligence and biases are present. Therefore, I recommend having both parole and probation remain separate entities because together they can cause a greater risk to society with the potential negative consequences that can arise despite the hope they may project onto prisoners.