Probation and Community Corrections

Subject: Law
Pages: 5
Words: 1155
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College


The perpetrators of probation and community corrections argue that there is a need to find an alternative to imprisonment of nonviolent offenders which is low cost given the financial constraint the federal government is facing. There is a need therefore to understand this alternative and how it works in the criminal justice system.

Community-based corrections in the criminal justice system are programs that offer an alternative to imprisonment for convicted offenders and are implemented in the community. This is based on the fact that convicted offenders will eventually return to the community and the punishment system is essentially based on corrections. The proponents also believe that only a small percentage of these crimes committed necessitate capital punishment or incarceration. The petty offenders can also be punished using more humane and productive modes that consume fewer resources.

The history of probation and community corrections

The roots of probation and community corrections shall be discussed. Criminal justice was seen as a harsh system, especially to minor offenders. In the Nineteenth century, judges had power to delay sentences to offenders as long as they continued to behave well. This was eventually adopted and developed for probation and community corrections.

Administration of probation and community correction

  1. This part discusses the roles of probation, positions, assumptions on which it is based and the three major decision points in the criminal justice system are operated and how community corrections fit correctional goals.
  2. The actors in the probation and community corrections are also discussed and their roles in the system
  3. The future of the probation and community corrections shall be discussed

Definitional issues

  1. The core components involved in community-based corrections will be ventured into. This will include the following
  2. The concept of community, what makes it up and its role in community-based corrections will be discussed in detail.
  3. The concept of probation will also be looked at.
  4. The third concept that will be discussed is community corrections and their various forms in the system.

Annotated bibliography

Probation and community corrections in the criminal justice system generally refer to an alternative mode of punishment for convicted offenders of non-violent and petty offenses. This has been popularized by the belief that convicted offenders need a form of correction that reintegrates them into society and the need to use scarce government resources in a productive way.

Alarid, Cromwell and Carmen (2007) in their book Community-Based Corrections give in detail an overview of what probation is including the history of its development and the assumptions on which it is based, the three major decision points on which the system takes. It also contains other chapters on details of how probation is administered including its modification and termination. This book also goes on to introduce the history of parole and reentry of prisoners into society after parole and how community-based corrections can be incorporated into juvenile justice.

In the book, Criminal Justice in Action by Gaines and Miller (2008) chapter twelve discusses the two justifications for community corrections given by its proponents of reintegration and diversion, the roots of probation and how it is administered including revocation of probation. It also evaluates whether the system works and how it could be improved.

Mays and Winfree (2008) in their book Essentials of Corrections give an overview of the history of corrections and punishments including how it was viewed and implemented in the early civilizations and Middle Ages in Europe all through to the present world. Hey also cover probation and corrections in detail, in separate chapters, and the administration of correction programs both for inmates and those on probation.

In giving an in-depth understanding of the importance of community corrections Hanser (2009) has provided students and practitioners of this program an up-to-date text on research and practice Community Corrections. This covers the history and development of community corrections and the theories it is based on. It also proceeds to give current research on various programs in practice in various parts of the world and how the theories can be connected to research to produce the best practices. The book stresses on the partnership between the correction agencies and the community in order to have the best results.

Another person who has given his opinion and experience on this topic is Read (1998) in his book Partners in Change: The Twelve Step Referral Handbook for Probation. In this book Read as a federal probation officer gives a consultation book rather than reading, he gives resource information, tips on referrals and notes on the twelve-step program in relation to probation, parole and community corrections.

Another veteran with over twenty years of experience in probation and corrections in the system is Rosecrance who shares his opinions and experiences together with Gibbons (2004) in their book Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections in the United States. This book discusses the history of probation and parole and their founding leaders. It also goes into detail on the three topics of probation, parole and community corrections giving practical experiences the others have witnessed. It also gives recommendations for implementation to make the systems more effective.

In a monograph Community Corrections in America: New Directions and Sounder Investments for Persons with mental Illness and Co-disorders by Lurigio (Ed) (1996), community corrections are discussed with a special focus on the mentally ill in the criminal justice system. This describes how the punitive measures of the traditional criminal justice system affected the mentally ill and how the community corrections programs are administered in regard to the mentally ill.

Cole and Smith (2006) in the book The System of Criminal Justice have contributed to the topic of probation and community corrections. In this book, they have discussed the concept of probation and the assumptions underlying the concept of community corrections. It further continues to describe in detail the application of the two concepts in the criminal justice system and the various forms of probation in practice.

The book Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections in the United States by Champion (2007) provide another comprehensive coverage on probation for both adults and juvenile offenders. It covers the topic by providing recent statistics, real cases and citations on probation and parole. Champion discusses the needs of offenders on probation and the risks involved in the programs, he also looks at the supervisory programs available and their levels of success.

Finally, probation and community correction practices and procedures in America are discussed by Clear, Cole and Reisig (2008) in their book American Corrections. This traces the history of corrections programs from their introduction to development in America and how they are implemented today. This text also gives the legal aspects of probation, community corrections and the intermediate sanctions used injustice system in America.


Probation and community corrections in the criminal justice system are motivated by the belief that violators need to be reintegrated into society. It is, therefore, necessary to understand these programs so that they can be implemented effectively.

Reference List

Alarid, L. F., Cromwell, P. F. & Carmen, R.V. (2007). Community-Based Corrections. Cengage Learning.

Champion D. J. (2007). Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections in the United States. Pearson Education.

Clear, T. R., Cole, G. F. & Reisig M. D. (2008). American Corrections. Cengage Learning.

Cole, G. F. & Smith, C. E. (2006). The American System of Criminal. Cengage Learning.

Gaines, L. K. & Miller, R. L. (2008). Criminal Justice in Action. Cengage Learning.

Gibbons, S. G. & Rosecrance, J. (2004). Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections in the The United States. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Hanser, R. D. (2009). Community Corrections. SAGE Publications Inc.

Lurigio, A. J (ed) (1996). Community Corrections in America: New Directions and Sounder Investments for Persons with Mental Illness and Co-disorders. Diane Publishing.

Mays, G. L. & Winfree, L. T. (2008). Essentials of Corrections. Cengage Learning.

Read, E. M. (1998). Partners in Change: The Twelve Step Referral Handbook for Probation. Hazelden Publishing.