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Guidelines for Use of Probation as an Alternative to Incarceration Essay

In any sentencing, a judge’s foremost concerns are justice an elusive perception and public safety. Brutal offenses raise concern for public safety and typically draw long sentences. In less brutal cases, for example, medicine possession, petty theft or destruction, the judge tries to set sentences that will assist to prevent offenders from replicating their immoral behavior.  (Mauer, 1999)

Probation is a criminal sentence and more closely related to parole, which is a system of finishing a criminal sentence of imprisonment.  Mostly, first-time offenders are fatally considered for probation, particularly if their fault was diplomatic. An individual placed on probation is characteristically given a confinement or prison sentence that is suspended as long as he/she abides by the requisites and circumstances of probation. General terms require the person to get in touch with a probation officer once a week and to work or go to school or look for work. Further terms comprise the attendance at alcohol treatment or narcotic-abuse programs, and educational classes on such subjects as fury management or first-class behavior programs.

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The probation term is usually spelled out up front and once the person has completed that period of time, the sentence is over and he or she is free of court regulation. (Cohen, 1999)

  Cases that can be probated includes, will contests, will and trust construction, trust contests, probate litigation, pre- death gift and transfer cases and even guardianships disputes. Larceny, embezzlement, and other forms of theft; offenses involving stolen property; property damage or destruction; con and deceit; counterfeit; offenses involving altered or counterfeit instruments other than counterfeit bearer obligations of the United States

The doctrines and limits of sentencing responsibility under probation guideline are not always the same as the principles and limits of criminal burden are also of variety. This call to focusing on the specific crimes for which the defendant is to be held accountable in determining the applicable guideline range, rather than on whether the defendant is criminally responsible for an offense as a primary accomplice or conspirator. Particular guideline in the base felony level or in an exact offense characteristic may expressly direct that a particular factor be useful only if the defendant is finding guilty of a particular statute. (Mauer, 1999)

Factors that ascertain the guideline range are determined on the basis of the conduct and information specified in the particular criminal misdemeanor an individual has committed any crime. When legislators endorse laws prescribing ranges of punishments, they take reason into account .For instance, if stealing a car was to carry the same punishment as shooting a person, wouldn’t the car thief shoot you and then take your car?

The punishment would be the same. That is one reason the act establishes different varieties of punishment for different crimes. Condemnation options include prison, probation, a community-structured sentence consisting of an extremely supervised probation with severe conditions or a stun probation sentence in which criminals are assessed during the first 120 days to verify whether they should remain in prison for a lengthy term or be out to community custody. (Cohen, 1999)

  The following guidelines should be followed: – if the individual does not pose a threat to the safety of the community, or any member of the public, every prisoner must be encouraged and assisted to maintain or establish relationships with their family in a culturally appropriate manner to assist their well being and promote the prisoner’s effective reintegration into society.                                                                                                                        –

When developing a prisoner’s management plan family is identified in discussion with the prisoner.   -Prisoners are assisted to assess their needs in terms of maintaining and enhancing family relationships. -A prisoner’s family must, as far as is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances and within the resources available, be recognized and involved in decisions relating to the sentence.

 -Family visits should be encouraged and supported.  –Culturally, appropriate family visiting areas should be are provided which reflect the needs of visitors including, access for different persons, access to toilets, storage for visitor’s belongings, adequate seating, a play area for child/parent interaction and a suitable area to feed.  -Additional family visits should be provided in special circumstances where negotiations between the family member and the Prisoner Manager or their representative.  –Rooms should also be available where visitors may be observed but not hard to provide where appropriate.   – Access to a telephone must be made available to maintain family relationships through the prisoners’ telephone system. -As far as practicable and with consideration to a prisoner’s security rating, prisoners should be placed in institutions nearest to their families support.

-Communication via incoming phone calls from family to prisoners should be is relayed promptly and sensitively to prisoners.   -Encouragement and support should be given to prisoner participation in family group conferences run by child, youth and family services. (Mauer, 1999)  The above guidelines are necessary due to many reasons. Naturally the offender may be sentenced to an indeterminate number of years in prison. After the offender has served the minimum amount of time approved, the probation board may decide if the offender is ready to be released from incarceration to finish out the sentence on parole.

Parole boards normally judges the nature and seriousness of the crime, the views of the casualty, the progress the offender made in jail, how packed the prison is, and whether the offender has an anywhere to go in the community. If the probation is granted, the offender has to abide by terms and conditions similar to those for direct probation for a certain period of time. If he or she finishes the probation period, the criminal sentence should be set free for fairness purposes.(Cohen, 1999)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mutually, probation and parole can be withdrawn if the offender consigns another crime or seriously breaches one of the circumstances of release. The revocation arrangement requires written note to the offender, which gives an opportunity to explain and call eyewitnesses, fair decision-maker and a written decision with the reasons for the revocation declared. A revoked probation should go back to prison, and the offender whose probation is cancelled should begin serving the suspended sentence.

Moreover, Legislators should also consider the cost of prison versus the other options. This is because of the higher costs which will be incurred by the state. Form researches and survey, there are currently more than 30,000 individuals in prison and nearly 70,000 on probation. The cost of prison is $39.13 per day per inmate, not including costs of constructing prisons. Rigorous or community-structured supervision, including drug court control, costs $6.25 per day and regular probation averages $2.17 per day. Working costs for prisons and correctional programs is about $638 million per year and does not include construction costs.  In summary, probation guideline includes: –

  • Interviewing the probationer, and other selected individuals who may have Information about the probationer.
  • Review the incident reports, criminal record history, abstracts, and court documents concerning the offender.
  • Make appropriate sentencing recommendations.
  • Inform the court of the probationer’s status.
  • Schedule an intake assessment appointment for each domestic violence offender within seven working days of their court appearance.

An assessment of probation if completed and agreed can be used as the basis for a sentence. Investigations of the different crime types reveal that the crime reduction effect of probation is mainly as a result of its effect on property and dealing crimes. Probation is not significantly coupled with reductions in persons or forgery offenses. A linear structural relationships plan analysis indicated that probation violations are associated with criminal activity. Nevertheless, increases in the invasiveness of conditions, in the agent’s knowledge of naughtiness, or in how the driving force respond to misbehavior are not associated with either criminal activity or infringement of conditions.


Cohen, N. P. (1999): The Law of Probation and Parole, 2nd Edn: New York; West Group

Mauer, M. (1999): Race to Incarcerate; For an overall perspective of the racial, political, and economic implications of increased imprisonment and the mechanisms of mandatory sentencing; New York: New Press

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