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Federal Probation Journal - December 2001

Federal Probation Journal (December 2001) is dedicated to informing its readers about current thought, research, and practice in corrections and criminal justice. Explore the issue.

This Issue in Brief

As this issue of Federal Probation was being delivered to the typesetter, we learned of the death of Richard A. Chappell, about a month short of his 100th birthday. One of the original eight federal probation officers, Mr. Chappell was Supervisor of Probation and Division Chief from 1937 to 1953, a period of extraordinary growth for the young federal probation system. He was an instigator and early editor of Federal Probation. We plan a more extensive appreciation of Mr. Chappell for the June 2002 issue. Meanwhile, we extend our condolences to his family.

TRIAD Drug Treatment Evaluation Project

By Bernadette Pelissier, William Rhodes, William Saylor, Gerry Gaes, Scott D. Camp, Suzy D. Vanyur, Sue Wallace

The Federal Bureau of Prisons undertook an evaluation of its residential drug abuse treatment program by assessing the post-release outcomes of inmates released from Bureau of Prisons custody. We reprint the Executive Summary of the BOP report, which found that offenders who completed the residential drug abuse treatment program and had been released to the community for three years were significantly less likely to be re-arrested or to be detected for drug use than were similar inmates who did not participate in the program.

Polygraph Testing Leads to Better Understanding Adult and Juvenile Sex Offenders

By Jan Hindman, James M. Peters

The authors review several previously unpublished studies on the impact of polygraph testing on adult and juvenile sex offenders’ self-reports of offenses and their history of personal victimization. The studies reveal consistent levels of lying and understatement of the sexual crimes sex offenders have committed, and over-reports of offenders’ histories of childhood sexual victimization.

Reducing Unnecessary Detention–A Goal or Result of Pretrial Services?

By James R. Marsh

The author describes external factors and traditional practices inhibiting the reduction of unnecessary pretrial detention. He gives a history of recent efforts to grapple with this issue, and offers a series of suggestions to begin to determine in a consistent way what exactly constitutes “necessary” versus “unnecessary” detention.

The Role of the Federal Probation Officer in the Guidelines Sentencing System

By Alfred R. D’Anca

The presentence role of the federal probation officer has dramatically changed with the advent of the guidelines system of sentencing. The author argues that the officer’s entry into deeper legal dimensions of the Court community represents an impediment to the process of sentencing, especially in terms of plea bargaining. He reviews the published literature and research on this issue, and brings to bear his experience in the federal criminal justice system.

Arming Probation Officers—Enhancing Public Confidence and Officer Safety

By Shawn E. Small, Sam Torres

Society’s shift to a conservative view of offender accountability means that probation has had to adjust the types and manner of services provided to the offender and the community. The types of offenders under supervision are more serious, and the philosophical views of newer officers are more likely to stress a crime control model, leading to greater focus on issues like officer safety. The authors argue that arming probation officers need not negate their treatment role.

The Impact of Victim-Offender Mediation—Two Decades of Research

By Mark S. Umbreit, Robert B. Coates, Betty Vos

Victim-offender mediation is the oldest and most widely used expression of restorative justice, with more than 1300 programs in 18 countries. While modest in proportion to many larger-scale reforms, victim-offender mediation is one of the more empirically grounded justice interventions. The authors review 38 evaluation reports addressing such questions as consumer satisfaction, victimoffender mediation as diversion, its impact on further delinquency or criminality, and its success as a means of determining and obtaining restitution.

Intensive Probation for Domestic Violence Offenders

By Richard R. Johnson

Over 4 million American women report being battered by a spouse or boyfriend each year, and over 40 percent of female homicide victims in the U.S. each year are killed by a spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend. The author examines a program initiated in Kane County, IL to both increase convictions of spouse abusers and apply intensive supervision to those under probation. Elements of the program include more frequent office and home visits, closer monitoring of offenders’ progress through specialized treatment, and contact between the probation officer and the victim of the abuse.

Therapeutic Community Treatment May Reduce Future Incarceration—A Research Note

By Nena Messina, Eric Wish, Susanna Nemes

In the wake of the large numbers incarcerated for drug-related offenses, more thought needs to be devoted to reducing recidivism in this population. The authors examine therapeutic community treatment results, finding that treatment completion is associated with a reduced likelihood of being incarcerated at follow-up. Further questions remain to be answered, such as whether treatment completion or client compliance is most important for good outcomes.

Female Offenders—Walking Through Enhanced Supervision

By Wendy Landry

A non-traditional approach to supervising offenders can provide them with structure in a seemingly unstructured environment. A women’s issues group for females under supervision in the Northern District of Texas’ probation office began a walking group that helped teach life skills in addition to improving health.

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