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Federal Probation Journal - June 1999

Federal Probation Journal (June 1999) is dedicated to informing its readers about current thought, research, and practice in corrections and criminal justice. Explore the issue.

This Issue in Brief

Matching Drug-Involved Probationers to Appropriate Drug Interventions

By Gregory P. Falkin, Shiela Strauss, Timothy Bohen

Some probation departments have established specialized drug supervision units; others use community-based drug treatment programs. Which is the best for managing high-risk probationers with serious drug problems? Authors Gregory P. Falkin, Shiela Strauss, and Timothy Bohen address the importance of matching offenders with the right type of treatment and present findings from an evaluation of the New York City Department of Probation’s drug treatment initiative

A Comprehensive Approach to Supervision in the Southern District of West Virginia

By Dave Hanson

Author Dave Hanson tells how the probation staff in the Southern District of West Virginia developed a comprehensive approach to supervising offenders. The approach focused on five goals: reducing the percentage of unemployed offenders, reducing the percentage of offenders receiving public assistance benefits, reducing violations filed with the court, increasing the collection percentage of court-ordered financial obligations, and increasing the percentage of offenders with at least a GED diploma. How the staff designed a method to measure progress in each area is explained.

Perspectives on Parole: The Board Members’ Viewpoint

By Ronald Burns, Patrick Kinkade, Matthew C. Leone, Scott Phillips

In deciding whether offenders are ready to return to society, parole board members play a crucial role in the criminal justice process. Authors Ronald Burns, Patrick Kinkade, Matthew C. Leone, and Scott Phillips describe research designed to help detail how and why parole is granted in individual parole cases across the United States. They report the results of a survey designed to determine parole board members’ points of view on the purpose of corrections, the problems facing parole boards, changes that might improve the parole board process, rationales to justify parole as an early release mechanism, and more.

Can Probation Be Revoked When Probationers Do Not Willfully Violate the Terms or Conditions of Probation?

By Dane C. Miller, Richard D. Sluder, J. Dennis Laster

The foundations of American criminal law suggest that, with rare exception, for an individual to be held liable for a criminal act, there must be some form of culpability on the part of the individual. Yet, in the context of probation revocation, it is less clear as to whether probation can be revoked in instances in which the probationer has not willfully violated the terms or conditions of probation. Authors Dane C. Miller, Richard D. Sluder, and J. Dennis Laster review recent cases in which courts have both permitted and denied revocation in instances in which offenders did not willfully violate probation.

Screening and Assessing Substance-Abusing Offenders: Quantity and Quality

By Robert A. Shearer, Chris R. Carter

The sheer number of offenders with substance abuse problems continues to be a major concern for the criminal justice system. Screening and assessment is the beginning of the substance abuse treatment process. Authors Robert A. Shearer and Chris R. Carter discuss the importance of proper screening and assessment in creating effective treatment plans and in using scarce treatment resources wisely. They address such issues as using interviews versus self-reports, screening instrument accuracy, screening offenders for psychopathy, and readiness screening.

Early Termination: Outdated Concept in an Era of Punitiveness

By Sam Torres

Is the concept of terminating an offender’s supervision early incompatible with the punitive philosophy of sentencing that is prevalent today? Author Sam Torres addresses probation officers’ use of early termination as an incentive to encourage offenders to do well on supervision. The article discusses ways in which officers can offer incentives—for instance, in selecting the level of drug testing required or by reducing the supervision level—and addresses the appropriateness of raising the issue of early termination at the initial interview. Statutory authority for early termination, supervision policy, and actual early termination practice in four districts also are presented.

Communication Between Probation Officers and Judges: An Innovative Model

By S. Scott MacDonald, Cynthia Baroody-Hart

Judges traditionally have relied on information from probation officers in making sentencing decisions. In recent years, however, the dramatic increase in workload has made officer communication with the court increasingly difficult. Authors S. Scott MacDonald and Cynthia Baroody-Hart look at the bureaucratization of probation with regard to the court services probation provides and report on a study of communication between judges and probation officers in Santa Cruz County in California.

The Strengths Perspective: A Paradigm for Correctional Counseling

By Katherine van Wormer

At the heart of the strengths perspective is a belief in the basic goodness of humankind, a faith that individuals, however unfortunate their plight, can discover strengths in themselves that they never knew existed. Author Katherine van Wormer introduces a strengths framework as both a systematic model of behavioral/attitudinal change and an integrated method of offender treatment. She offers a literature review, discusses the basic tenets of the strengths approach, describes the relevance of this approach to the corrections field, and highlights implications for professionals.

Student Interns: Are They Worth the Bother?

By Eric T. Assur, M. Celia Goldberg, Lucinda Ross

Student interns can be a valuable resource for criminal justice agencies—they also can be a big bother. Authors Eric T. Assur, M. Celia Goldberg, and Lucinda Ross tell how—if recruited, managed, and supervised properly—student interns can make significant contributions to the agencies they serve. They tell how internships work, what you can expect of interns, what the professional’s role is in guiding the intern, and the ways in which interns can be an asset not only to agencies but to the clients they serve.

American Criminal Justice Philosophy: What’s Old—What’s New?

By Curtis R. Blakely, Vic W. Bumphus

The American criminal justice system was established to meet a wide range of social service needs, including crime control and rehabilitative interests. Authors Curtis R. Blakely and Vic. W. Bumphus discuss current proactive movements in criminal justice in light of the historical record, and review the proactive-reactive posturing of the American criminal justice system. The authors examine how the criminal justice system has in recent years approximated its traditional mandate, attempting to juggle complex political, social, legal, economic, and ethical concerns.

“Up to Speed”—The Nexus Between Drugs and Crime: Theory, Research, and Practice

By Arthur J. Lurigio, James A. Swartz

“Looking at the Law”—The Privilege Against Self-Incrimination and Supervision

By David N. Adair, Jr.

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