Correctional Decisions in the Community
Decisions about convicted offenders do not end with the sentence of the judge. Indeed, a new series of decisions is only beginning—whether the offender is to be placed on probation (usually with suspension of a more severe sanction), whether he or she is to be sent to jail (or these sanctions are to be used in combination), whether another alternative is to be selected, or whether the person is to be sent to prison. All these decisions that are now required may be called correctional, not because they necessarily are corrective of the person’s behavior, but because the term corrections has come into common use to designate the complex of activities, programs, and systems such as probation, jail, prison, and parole that have been designed to deal with adjudicated persons in state custody. Setting aside issues of paroling decisions for Chapter 9, we seek in this chapter and the next to outline the general nature of some common decision problems in areas of corrections.
KeywordsCorrectional Decision Probation Officer Recidivism Rate Community Correction Probation Service
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- 1.Portions of this section are adapted from Gottfredson, Finckenauer, and Rauh (1977).Google Scholar
- 2.Not all criticism of these systems is based on negative or questionable evidence of effectiveness in reducing crime. For example, von Hirsch and Hanrahan (1979) argue concerning parole supervision that lower standards of proof and differing standards of disposition (from those affecting other offenders) lead to undesirable consequences to fairness or the imposition of justice.Google Scholar
- 3.For reviews, see the following sources: Mannheim and Wilkins (1955; Chapter I provides a historical survey of American and European prediction studies in criminology. The book also provides a review of pertinent methodological issues up to the time of its publication and, so far as we know, the first use in criminological research of prediction as a control tool in quasi-experimental designs. See, for example, Chapter IX, “A Note on the Future of Criminological Research” at 211–224, especially at 211); Simon (1971; Chapter 3 is titled by the author “A Review of Some Selected Prediction Studies” but she seems conservative; the review provides a quite thorough analysis of many important studies); Gottfredson (1967:171–87); Albanese (1977); Gottfredson, Wilkins, and Hoffman (1978); Gottfredson and Gottfredson (1984).Google Scholar
- 4.For discussion of these methodological issues, see Simon (1971), Geason and Hangren (1958), Ford and Johnson (1976), Meehl and Rosen (1955), Cureton (1957), Hanley (1961), Walters (1956), Gottfredson (1967), and Gottfredson and Gottfredson (1985).Google Scholar
- 5.This is not to say that no positive results have been reported but that differences generalizable to other jurisdictions or otherwise having sufficient generalizability for formulation of general public policy are not available. Perhaps, however, this is too much to expect from single project evaluations and the questions have not been asked in the right way. The development of information systems for individual corrections agencies, as outlined later in this chapter, can guide policy decisions in that particular agency without the requirement of such jurisdiction-wide generalizability.Google Scholar
- 6.This section is adapted from Gottfredson, Finckenauer, and Rauh (1977).Google Scholar