Community Corrections have formed an integral part of the criminal justice system. Over the years, community corrections provide criminal offenders with numerous viable options to incarceration as a means to deter crime and promote community safety. Parole, bail supervision program, probation, intensive supervision probation and community service order are some of the alternatives accorded to offenders in different stages of a correctional process. Community corrections help to separate criminals from law abiding citizens, reduce government expenditure on deterring crime (cost-savings) and create a favorable environment to reintegrate the offenders to the society.
Probation means a period of supervision that is accorded to an offender who has been subjected to community sentences. The court orders a probation officer to supervise the offender and implement the court’s order effectively. Consequently, intermediate sanctions are criminal sentences, which fall between incarceration and probation. In other words, the offender is not sentenced to serve a jail term, but instead, one is subjected to serve community sentences. Intermediate sanctions coupled with probation are effective measures to reduce overcrowding in correctional facilities, reduce government expenditure and recidivism and promote community safety (Hanser 90). However, intermediate sanctions coupled with probation have shortfalls in the sense that they fail to effective deter crime, increase cost of managing community corrections and compromise safety of the public.
The probation officer has a supervisory role of supervising and monitory the behaviors of the offenders after the judge announces the sentence. Probation officers have supervisory role of conducting presentence of an on-going investigations about the offender’s behavior and actions (Alarid & Fiftal 67). The relationship between a probation officer and the offender subjected to probation (probationer) is premised on trust. In the absence of trust, a probation officer is allowed to use authority to perform his obligations and maintain the relationship with a probationer. In most cases, a probation officer experiences a caseload dilemma, but on an average a probation officer need to supervise about 175 clients. This means that a probation officer has a case load of 175 clients; an idea that enhances effectiveness of the correctional system.
It is evident that crime rate has steadily reduced in America, but most correctional facilities continue to experience overcrowding of prisoners. This trend is facilitated by prolonged investigations coupled with overload of court cases (Rich 1). The criminal justice system has failed to effectively reduce the existing overload of court cases thus fuelling overcrowding in prisons. This issue needs to be addressed to enhance effectiveness of the criminal justice system and decongest correctional facilities.
Alarid, Leanne Fiftal, and Rolando V. Carmen. Community-based corrections. 8th ed. Australia: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Community-Based Corrections-The Front Line: Keeping Minnesota Safe . Dir. Rich Crowford. Perf. Rich Croford. DOC, 2012. DVD.
Hanser, Robert D.. Community corrections. Los Angeles: Sage, 2010. Print