Should a probation, parole, or prison administrator be concerned about offender assessment and classification? Why or why not?
Several tools can be used for offender assessment and classification. Probation and parole officers need to use them to evaluate the risks that may be posed by an offender. Moreover, the application of these methods can show what kind of action law-enforcement agencies should take. For example, it is possible to consider the Community Supervision Tool. It can be used to determine whether a person can be placed on probation.
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This assessment tool is related to such aspects as education, employment, substance abuse, and financial situation. By focusing on them, one can determine the level of supervision over the offender. Overall, law-enforcement agencies can achieve various objectives with the help of this method. For instance, they can shield the community against the threats that may be posed by an offender. Yet, this information collected in this way is also important for organizations that help offenders re-integrate into the community. Additionally, one can mention the Prison Intake Tool. This method can be used by prison administrators because these people need to determine how a person can act during his/her incarceration. In particular, it may be critical to determine if a new convict can pose a threat to other inmates.
Moreover, it is possible to apply a comprehensive risk assessment tool, called the Ohio Risk Assessment System (Latessa et al., 2010). This framework has several applications, and one of its goals is to assess the risk of recidivism. Therefore, this method can be of great value to parole officers who need to decide whether a criminal can be released before his/her sentence expires. This tool can help them determine whether a prisoner can meet the requirements that law-enforcement agencies will set. These are the main details that can be identified.
Compare and contrast the differences between probation and parole. State probation systems typically supervise felony offenders. Should every offender who violates felony probation (or parole) be sent (or returned) to prison? Explain why or why not?
Probation and parole can be regarded as alternatives to imprisonment. In both cases, a convicted person has to face some restrictions that are not imposed on law-abiding citizens. For instance, they need to visit a probation or parole officer regularly (Peak, 2009). Additionally, people, who are placed on parole or probation, have to inform law-enforcement agencies about their intention to change residence or employment.
Yet, there are important differences that should be taken into account. In particular, probation is an alternative to incarceration; whereas parole is the conditional release of a convict who has already been incarcerated. Therefore, parole officers are more likely to interact with people who might have committed serious crimes. This is one of the issues that these people should take into consideration.
In many cases, people can be sent to prison, if they violate the terms of parole or probation. In my opinion, law-enforcement agencies should not immediately be sent to every person to prison if he/she does not comply with their terms. It seems to me that they should first clearly determine why this individual did not follow the rules that were set for him/her. Additionally, they need to remember that incarceration does not always lead to an improvement in the behavior of a person (Peak, 2009).
In many cases, it produces just the opposite effects; thus, probation and parole officers should incarcerate an offender, only if they believe that he/she can pose a threat to other people. Overall, they should carefully weigh the consequences of their decisions. In their turn, offenders should remember that irresponsible behavior can be a sufficient pretext for incarceration. These are the main details that should be considered.
Latessa, E., Lemke, R., Makarious, M., Smith, P., & Lowenkamp, C. (2010). The Creation and Validation of the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS). Federal Probation, 74(1), 16-29.
Peak, K. (2009). Justice Administration. New York, NY: Prentice Hall.