Entry, Parole, and Probation Reform
Dispensing justice is one of the key functions of any state, its justice system, and the government agencies responsible for fulfilling this complex, multifaceted, and challenging function. The correction system applied by society includes different instruments aimed at providing public safety and further reintegration of offenders into society. Incarceration, probation, parole, and re-entry are the most important tools in the context of the correction system functioning and society’s management of the problem. Therefore, the relevant terms and concepts should be defined to develop the argument concerning the subject. Re-entry is defined as a process of supporting criminal offenders with their integration into the normal environment and communities they belong to. Probation is the time that a person spends under a supervision instead of staying in prison. The parole system can be effective only if it incorporates the efficient re-entry programs (Galston). The experience of recent decades, with the United States’ incarceration rates rising, made it evident that reforms are needed (21st Century Criminology: A Reference Handbook). Improving the probation system and developing new ways of implementing the re-entry process are important reforms, which will be able to bring positive changes, both to offenders and society in general.
The overhaul of the existing correction system with an emphasis on probation requires making the probation system more efficient considering that its flaws can seriously damage both the inmates and society. However, the fact that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world requires introducing important changes into a currently applied justice and criminal system. Today, many states are attempting to find new ways of addressing the issue, with different aspects including the cost of maintaining the correction system revised and modified. Thus, many states are at crossroads deciding “whether to build new prisons or change how they sentence people as well as how they guide them through parole and probation” (Beitsch). Experts highlight the need to learn more about probation and its significance for the criminal justice system including the challenges and possible paradoxes of probation models (Phelps). More search is needed to examine in detail the structures and factors that affect the currently applied institutional practices.
Some of the issues that should be investigated include effects of major structural factors on the sentencing process. Such an approach will allow realizing what kinds of cases can be effectively sentenced to probation instead of incarceration (Phelps). In recent years, scholars are particularly interested in the progress of the discourse around “evidence-based practices” (Phelps). Considering that more states look for the ways of extending parole and probation practices, connecting theory, legislative initiatives, and practices is a prerequisite for success of reforms in the near future. The emphasis should be made on probation supervision and how such practices are adopted and developed by probation departments.
The risk of the inmates’ returning to their activities in the criminal world remains high. Therefore, it is one of the main issues to be addressed by the …