Midterm

Description:

Preferred language style: English(U.S.)

Please double-space the exam, 12 font, and send it to me thru the Assignment Drop Box.

There are 3 questions worth a total of 50 points (about 16.6 points a piece). The
questions have multiple-parts. Answer all of the parts for each question.

2. CJ experts know that it is difficult to evaluate just how risky an offender`s future
behavior might be. What are some of the problems associated with measuring risk?

Explain why it is important to try to measure an offender`s risk.

How does measuring risk help the CJ system operate more effectively?

http://www.francistimko.com/Risk/RISK%20ASSESSMENT.htm#TOC2_4

3. What does it mean to classify probationers? Why do probation departments classify
the offenders on their caseloads?

Imagine yourself as a probation officer – which classification of probationers would you
prefer to supervise and why?

HINTS: Write well, edit.

DO NOT discuss prisoners, prisons, jails, incarceration. You aren`t in that class. You are
in a community corrections class.

All of these questions require some reading from you textbook. Don`t try to answer any
of the questions without reading the appropriate section of your text. I expect and want
you to read yout textbook as you prepare the mid-term. Answer the questions I asked.
Don`t answer questions I didn`t ask.
Intermediate Sanctions:  Range of sentencing options that, “fall somewhere between outright imprisonment and simple probationary release back into the community.

Michael J. Russel, former director of the NIJ says that “intermediate punishments are intended to provide prosecutors, judges, and corrections officials with sentencing options that permit them to apply appropriate punishments to convicted offenders while not being constrained  by the traditional choice between prison and probation.  Rather than substituting for prison or probation, however, these sanctions, which include … bridge the gap between those options and provide innovative ways to ensure swift and certain punishment. – From the introduction to James Austin, Michael Jones, and Melissa Boylard, The Growing Use of Jail

1. Some people argue that intermediate sanctions are the best new approach to sentencing offenders in the community.  Define what experts mean by ‘intermediate sanctions’ and what they are designed to do BOTH for offenders and the CJ system.  How do experts justify the need for intermediate sanctions?  Intermediate sanctions are controversial.  Why?

“Intermediate sanctions” is a term used for punishments that bridge the spectrum between prison and probation.  They include intensive supervision probation, work release, house arrest, day fines, asset forfeiture, restitution, community service, boot camp and, occasionally, substance abuse treatment programs.

These programs are intended to provide swift and certain punishment while decreasing the economic burden of the prison system, and simultaneously helping society feel that criminals are punished with something more than a slap on the wrist. They are also intended to provide low risk offenders with the intervention and assistance that they need in the hopes of reducing recidivism.  Intermediate sanctions also theoretically decrease the risk that a low level offender will become “hardened” during incarceration.

IS is controversial, for the most part, because research has shown that it does not accomplish the goals that have been set.  Random experiments involving the assignment of offenders to ISP or probation showed no statistical differences in rearrest, but significantly increased technical violations of parole among the offenders enrolled in the intensively supervised program.

From that experiment, it is assumed that although ISP programs cost MORE to run, they are no more effective in reducing recidivism than traditional probation programs.  Forfeiture judgments, in which the government confiscates property obtained with illegal money, have been successfully challenged in court.  NIJ department studies of boot camp programs have shown that the programs generally do not last long enough to reduce recidivism.  When the programs did last long enough to have that impact, they offered no real cost benefits to traditional incarceration.

2. CJ experts know that it is difficult to evaluate just how risky an offender`s future

behavior might be. What are some of the problems associated with measuring risk?
Explain why it is important to try to measure an offender`s risk.
How does measuring risk help the CJ system operate more effectively?

Although many assessments exist to evaluate an offender’s future risk, all assessments contain some flaws – They assess different values (which may vary, depending on the community’s needs), every prediction instrument contains hidden policy and value decisions, and anyone using a standardized assessment has to pay yearly fees to the proprietary vendor.  For the above reasons, several societies have elected to develop their own assessments – but with this choice comes the problems associated with working the bugs out and making sure that the assessments are accurately measuring that which is intended.

It is important to measure an offender’s risk of recidivism as well as his risk of escalating the violence of his attacks in order to adequately protect society while keeping the cost of the criminal justice system to its absolute minimum.  Measuring offender’s risk and adjusting the conditions of probation or intermediate sanctions accordingly theoretically decreases the likelihood of a repeat offense, which physically protects society and assists in keeping the operating costs of the system lower due to NOT having to re-house this particular offender.

3. What does it mean to classify probationers? Why do probation departments classify

the offenders on their caseloads?

Imagine yourself as a probation officer – which classification of probationers would you
prefer to supervise and why?

Probationers are classified by risk and need within the first thirty days hat they are assigned to a PO.  The risk is the total of the scores for address changes, employment, substance abuse, attitude, age at first conviction, prior offenses and prior assault offenses.  Each item is weighted and totaled, and the result is combined with the need score.

Need scores are based on vocational skills, employment issues, financial stability, family stability, emotional and psychological issues, substance abuse, health, sexual behavior, and officer’s impression.  Probationers are the classified into high, medium, and low categories using predetermined values.  A higher risk assessment is considered to correlate to an increased risk of probation violations.  Probation officers use this risk assessment to determine how to most effectively allocate their resources of time and energy, while attempting to insure that each offender receives sufficient amounts of each to prevent violations of the probation agreement, and to catch any violations that do occur.

Although it may seem irrational, I believe that if I were a PO I would prefer to supervise medium to high level risks, simply because the research indicates that – regardless of risk assessment – there is an inverse relationship between repeat violations and the level of supervision offenders receive.  It is my opinion that officers who are assigned low risk offenders may be less vigilant about catching offenses, or that the offenders may feel like they have sufficient opportunity to engage in criminal behavior, which results in a greater danger to potential victims of these crimes.  An officer supervising a released rapist, for example, may find it easier to attain needed resources than one supervising an identity thief, despite the fact that the identity thief is as likely to re-offend – simply because rape is an assault crime.