Probation officers have been turned into ‘bill collectors,’ with some agencies reporting that they receive as much as 50% of their budgets through the collection of user fees.
This article discusses the history of criminal justice supervision and why parole and probation is an afterthought to some stakeholders when they consider rehabilitation programs for people convicted of crimes. The authors address three challenges of criminal justice supervision: “how to be an alternative to imprisonment, how to be a conduit for reducing recidivism, and how to do less harm to offenders and their families and communities.” The article is composed of three sections that correspond to each of these challenges, and the authors make several recommendations designed to address them.
You can read the full article here, but it is behind a paywall.
- “Most states have imposed an increasing array of ‘user fees’ on probationers, including payments for court and prosecution, use of a public defender, electronic monitoring, drug tests, and mandatory treatment.”
- “Probation officers have been turned into ‘bill collectors,’ with some agencies reporting that they receive as much as 50% of their budgets through the collection of user fees.” Staff are pressured to collect these fees. Some probation departments place more emphasis on fee collection rates than on probation success rates, including reporting monthly and publicly posting each probation officer and the amount they collected.