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The Balanced Approach
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It is quite evident that the balanced approach is the best because it encompasses the activities of both parole agents and probation officers. When enforcement, surveillance and intervention activities are taken into consideration it becomes easy to meet long term and short term objectives which include reduced recidivism, risk control and behavioral change. The behavior and attitude of the probation officer is important in reduction of recidivism. Some of the effective intervention principles include behavioral intensive services to dangerous offenders. On addition the operational program should be highly structured with firm contingencies which are fair. The staffs are supposed to receive effective training that will enable them to enforce the contingencies in a fair way and at the same time be able to detect any antisocial activities and negative peers who might hijack the program. If the whole system has to run as planned it is important for positive rein forcers to be more than punishes in about four to one ratio.
The probation conflict may also be reduced or solved when the administration takes into account the responsivity of the offender to the numerous styles as well as his personality. In this case the officer’s relationship strategies should be merged with the characteristics and personality of the offender whereas the officer’s strategies are aligned with the set program. On addition there can be good outcome if the officer is trained to relate with the offender in a sensitive constructive interpersonal way. This can only be achieved when appropriate supervision is done. Better outcome canalso result when officer learn to detect the slightest change in the offender after every targeted treatment. The community can also play a major role in monitoring relapses for instance they can help the offender to follow other alternative behaviors. If these strategies are well adhered to then there are high chances of achieving the long and short term objectives (Hearn and Whitehead, 2006).
Through these principles it is clear that the primarily role of the probation officer is to effectively employ correctional interventions in order to bring about the desired change in the offender. Therefore control of the offender is not as essential as fostering good behavior in the client. On addition the necessary support and structure are important in the intervention program of the offender. Therefore behavioral change can only occur when positive reinforcement is applied. When the probation officer entirely focuses on controlling the offender than the desired change cannot occur. Therefore clients change can only be promoted when there is a proper integration between the support tasks and control. Proper change agents are instrumental in creating quality personal relationship between the probationer and the offender. Interpersonal relationships of high quality, genuineness and flexibility are necessary for creating the anticipated change (Fulton et al., 1997).
Offender’s behavior can be modeled in vivid and concrete ways when there is warmth, flexibility and genuineness which come through change agents. Change agents are important rein forcers as opposed to normal punishment. Such agents do not usually agreee with strong statements that condones the bad behavior and negative attitude of the offender. The current community correctional strategies do not adhere to these principles and that is the reason why the main objective is not change but processing. Organizational programs that adhere to these effective interventions have been able to reduce recidivism to over fifty percent. Other important aspects that can lead to the change of the offender include provision of intensive services as well as a supervision approach which is balanced. Surveillance which can monitor progress and social milieu of offenders can also be effective in meeting the set objectives. Such a strategy can be used to replace the home visits and fieldwork supervision which are usually done because recurrent substantive contact clients can help in solving some of the issues (Fulton et al., 1997).
Conclusion. The existing conflicts in probation are mainly based on the conflicting roles of enforcing law and at the same time helping the offender to reform or change in order to fit in the society. At times the probation officers fail to get the needed balance between supervision, law enforcement and giving the needed support for one to transform. In this case some probation officers may solely lean on the law and control while forsaking the desired support. The attitude of the officers is very important in achieving both the short term and long term objectives of the operators. There attitude is greatly influenced by the attitude of the authorities therefore the management needs to offer good training and support in order for the officers to initiate the same in the offenders.
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