Promising Victim-Related Practices in Probation and Parole - A Compendium of  Promising Practices cover
July 1999

NCJ 166606



U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
810 Seventh Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20531

Janet Reno
Attorney General

Raymond C. Fisher
Associate Attorney General

Laurie Robinson
Assistant Attorney General

Noël Brennan
Deputy Assistant Attorney General

Kathryn M. Turman
Acting Director, Office for Victims of Crime

Office of Justice Programs
World Wide Web Homepage:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

Office for Victims of Crime
World Wide Web Homepage:
http://www.ovc.gov

For grant and funding information contact:
Department of Justice Response Center
1-800-421-6770
NCJ #166606

This document was prepared by the American Probation and Parole Association in cooperation with the Council of State Governments, under grant number 96-VF-GX-K001, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusion or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.





The Office for Victims of Crime is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.



Message from
The Director 

During the past two decades, the victim rights movement has made tremendous progress toward securing fundamental justice and comprehensive services for all crime victims. Despite its progress, victim rights and services have still not become fully commonplace 
and routine practices. Many crime victims not only have to cope with the trauma of the crime but also must cope with the treatment they receive from the criminal justice system (i.e., law enforcement, prosecution, courts, corrections, probation, and parole). Promising Victim-Related Practices and Strategies in Probation and Parole focuses on the function of probation and parole agencies and how they can effectively serve crime victims.

Historically, probation and parole practices have been offender-directed and have ignored or passively responded to the concerns of crime victims. While offender supervision strategies are aimed at protecting the public as a whole from further victimization, the interests of individual victims often are lost under the mass of paperwork and growing caseloads of offenders. This document addresses ways probation and parole can change from simply offender-directed to a balanced approach, addressing the unique needs of each of the key players, including victims. There is a need for probation and parole to look at victims as their clients whose needs should be served. For example, probation and parole can inform victims of the offender's custody status and inform them that offenders will be held accountable for their actions. These actions validate the trauma victims have suffered and contribute greatly to the healing process.

This document also acknowledges that in order for probation and parole to be more effective in its role to serve the crime victim and the public, an education process needs to take place within the community. Often the public is only aware of probation and parole after an offender has committed a heinous crime while on probation or parole. It is important for the public to hear about probation and parole programs that are committed to protecting public interests. In addition, as demonstrated throughout this document, probation and parole agencies can, and often do, provide valuable services to victims of crime. This document has collected many of the "promising practices" that contain elements all agencies should strive to implement in their own programs in order to provide more victim-related services. OVC also hopes that when probation and parole agencies provide victim-centered services, the agencies will in turn develop partnerships with other criminal justice entities thus forging a collaborative approach to serving victims and communities.

As a result of OVC's commitment to improve the policies and procedures that serve crime victims, OVC provided funding for the project that identifies Promising Victim-Related Practices and Strategies in Probation and Parole. This publication draws on the ideas and experiences of many community corrections and victim services professionals who provide services to victims of crime across the nation. OVC commends the staff and consultants from the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), in cooperation with the Council of State Governments for their contributions in the writing of this document.

Kathryn M. Turman
Acting Director
Office for Victims of Crime







Acknowledgments 

OVC would like to offer special thanks to authors Tracy M. Godwin and Anne Seymour with Ann H. Crowe and Brett Macgargle for their contributions in writing this document. The staff and consultants from the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), in cooperation with the Council of State Governments (CSG) designed and developed this document. 

This publication draws on the ideas and experiences of many community corrections and victim services professionals who provide services to victims of crime across the nation. It would be impossible to acknowledge individually all who contributed; however, we would like to express our appreciation to all of those who sent in program materials, responded to APPA's Promising Victim-Related Practices in Probation and Parole application, and took the time to discuss their programs and answer numerous questions. 

The following individuals provided consultation in the review of this document. Their contributions and support are greatly appreciated.

Ellen Halbert
Editor
Crime Victims Report
Austin, Texas

Carolyn Andersen
Senior Probation Officer
West Valley City, Utah

Emily Smith
Judicial District Manager, 15A
Division of Adult Probation and Parole
Burlington, North Carolina

Ed Mansfield 
Program Manager
Maricopa County Adult Probation Department
Phoenix, Arizona

Jim Sinclair
Assistant Director
Tarrant County Community Supervision and Corrections Department
Fort Worth, Texas

Special thanks and acknowledgments also are extended to Carl Wicklund, APPA Staff Director and Mistene Stuban, Administrative Assistant for their unwavering support and assistance throughout the development of this manual.







Executive Summary 

Historically, probation and parole practices have been offender-directed and have ignored or passively responded to the concerns of crime victims. While offender supervision strategies are aimed at protecting the public as a whole from further victimization, the interests of individual victims often are lost under the mass of paperwork and growing caseloads of offenders. Promising Victim-Related Practices and Strategies in Probation and Parole addresses ways probation and parole can change from simply offender-directed to a balanced approach, addressing the specific needs of each of the key players, including victims.  Probation and parole agencies are in a unique position to provide services to victims. 

First, probation and parole agencies have access to both general and offender-specific information that could address victims' need for information and concerns. A victim would profit from understanding how probation and parole works; knowing an offender's custody status, and understanding that offenders will be held accountable for their actions either through payment of restitution or other supervisory conditions. The payment of restitution is therapeutic; it holds offenders accountable for the harm they caused and assists in helping the victim reconstruct his/her life through monetary compensation. Second, victim-offender mediation programs may be a helpful therapeutic agent in individual cases. Involvement in mediation programs may help both the victim and the offender realize things about each other that can change their perspectives and assumptions (i.e., the offender's perception that no harm was caused, and the victims' misconception of "offenders as demons"). Probation and parole agencies can provide the information that would lead victims and offenders to participate in restorative justice practices. These actions validate the trauma victims have suffered and contribute greatly to the healing process.

While the primary goal for achieving justice may be through the provision of supervision and services to offenders, probation and parole agencies also can provide valuable services to victims of crime. Some of the more common victim services include the following: 

? Assessment of victim impact.

? Victim notification.

? Restitution collection.

? Referrals to services.

? Victim protection.

? Education about probation and parole.

More innovative services now include victim/offender mediation, circle sentencing, and victim impact panels. The need for training staff on the impact of crime on victims, related issues, and the need to identify ways to respond to probation and parole professionals who are victimized on- or off-the-job, are other areas that probation and parole agencies are beginning to address.

The purpose of this compendium is to identify elements of exemplary victim-related probation and parole practices and provide agencies with specific direction for the development and 




implementation of promising victim-related services and programs. Topics to be discussed in the following chapters are 

? Victim impact and victim notification.

? Restitution management.

? Victim-offender programs.

? Family violence.

? Workplace violence.

? Staff training on victim issues.

? Community relations and outreach strategies.

It would be impossible to highlight the many different promising victim-related practices and programs that have been implemented in probation and parole agencies nationally. A contact list for each chapter is provided in Appendix I. Community corrections professionals are encouraged to share information and promote the promising strategies and programs they have implemented for crime victims and to obtain more specific and indepth information from other agencies in the field.

More and more, probation and parole professionals are recognizing the importance of placing the needs of crime victims on a level with the needs of offenders. The victims' rights movement continues to be a powerful force, and community corrections must respond to those needs by providing the important services victims require to further the healing process.

As a result of its commitment to improve the policies and procedures that serve crime victims, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), within the Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice provided funding for the project that identifies Promising Victim-Related Practices and Strategies in Probation and Parole. The staff and consultants from the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), in cooperation with the Council of State Governments (CSG) designed and developed this document. This document, however, also draws on the ideas and experiences of many community corrections and victims services professionals who provide services to victims of crime across the nation.