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Probation and Parole: Public Risk and the Future of Incarceration Alternatives

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 31 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1993) Pages: 549-564
Date Published
16 pages
The effect of probation and parole on criminal justice system's ability to incapacitate offenders is evaluated.
The recidivism records of probationers and parolees active in New Orleans (LA) between 1974 and 1986 were analyzed. The authors argue that the proportion of offenses committed by probationers and parolees is a more appropriate measure of criminal justice system (in)effectiveness than is the failure rate among such offenders, which other studies have shown to be high. In this study, probationers accounted for only about 8 percent of arrests for burglary or armed robbery; parolees, between 1 and 2 percent. For all index crimes, the proportions were 6.3 and 0.9 percent, respectively. These surprisingly low figures suggest that complete abolition of probation and parole would have a minimal effect on crime rates. Without these alternatives to incarceration, many guilty pleas now obtained through plea bargaining would not be secured; many more cases would go to trial, and many of them would be dismissed. 4 tables and 41 references

Date Published: January 1, 1993