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Changing Probation Officer Attitudes: Training Experience, Motivation, and Knowledge

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 77 Issue: 2 Dated: September 2013 Pages: 54-58
Christopher T. Lowenkamp; Alexander M. Holsinger; Anthony W. Flores; Igor Koutsenok; Natalie Pearl
Date Published
September 2013
5 pages

This study compared pre-training knowledge and beliefs to post-training knowledge and beliefs for a sample of San Diego County probation officers (n = 300) who participated in a 3-day skill-based training in the Integrated Behavioral Intervention Strategies (IBIS) curriculum.


The pre- post-survey findings indicate that the training had an immediate effect on several beliefs and knowledge bases. At a minimum, attitudes were changed regarding how the officers viewed the training and their competency. The training apparently reduced their obstinacy in accepting their need for the training, decreased the over-estimation of their existing skills, increased their awareness of their need for additional knowledge and skills related to their work, and reduced their complacency about professional advancement. There was also evidence among officers of an increased awareness of the importance of the characteristics and content of interactions between themselves and their clients in determining probation outcomes. Although attitudinal change reflected in differences between answers on the pre- and post-survey does not equate to behavioral change, the importance of attitudinal change should not be underestimated. Responses were obtained from a questionnaire administered immediately before the beginning of the first day of the training and again immediately after the training was completed on Day 3. The questionnaire was designed to assess the participants' knowledge, views, and attitudes about several aspects of their own training participation, criminogenic needs, and the prospect of offender change. A table of survey findings and 24 references