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Parole Officer and Parolee Study - An Exploration in Describing Supervision

NCJ Number
Date Published
112 pages
The research strategy was to identify simple measures of a wide range of variables most significant in previous studies of parole supervision and to use the association of these variables with the measures of the present descriptive model of parole supervision to indicate the fruitfulness of that model.
If the results suggest fruitfulness in a variety of applications of the parole supervision model, then work should proceed on the development of operational scales for use with parole officers and in the application of rating scales similar to those used in this study to groups of change agents other than parole officers. The clusterings of parole techniques ratings by 31 parole officers and by 275 of their parolees comprise the empirical descriptive model. Basic supervision approaches are defined in the model by the classification of 16 parole techniques along three bipolar descriptive scales: (1) a focus on restricting maladaptiveness versus a focus on promoting adaptiveness, (2) a focus on behavior change versus a focus on attitude change, and (3) a focus on intervening versus a focus on informing. Combinations of scales 1 and 3 yield scales descriptive of degree of officer control and assistance. A combination of all three scales yields a scale of officer relative emphasis on management versus reciprocity. Management is defined by degree of intervention, focus on changing behavior, and focus on restricting maladaptiveness. Reciprocity is defined by informing, promoting adaptiveness, and focus on attitude change. The overall conclusion of the analysis is that management versus reciprocity or intervening versus informing, plus low assistance versus high assistance, were important distinctions made by the raters, while the other more specific distinctions can be neither confirmed as important nor shown to be meaningless. Details of the study are provided in the appendixes, including a descriptive profile of New Jersey parole supervision.