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Supervised Release and Criminological Practice

NCJ Number
Criminologie Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: special issue (1979) Pages: 78-88
Y Dandurand; J Laplante
Date Published
11 pages
The future of supervised release as a concept and as a system will depend on supervising officers' ability to recognize the intrinsically political nature of definitions of criminality and of penal intervention.
The rehabilitation ideal systematically developed by criminological practitioners fell under harsh criticism in the 1970's. Practitioners were left either to defend their position or to discover a new basis from which to operate. Three scenarios are drawn of the possibilities practitioners have of influencing changing ideologies as the antirehabilitation trend continues. The first is to support current efforts against imprisonment and supervised liberty by helping advance public acceptance of alternatives to institutionalization such as communal houses, restitution programs, neighborhood justice centers, and work and living projects at the grass-roots level of the communities. A second scenario sees the battle intensifying against prison, the medical model of intervention, and the whole system of criminal justice. Practitioners would espouse a policy of nonintervention or minimal intervention to counteract legislative, judicial, and correctional thrusts toward increased control. They would abvocate recourse to the private sector and community services for the correction of deviants and become involved in increasing the tolerance of the community and society to types of deviant behavior hitherto proscribed. In a third scenario, abolitionists point directly to the classist nature of the criminal justice system and call for the abolition of the entire system. Through all three scenarios the practitioners are encourage to support the criminal against the overpowering mechanisms of social control. To operate under any of the scenarios, the practitioners need a 'realist' view of criminality; i.e., the recognition that criminality emerges from the intolerance of the behavior some individuals by others who are more powerful. With this view, criminological prractitioners can proceed with the task of educating offenders as to how they differ from 'normal' society, rather than attempting to rehabilitate them. Thereby both practitioner and criminal can face up to the fundamentally political phenomena of social control. --in French.