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Probation can be described as a court order through which an offender is often put under the supervision, control and care of probation field staff member in lieu of being imprisoned. The persons that are often placed on probation is mostly non-violent offenders. It is of the essence to understand that how well someone does on probation in many cases depends on how well the offenders needs, are assessed, how they are supervised and the resources that exist in facilitating rehabilitation and supervision.
However, there exist huge disparities when it comes to the number of people completing probation. The purpose of this study is to describe the successful completion rate of criminal probation sentences by Whites/Caucasians and African Americans. The study will examine how the type of offense (felony or misdemeanors), GPS monitoring of probationers and gender relates to the successful completion rates within the USA probation system. The study will also attempt to compare the successful completion rates among the northern and southern states of the United States.
Probation successful completion rates may indicate effective corrections by probation programs as the most frequently applied criminal sanction to correct or transform offenders as well provide a test of their correction. Therefore, for this reason, this research paper looks at the successful completion rate of criminal probation sentences.
The working will formulate hypothesis by which the data analysis will answer the following questions;
1. How do Whites/Caucasians and African Americans groups, gender, GPS monitoring and offense types correlate the United States successful completion of probation sentences?
2. Is there any significance difference between the successful probation completion rates among the southern or northern states of the United States?
Probation can be described as a community rehabilitation program that often aims to bring about positive changes in offenders through different and diverse targeted interventions and working directly with their families. The persons on probation may often continue with most of their day to day activities but they are often required to comply with certain conditions and standards that are stipulated by the court. It is important to understand that prison overpopulation as well as the exploding costs of incarceration have become a thorny issue for many states.
Therefore, probation provides a chance for offenders to be in the ‘outside world’ and still be under the direct supervision of the criminal justice system. They are subject to immediate incarceration if they mess up. Probation can be said to relieve overcrowding problems when it comes to prisons and jails. Further, they allow those on probation to realize what they got and why they cannot lose it. There is a need for effective probation in order to ensure that the persons that are in the probation systems get rehabilitated and are not a danger to the society. Recidivism is the act where an offender repeats the same undesirable behavior after having experienced the negative consequences of the behavior. There is a need for the probation system to ensure that that indeed the recidivism is reduced in order for the probation system to work effectively and efficiently.
A huge amount of funds is spent every year on the criminal justice system of the United States of America. In the year 2012, the federal state along with the local governments used a sum of $146 billion; on the protection of police, ($65 billion), ($32 billion) on court/legal services and ($49 billion) on correction. The weight of the government expenditure on America’s criminal justice system is at the level of state and local, on the other hand, the federal government uses funds strategically to control the criminal justice plan at the rest of the government levels.
As the federal administration along with states all over the nation struggle to stabilize budgets in the current challenging economic era, it is the time to re-evaluate the most wrecked of these bodies: the criminal justice structure. More than $68 billion dollars are used on a structure that significantly destabilizes the communities as well as disrupt the lives of people without any improvement in public safety. The government should consider refocusing expenditure on community-based, front-end resolutions that can look into the problems that cause rubbing shoulders with the criminal justice structure and lessen costly incarceration. It might seem quite impossible or difficult but it is one of the major ways of aiding the government expenditure.
From a political view, the crime management model of the criminal justice structure of the United States of America reflects conventional conservative principles, whereas the due procedure model symbolizes traditional moderate ideals. In the crime management mode, the management of criminal acts is by far the mainly crucial duty of the criminal justice. As a result, the initial spotlight of this model is on effectiveness in the running of the criminal justice procedure.
On the other hand, the target of the due process structure is at least as much to safeguard the innocent people as it is meant to condemn the guilty. Basically, the due process structure shields the ultimate of personal freedom and its defense, and rests on the theory that the deterrence of tyranny on the side of the government and its negotiators is the most vital duty of the criminal justice structure.
The American justice structure’s requirements for an efficient plan to deal with crime has for a long time been a heated debate. In actual fact, close evaluation shows that the center of the debate and inconsistent philosophies are basically liberal and conservative are commonly liberal and traditional and therefore political in nature. For a minute, the objectives of the American justice structure should be considered.
The main goals can be grouped into two very different missions: first, the need to implement the law and uphold social order, and secondly, the need to safeguard individuals from injustice. On the other hand, the two targets are generally believed to clash with each other. The primary goal is known as the crime control system and was formulated by Herbert Packer and later presented to the academic globe in his evaluation of the criminal justice structure in the 1960's.
A number of scholars have looked into both the crime management model as well as the due procedure model and have established great strengths along with weaknesses inbuilt to both of the processes. Liberal advocates of the due process structure think that the crime management model is very ruthless and follows the philosophy of a police nation. The disputes of the conventional followers of the crime control structure protest that the due process system safeguards the people responsible for crimes at the expense of guiltless decent citizens.
Race/Ethnicity and the Probation System
African Americans make up 13% of all the United States population, however, the constitute 29% of all arrests and 40% of all the inmates held in prisons and 42% percent of them are on death row. When it comes to probation and parole, African Americans are often on probation almost three times the rate of whites. Their completion rates are 53% lower than those of Whites. It is important to understand racism therefore, in order to understand the context of the probation rates and their complete succession. There are two views which are used to explain the different rates between Whites/Caucasians and African Americans in the rates of probation differ. One of the basic views is the class interest and the other is the white skin privilege. The white privilege view is a basic idea that the whites are averagely better than the black people, American Indians or the Latino and other groups of people.
The idea also is that white people benefit largely from the inequality that is as a result of the privilege over other groups. The economic impact brought about by this theory continues to affect the world up to date. The second view is the Marxist view which is also referred to as the class interest view. This states that due to racism, most workers are hurt because they are divided and unionizing is not easy for them, they are unable to bargain for wages to be increased and also demand for public services to be offered to them.
One acknowledgement of this theory is that white workers will have benefits as well as workers who are non-white if there were less conflicts and well as inequality. This has been reflected in the justice system where the incarceration of blacks is higher than any other race. This is also true with probation rates, with blacks getting as high as six times the rate of probation as compared to the whites/Caucasians.
As we lurch into the 21st century, there is existing confusion and anxiety that is widespread all over about the significance and meaning of race. This uncertainty has extended in sociology and has led to racial themes being founded and great attention accorded to the matter. There is extensive literature that tackles the issue of racism and there are many empirical studies that have been undertaken with a focus on issues of racism. Racism is a problem that is experienced all over the world.
There are many reasons which lead people to have racist attitudes towards others.
Discrimination has existed since time immemorial. The victims vary in different scenarios. Much of the reasons for discrimination, however, are closely related to gender, race, and social class. Differences in these characteristics have always existed and human beings have been affected by these divides. It is unfortunate that people base equality of their fellow humans using certain characteristics. The bases are ill informed. For example, a person of a certain race considers another to be inferior.
This cannot be true as both of them have almost the same constitution physically and even the same abilities when put through the same training. It is common, however, to see people treating certain people with preference more than others. Legally, much have changed in terms of how the law should be applied across the board (Firmin 102). The law basically looks at all people as equals. Through time a lot has had to be amended to accommodate the equality.
To date, in spite of all the social awareness the bias against various races still exists. Racism is quite a primitive way of viewing the world. Interestingly, the law has allowed it to go on since its inception. Over time, liberation has changed this perspective a great deal. At no particular time racism has been legalized since the start of liberation. It is funny how the marginalized races have been referred to in different times in history (Fletcher 45). Across the regions in the world it was a common practice for the races feeling superior to consider the one as not right.
This is despite the intellectual ability of the latter. The only way they could put it was that the people of certain race did not have the right qualities. These right qualities meant the norm to them. For instance, in the US and European countries, being of Chinese, African or South American descent rendered a person less equal than those of European descent.
Many attitudes take shape when one is still young and this is picked from those who are older than us. If those in the family unit express views which are considered racist, then it is very likely that the young ones will take on their views. This is a problem as this opinions will likely stay with the young ones for even a life time. In our day to day activities it is normal that we have preferences to spend time with those who have similar language, background and interests as ourselves. However, there is a downside to wanting spend time only with those who are like ourselves.
There is a possibility that there will be differences set up between different people and over a certain period of time one party will have the feeling that the other is better than others and this is likely to lead to racism. In addition to these people are easy and quick to judge putting labels on others. This makes for the many of the existing reasons why racism is a problem. There are many people who are affected by this problem.
There are two theories to analyse the problem. These theories are the conflict theory and the structural functionalism theory. According to the conflict theory, society is a system that is complex and in the society there is inequity which leads to conflict (Lang, 2000). Conflict in turn can result in social change. This theory has its basis on the idea that there are resources which are very limited within the society. Some of these resources are wealth, education, power and also prestige.
It is as a result of competition for these resources that conflicts occur as people needs these resources for survival and also in order to improve societal position. Racism is one societal problem that is as a result of conflicts. One of the most initial theorists on conflicts was Karl Marx. He is mostly associated with communism and socialism ideas. According to this theorist, racism is likely to be solved or minimized if the conflict theory. Collective ownership of property according to Marx would be able to solve conflicts which are common in an economy that is capitalistic.
The other theory is the structural functionalism. This theory states that a society is an organism which together with its systems serves as function for the society’s effectiveness and efficiency. This theory is a consensus which sees the society as an order which has been built upon balance. This theory has a view on norms as well as values which form basis of society which focuses on the social orders which have their basis agreements that are between organisations and groups.
This theory also focuses on the views of the social changes that occur in a way that is orderly and also slow in its nature. This theory acknowledges that so as to correct dysfunctions socially, it necessary for there to be changes. For issues of racism therefore, changes must occur in a way that is slow so that those involved can be able to adapt to the change without any rapid disorders that may result from faster changes.
Almost everyone can experience racism in one way or the other such as receiving bad comments or abuse in relation to the skin color. It is very offending especially for those who are subjected to this kind of abuse frequently. Sometimes it gets unbearable. Refugees, immigrants and also people who belong to communities which have low population are most likely to be affected by this problem. In the past the cases involving the problem were very high and overtime the cases have continued to decrease although there are still many cases.
New laws are in place to protect the population from such abuse and there are set measures that help in tackling such incidences. These cases are present in schools, churches, restaurants, home, online and even public places. In a survey carried out among black people and Latinos, close to 97 per cent have experienced cases of racism in the past year and of every two people in the 97 per cent category have experienced over 5 more incidences after the first incident (Eberhardt, 1998). There is pattern whereby as people continue to be more outspoken, the more they are airing their view without consideration of others. For this reason, the trend is problematic as more individuals are exposed to the problem and it has effects on the mental health of those facing abuse as well as causing emotional hurt to others.
Policy effects on successful probation
The stop, question and frisk policy has undoubtedly been one of the major policies that have received support and criticism in equal measure. The policy simply gives the police the right to stop an individual they suspect and give him a pat down to ascertain whether or not they have any illegal substances on them. If and when such substances are found then confiscation and legal proceedings are opened against them in accordance with the constitution. On the other hand, when found without anything they are released to go scot-free.
First and foremost it is important to note that this policy has legal backing as evidenced from the case Terry vs. Ohio , 392 U.S. 1 (1968). The case was about a policeman who noted two civilians suspiciously walking around a particular route a couple of times each time stopping at the same store. The policeman sensing they were planning a stick up followed them where they had met a third person and patted them down only to find one of them with an unlicensed revolver. He confiscated the fire arm and legal proceedings were opened against them.
In their defense, they argued that the revolver should not form part of the evidence since the pat down and search was unlawful. However, in the ruling the Judge declared that there was reasonable cause for the pat down as they were in fact acting suspiciously and the fire arm admitted into evidence (Horowitz, 1977). This ruling sets precedent and it is therefore quite legal for an administration officer to stop a suspicious looking individual and search him or her for any unlawful and harmful possession (Hess et. al. 2014).
It is important to note that this policy relies heavily on the judgment of a police officer based on their experience. The officer knows when one is looking suspicious and when one is not. It should also be noted that not all people who appear suspicious are actually suspicious and thus the letting free if nothing is found on them. However, most civil society groups have come out condemning the practice arguing that it amounted to racial profiling. They argued that for example in New York, Hispanics and African Americans represented a meager 4% of the population while more than half of the stop searches involved them (Bergner, 2014). It is important to actually note that 60% of homicide cases and more than half of arms related cases also involved these two classes of people. It is therefore only fair that the statistics resemble the crime distribution.
Impacts of Probation
Probation often offers offenders the opportunity to stay in the community as compared to serving time in Prison, it is important to note that since the beginning of community supervision in 1841, probation has proven to be a very effective method when it comes to rehabilitation. Probation benefits the offenders, victims as well as the society. Probation in the United States was started by John Augustus of Boston who convinced a court to release a truant individual into his custody in the year 1841. He had the belief that with proper guidance these persons would reform. He therefore, expanded his effort in order to include children and he effected the release of about 1,100 people by the year 1852. By the year 1878, the Massachusetts Courts implemented the use of probation in a Statewide manner and all states soon followed suit with juvenile probation by the year 1930.
Probation can be said to provide many offenders, especially those on low-risk an alternative to being incarcerated. It is of the essence to note that families can be able to remain together while the probation officer rehabilitates the offender through a variety of social services such as life skills, alcohol and drug treatment, and general ways to behave in the society. This is important as it reduces the likelihood of the offender committing future crimes.
The person on probation does not have to anyway spent time in prison, and this saves the taxpayer thousands of dollars. It is critical to comprehend that indeed if the offender is out of custody and he is working, he will be able to effectively pay restitution to his victim. However, it should not be forgotten that there are those that do not honor probation and take the probation time to commit new crimes.
Probation can be said to dramatically reduce the taxpayer costs in regards to keeping individuals out of prison. In fact, studies have shown that probation costs about $2,000 a year while prison costs about $25,000 per year. It is critical to note that when the individuals can be able to remain in the community ad work, it benefits not only the offender but the society as a whole. The individual in this instance can be able to contribute to the economy building instead of becoming a drain on it. Probation is known to hold offenders accountable for their behavior by charging them with a big responsibility; the responsibility of paying restitution to the victims.
Probation Programs, Tools and Operations
Until recently, probation agencies have not been able to experience many of the technological advances that other different public sector agencies have experienced. In fact, there has been the use of computer technology as well as electronic monitoring to offenders on house arrest supervision. However, with the increased use of technology in the private and public sector, probation agencies have researched on applications of new tools as well as innovations in order to better probation.
In the process of probation, there is the use of probation officers and managers. They are the ones that are involved in taking care of the person on the probation and supervising him or her. They can be said to be mobile based as they often work in the community in order to conduct surveillance, supervision as well as the investigation of the offenders. The homes of the probationers can be said to be the office base of the probation officers.
There is a need to ensure that the process of probation is both effective and efficient. Therefore, in order for this to work, there is a need to ensure that indeed there exists a framework that facilitates communication between the probation officer and the probationer. This will ensure that they both understand each other and that the probation officer can help the person recover, and the process of rehabilitation can effectively take place.
Some of the technology that is used by the probation officers when it comes to supervision, investigation and reporting include imaging, virtual reality, video conferencing and bar coding. The imaging technology is often known to assist those who have initially processed the offender. This is because it provides a time-saving means for entering accurately identifying data on the offender into the computer database. The fingerprints, as well as photos, can often be obtained from booking offices in jails by computer linkage.
This process is important and saves staff time and work during the intake process of a probationer. The Barcoding technology is often used to better track files when it comes to cases of supervision. It also serves in the provision of identification cards for the offenders that are to be used when the offender reports are assigned to probation officers. The Virtual reality technology can be applied to cases on community supervision. The offender can often be referred to a treatment vendor in order to administer the technology to change certain behaviours, and this especially occurs in terms of drug and alcohol abuse. The staff can be used to determine the method of street survival without them being subjected to actual dangerous situations.
This study will use secondary research as the main form of getting data. The secondary data will be gotten from Websites, Books, Journal articles and recordings. This will ensure that there is sufficient data in order to conduct a carefully planned analysis. The study will involve the getting of data from different sources that are accredited as well as peer-reviewed articles that relate to probation rates amongst African Americans and Caucasians.
There will also be the use of formulated projected data in some states that do not have the data forthcoming. Past data on probation rates in these states will be used in order to better make a more considerate and detailed analysis of the question at hand. In order to better understand the disparity, several states will be chosen. Close-ended questionnaire and an open-ended questionnaire were the main instruments used for data collection in the different States. There was also the use of Interviews.
For the purpose of this study, both primary and secondary data collection were employed. By using primary data, survey of the study area was conducted to collect and collate information on the Successful completion probation rates amongst African Americans and Caucasians.
A primary source of data involved first hand information from the field or the study population through the use of structured questionnaires and interviews. Secondary sources are primarily the works of other researcher and authors which are in the form of books, articles from journals and newspapers, in addition to the use of electronic information especially from the internet, where related articles to the topic is being accessed for the purposes of the study. This research intended to use secondary data in order to go hand in hand with the primary data.
Data collection from the field was analyzed by means of expressive tables and tools. This provided a more graphical depiction for data analysis. Bar graphs, pie charts and tables were used for pictorial representation. After the tables are derived and interpreted, they were analyzed with allusion to the literature that was reviewed. Attempts were then made to illustrate relations as to whether a fastidious finding was supported or not by the reviewed literature.
The Four probation departments that will be used in the study include Texas, Iowa, Oregon and New York. There will be the use of the variety of the study sites in order to allow the proper examination of disparities in settings that are wide ranging. It is also of the essence to understand that the four probation departments have been chosen because they are responsible for the revocations in probation.
The study requested data regarding probationer demographics, probation performance, criminal history and the revocation outcomes. The data elements which the sites made available were of consistent data quality. There is also the supplement of the data with interviews with several probation staff in order to understand the respondents view of a disparity as well as bias that currently exists in the criminal justice system. The study team interviewed 20 probation officers across the four states.
The study also obtains data from all the states of America in order to make a comparison between the South and North in terms of successful completion rate of probation. Some of the data were found in the State’s website. Again, information was requested from the various departments in the different states, and this data was made available by the States. This information is vital as it gives a perspective of the difference that exists between the Northern States and the Southern States in terms of probation. The research study team, also looked at the general crime history in the Northern States and Southern States. This information was requested from the Criminal Justice department, and it intended to show the crime pattern that might have led to the probation in the first place.
Analysis that will be done includes computing to create probation completion rate variable, regressing the completion rate as an independent variable against the populations of White/Caucasians, African Americans, gender (males and female probationers), probationers monitored by GPS, southern states, northern states, most serious offense (felony), most serious offense (misdemeanors) as independent variables (IV) and a descriptive statistics for all the variables involved in the study.
The research team also used the Blinder-Oxaca decomposition method in order to analyse the existing contributors that led to the disparity. It is important to understand that Blinder-Oxaca decomposition method informs practice and policy differently as compared to the logistic regression as it breaks down the difference that exists in the revocation rates therefore, leading to the probationers not successfully contributing their probation.
It breaks down the difference that exists in revocation rates for each group by pairing for example, the pairing of black and white probationers in a portion which can and cannot be explained by the differences that exist in characteristics in the model. The portion is often explained by group differences in the characteristics that are interpreted in the amount that is observed. The disparity in most cases often narrows if the two groups of probation share the same characteristics in terms of the variables that were included in the model. The remaining portion can be described as the amount of disparity which exists and would remain if at the all the characteristics between the two groups were not in any way equalized. This unexplained portion in most cases is due to unequal treatment or group differences that are not captured in the model.
Limitations on Methodology and Data Collection
It is important to note that there was data on some key factors that related to revocations of probation that was not available for analysis. In fact, in the study, the most pertinent information that was missing was in regards to details regarding violation behaviour. There was no enough data regarding the violation type and whether the violations that occurred related to new crimes or even the probation conditions. This is a very strong limitation as one does not understand why revocation occurred.
The views on ethnicity and race in the criminal justice expressed in the interviews of the probation staff were consistent across the four States that were used. The interviewed respondents expressed their belief that the bias existed in other areas of justice system other than the probation system. This was, in particular, to arrest decisions as well as sentencing. The interviewed respondents argued that minorities were more likely to be arrested by police, found in violation of their probation and consequently get their probation revoked.
There were, however, a fewer respondents in the different states that differed from this opinion and argued that they had never witnessed racial as well as ethnic bias in regards to probation. Through the data collected the four States as well as other American states, the research study consistently found a disparity in probation completion rates amongst black and white persons. In all the four states that the study looked at, black probationers experienced a probation revocation rate that was higher than that of their white counterparts. Therefore, they had a lower probation successful completion rate as compared to Caucasians.
The revocation rates for the black probationers in the sample studies ranged from 55% higher than white probationers. Therefore, the whites had a successful completion rate that was about 45% higher than that of Blacks. It is important to understand that the differences in Successful completion of probation between the white and black probationers were statistically significant in all the States that were looked at.
It is important to understand that thirty-year percent of offenders recidivated within five years of commencing of supervision in the site areas. 25 percent were re-arrested and 13% got their probation revoked. In the research study, there was disparity in probation revocation outcomes to the disadvantage of black probationers. In all the four sites that were looked at, the black probationers experienced revocation outcomes to the disadvantage of black probationers. It is important to note that there were a number of differences between white, Hispanic and black probationers in the attributes that related to the odds of revocation.
For example, it is of essence to comprehend that in all the four study sites, the black probationers had higher risk scores and more extensive as well as serious criminal histories. These characteristics were positively related to the odds of revocation and consequently a decrease when it came to the successful rate of probation. In order to effectively understand the controlling factors for the successful completion of probation rates, the research study team constructed a logistic regression models that were used to investigate whether the disparate outcomes persisted after the controlling of the factors.
Regression results, compared to Black probations
State of Texas -19%
New York -30%
It is important to recognize that the findings are not directly comparable to others in the four study sites because the data varied across the four sites. In each of the study sites, the black probationers had substantially as well as statistically significant odds of not completing the probation programs than white probationers. The odds of the probation being revoked stood at between 18% and 39% lower as compared to their black counterparts after the controlling for the available factors. It is of the essence to note that all the results were significant at the (p
In terms of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method, the differences in attributes constituted to about 51 percent to around 80% of all the observed disparity that existed between black and white probationers. It is also important to comprehend that between 20 and 49% of the attributes could not be explained by the group differences in the model. In all the States, the unexplained proportion of the disparity that existed between the black, as well as white decomposition, was statistically significant (p
Unlike the comparison that existed between black and white probationers, group differences in the different attributes explained almost all the revocation disparity that existed in New York City. Therefore, this shows that it was extremely difficult for a black man living in New York to successful complete probation because of group differences in attributes. Whether bias can be said to be the cause of disparity can be said to be a primary concern in the disparity research.
The portion of the disparity which could not be explained by the group differences can be said be an unequal treatment that was based on the race. However, as stated in the limitation sections, the research study cannot with confidence state, whether indeed the unexplained disparities that existed in revocations can be attributed to bias. However, it would be foolhardy not to state that some of the unexplained disparity might be as a result of the inequalities that exist in violation behavior that was not included in the research models.
The size of the unexplained portion can be said to be sufficient enough in order to raise concerns about the presence of bias and this is a disadvantage towards black probationers. Although the research lacked information regarding violation behavior, there were some states that the research had some violation as well as rearrest data which can be said to be significant in unexplained portions.
Given this consistent research that it is harder the for blacks to finish probation as compared to whites, it seems prudent to assume that some level of bias may be occurring in the practice and there is a need to seek options in order to remediate it. However, the responsibility for the revocation and subsequent non-completion of the probation program can be said to be diffuse. This is because it involves probation officers, judges as well as court liaison staff. Therefore, even if the bias appears to be operating, it becomes extremely necessary to determine in which process it may reside in.
The B-O model also was used to estimate the contributions of each of the differences in each of the variables towards the disparity that existed between black. The importance of this method cannot be understated as it provides important insight into the drivers of the differences that exist in the successful completion rate of probation.
The available data varied by site and important factor that existed in a site might be omitted from another one, however, any broad conclusions that were drawn regarding the most important group differences that contributed to revocation disparities can be said to be provisional. The strong influence of the differences that existed in criminal history, this includes past probation terms and number/ the severity of convictions stands out. The risk assessment scores that are based primarily based on criminal history also stands out. According to this research, the risk assessment scores can be said to be the largest contributor to the white-black disparity in completion rates in Texas State and Iowa.
In these sites, it was found that black probationers had what could be described as higher risk scores as compared to their white probationers. Higher risk scores were also related to the higher odds of revocation. When it came to Texas State, the risk assessment differences made a greater contribution to the disparity between differences in having probation violations. Lastly, when it came to Oregon County, the criminal history made the largest contribution to the number of past probation spells that contributed to around 37% of the disparity while criminal history severity score contributed to about 10% of the disparity.
It is critical to comprehend that the supervision level, as determined by a risk assessment and this did not make a significant contribution towards the disparity. New York City did not use the risk assessment for probation in the study period. Again, it is of the essence to note that the findings are not in any way directly analogous across the four study sites because the data was not all available across the states. Therefore, again as stated in the limitations research, not all information that was requested from the Department of Justice in the States was submitted to the research team. The Southern States had a more successful rate of probation completion as compared to the Southern States.
The purpose of this study was to explain the disparity that exists between blacks and whites in the successful completion of probation. This study also looked at the successful completion of probation in the North as compared to the South. It is important to realize that in the course of this thesis, it also shed light on the drivers that cause the disparity. The disparities are an issue at decision points throughout the criminal justice system, and they examine probation revocation, and the research paper hopes that it will inform a larger discussion.
Although the results from the four sampled States are not directly comparable, the consistency that was found in the main findings across the four states suggests the characteristic of racial as well as ethnic disparity.
It is necessary to note that the states that allowed to participate in the analysis of the disparity had already been previously engaged in proper ways of mitigation of justice system disparities. This therefore, suggests that the findings that were found in the four States can be said to be a conservative estimate of the extent of disparities in the probation and consequently towards the successful completion of probation between black and whites. The most striking find in the research study can be said to be the presence of disparity in the probationer revocation outcomes, and this was a disadvantage to the black probationers. The revocation rates for the black probationers was seen to be higher than those of whites in each and every state that was sampled. The greater odds of revocation remained statistically significant.
In regards to the interviews, a common theme that was found in the interviews was the existence and admittance of bias that existed within several areas in the justice system. This was particularly concerning sentencing and arrest decisions. For example, it is of the essence to understand that indeed biased policing could lead to more arrests for blacks and this could automatically initiate or even at times be the reason for the persons not completing his probation program. The results clearly showed that the differences that existed in criminal histories, risk assessments, and supervision levels were among the top contributors that led to the disparity.
Therefore, it can be said that the contributions of group differences especially when it came to criminal history measures could reflect this disparity in the front-end justice system practices. The Front-end disparity often has a compounding effect beyond the initial decision point. The differences in the success rates across the states suggest the need to have the ground discussion of the revocation disparity, and this should be done in the context of how extensively probation revocation occurs. Oregon State experienced the greatest disparity between the success rates for the white and black probationers.
The black probationers in this states had a revocation at twice the rate that existed for the white probationers during the same study period. It is here where the logistic regression model indicated fully that the odds of the revocation and consequent non-success of the white probationers were about 36% less than those odds for black probationers and this was when the controlling differences between the two groups were managed.
Using Regression, given the 2% base revocation rate, the impact of these disparities can be said to be much smaller than those disparities that were found in areas where the revocation rate was a more common outcome. Further, the lowering of revocation rates can be said to reduce the harm the disparity in revocation rates causes, and this can only happen when the reduction of the revocation rates occur in all racial as well as ethnic groups.
It can, therefore, be said to be encouraging that indeed both New York and Texas reduced increased the success rates for probationers immediately after the study period. The two states where the regression models estimated the greatest difference between the successes for the black and white probationers were Oregon County and Iowa. It is extremely important to note that these are states that have a predominantly white population even in terms of probationers.
It is critical to note that regardless of the reason that exists behind it, the racial and ethnic disparity that exists in the justice system can be said to be problematic and in fact it needs to be labeled as soon as possible. The contribution of group differences in order to disparate revocation rates is, therefore, important as the unexplained portion and this might be because they often offer potential targets for system change in order to remediate disparity.
There is no society that exists without crime. Crime has been in existence since the commencement of the universe; even primitive communities have been known to have one or two criminals that are involved in crime. This issue has often been taken with a seriousness it deserves only when the statistics are seen to be rising. This habit needs to stop, and there is a need to take care of the problem of crime even when the crime rates are low.
In fact, it is often said that prevention is better than cure and consequently, there is a need to defend the community despite crime rates being either high or low. In the United States, violent crimes are often referred to some of the most serious criminal offenses that a personage can be charged with and consequently they often carry the heaviest penalties. There are only a few types in the U.S that are categorized under violent crimes; they include murder, robbery, assault, and homicide. These are crimes that most people of color engage in and are the ones that are found in their records according to the research.
The Group differences in criminal history as well as the risk assessment scores can be said to be the main and primary contributors to the disparities that existed in the revocation outcomes in the models used in the research study. The impact of these two measures on the revocations was expected before the beginning of the study. It serves as a reminder of the significance that lies in the using of risk assessment in order to inform good-risk reduction efforts, as compared to focusing on supervision surveillance on the high-risk probationers.
Correction research has supported the use of risk and needs assessment of offenders after they are placed on probation and periodically after that. These assessments can be described as formal evaluations as they often rely on data that exists from case file reviews, questionnaires, interviews of the offender's criminal history, as well as the causes of the criminal activity. The risk assessment of provides a consistent as well as accurate approach towards the distinguishing of which offenders can be said to provide a higher risk to the community safety and consequently should receive what can be said to be closer supervision of placed in the communities and amidst other persons. However, there is a need, not present bias as it has been shown in this research; there exists a lot of disparities in terms of revocations for probation in almost all the States.
The conditions on the ground according to interviews indicate the vestiges of racial prejudice. One of the respondents argued that a black man accused of rape or murder in a white neighborhood appears guilty to the jurors even before the case is concluded. The slightest conclusive evidence is bound to convince the juror panel that the accused is guilty. The prosecutors are still using racially biased elements of the accused to try to prove the guiltiness of the accused.
At the time of a murder, the victim was fully clothed. Therefore, the image that was presented in the court can only be considered to serve one purpose: to make the jurors fear an image of a rowdy black youth whom everybody is afraid of. However, this is not the absolute truth as the victim was just a black teenager walking home and who had no criminal record whatsoever. A mysterious twist, in this case, is that the accused was not white but of Spanish descent. This introduces hierarchy in the racial issue in our courts.
From cases such as that of Travon, it is clear that even today there is an aspect of race in our courts in terms of the dispensation of justice and access to the fair trial. Retrospectively, when the accused belongs to the right racial background, the possibility of being favored is higher than in the opposite case. Although it is true that particular types of crime are very prevalent in neighborhoods inhabited by members of certain races, it is not always true that an accused belonging to that particular race is guilty of the crime. It is very common to hear of murder, rape, and domestic violence crimes in the neighborhood inhabited by the blacks and Hispanics. However, this does not mean that every member of this descent accused of the crimes is guilty. In our courts coming from these backgrounds renders a person more susceptible to be handed a guilty verdict if accused of these crimes. Statistics has shown that this is true. From statistics, it is also clear that being of a certain race raises the possibility of longer jail terms when found guilty.
The findings of this research can be said to be consistent and they find that in order for offenders to be successful while on probation there is a need for effective and equal treatment, provision of assistance programs that the probationers need such as drug treatment, employment assistance, anger management and mental health counselling. In addition, most of the programs are often found to be effective when they are carried out under the cognitive behavioral approach. The cognitive-behavioural therapy aims not only at the exact problems of the offender such as unemployment or drug use but also it involves the patterns of thinking and decision-making that led the person to the criminal behavior.
Currently, there are no accepted national standard for how many probationers should be on a probation officer's caseload. However, the literature on probation has found out that increased supervision levels, as well as the creation of lower probation officer caseloads, can be a key towards effective probation. This was a phenomenon that was examined in the four states and those the officers that had lower caseloads allowed the probation officers to have more contact with the offenders. The frequent probation contacts can be seen as a deterrent for the probationers because of the increased risk that often comes with getting caught in new criminal activities or even the violation of any conditions of the probation.
In conclusion, the completion rate of probation for whites was higher than that of blacks in all the states that were sampled. Further, when it was looked in all United States, the revocation rate for blacks was higher than that of any ethnic and racial group. This was a disadvantage to the black probationers because they could not be able to complete their probation successfully. This shows that indeed there exists the bias in the justice system, and this was evidence through interviews and questionnaires that were administered.
The areas that were highlighted according to the interviews and questionnaires were mainly in regard to sentencing and arrest decisions. Biased Policing was more associated with blacks. The completion rate of a successful probation program was lower in Northern States as compared to Southern States. It is imperative to note that this research did not dwell on this phenomenon but had an overview of it. This, therefore, presents future opportunity for researchers to look at this area and discuss some of the circumstances that might have led to this disparity which is significantly relevant.
Racial bias can be said to be the main reasons for the bias that exists between white and black probationers. Thus, it can be argued that the bias that exists at the front end of the justice system can continue to negatively affect outcomes for the different minority population through their justice system involvement. The research confirmed that indeed blacks have lower successful probation completion rates as compared to whites
Andersen, M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2006). Sociology: Understanding a diverse society. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Robert M. Bohm, K. N. (2009). Criminal Justice 7th ed. Tiffin: McGrawHill.
Eberhardt, J. L., & Fiske, S. T. (1998). Racism: The problem and the response. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Lang, B. (2000). Race and racism in theory and practice. Lanham [u.a.: Rowman & Littlefield
Ratele, K., & Duncan, N. (2003). Social psychology: Identities and relationships. Cape Town: JUTA.
Rooney, A. (2006). Racism. North Mankato, MN: Smart Apple.
Sue, D. W. (2003). Overcoming our racism: The journey to liberation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bas
Bergner, D. (2014, March 19). Is stop and frisk worth it. The Atlantic.
Hess, K. M., Orthmann, C. M. H., & Cho, H. L. (2014). Police operations: Theory and practice. Clifton Park, N.Y: Delmar.Your legal lady. (n.d.). legal lady.
Spitzer, E., & New York (State). (1999). The New York City Police Department's stop & frisk practices: A report to the people of the State of New York from the Office of the Attorney General. New York, N.Y: Civil Rights Bureau.
In the United States, there are gun laws that are in place both on a national and state level. The main aims of the gun laws are regulating the sale, possession and the use of ammunition and firearms. The federal firearms laws differ from different states, but they are a few clauses that happen to be common. Some states have some very strict laws while others happen to have some laws that are a little bit lenient. In forty-four states, in the United States, there is a provision that is similar to the second Amendment to the United States constitution. Those who possess firearms need to abide by the firearm law of the states they are in at the moment rather than their state of residence.
In the state of California, the gun laws are rather strict, but there is further need for the restrictions to be made much stronger. The state possesses some of the most strict firearm laws compared to the other states. In the state, the strictness of the law varies from one part to the other. In urban areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco, the rules happen to be much strict compared to other non-urban areas those who portray ill intent with firearms are the ones that get charged (Janiskee 297). In some communities, it is particularly hard to possess a firearm, and there are provisions that are already put in place to make this very hard.
For one to be a dealer in the sale of firearms, they have to be vetted and then approved by being included in the state’s roster of dealers. For the private sale of firearms, this must be done through a known and accepted dealer. The sales then have to be recorded by the state and require a ten-day period before the state can approve. The state does not provide for any clause giving individuals the right to bear or possess a firearm. The possession or sale of assault rifles, which happen to be automatic firearms, is a prohibited in the state.
Anyone who wants to purchase a firearm also fills in an application which after reaching the authorities, a background check is done on the application to ensure the applicant does not have any criminal record. The results of the check are only available until a whole month is over, or rather thirty days. The main advantage of doing so is ensuring that the possession of the firearm does not find itself in the wrong hands. If it proves that the applicant has a doubtful past, then the purchase cannot proceed and the person is not viable for purchasing the firearm. The transfer of the ownership of a rifle is also prohibited under state law and under no circumstances is one supposed to give out their firearm. This is to avoid the use of one’s firearm to commit an act of crime or cause harm to the public.
In the state, it is also prohibited to carry a concealed firearm, but this differs in the different areas of the state. In some towns, one can carry a concealed weapon but in others like San Francisco or Los Angeles one is prohibited from carrying a concealed rifle. However, a resident of another state is allowed to carry a concealed weapon as long as they possess concealed carry permits (Lott 233). In Los Angeles and San Francisco concealed carry permits from other states are not recognized. It is therefore, not even allowed for a resident of another state to carry a concealed weapon between within these boundaries.
The state of California is also very notorious for the many gangs found there. The gangs are notorious for breaking the firearms law, and their members possess illegal firearms that they do not possess licenses. It specifically becomes a heard task trying to track down their members and the viscous activities. The gang members identify themselves through things like clothing or tattoos. The gangs engage in very many illegal activities ranging from drug and human trafficking to the sale of illegal weapons. The weapons they sell are either stolen from the government, or they are brought as imports from other nations (Henigan 67).
It is the particular business of the sale of illegal weapons that poses a threat to the strict rules on firearms in California. The illegal weapons distributed by the gangs and their members are first not registered like it a main requirement before one possess a firearm. The weapons in specificity firearms sell at a cheaper price compared to the prices of firearms in the authorized dealers. They therefore, also affect the market of the sale of firearms and the shops count losses since most of their customers opt to buy the cheap guns which they get on paying rather than have to follow lengthy legal procedures.
The firearms distributed may also find themselves in the wrong hands with the criminals being the main customers. The effect of this is the increase in crime rates in the society and this forces the respective groups to go out of their way to reduce these crime rates. The firearms also find themselves in the hands of people who cannot even shoot and the outcome of a person who does not know how to handle a firearm having one is a nightmare. The effect is the same as a recruit who cannot drive sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle and attempting to drive.
The state government of California should therefore, find ways to stop the illegal firearm trade carried out by the gangs. The use of information from the communities in which the gangs exist may prove to be very helpful. Once they have known who the gang members are, it becomes much easier to attack or ambush them when carrying out this illegal business (Bruce 88). If the state government can reduce the gang members and their illegal activities, this would help in a very big way to strengthen the firearms acts. In doing so, the will cut out the supply of illegal firearms, and this is by far the first stage of progress.
The second step would be to raise awareness to the public on the dangers of possessing of illegal firearms. The public should be made aware of the implications that they would face if the state found them with a firearm illegally acquired and not having a license to permit one such firearm. The state government should go ahead to provide an amnesty period for those in possession of illegal firearms. During this period, individuals possessing illegal firearms would be urged to come forward to the state offices and give up their weapons and not face any federal or state charges. This method is expected to work perfectly if the public is well informed.
Two years ago, there was a bill that if approved would ban the sale of most types of semi-automatic rifles that allow detachable magazines. The bill was however, under too much pressure especially from the National Rifle Association which threatened to sue the state of California if the governor signed the bill to law. The bill had also redefined assault weapons, and therefore if passed most of the firearms would fall under the new category of assault rifles and would therefore become illegal. The bill was later on vetted and is still in use till now.
The state government should also conduct random searches in all the gun dealers. This is to ensure they do not sell the illegal firearms that are prohibited by the state or fail to follow the needed procedures in the sale. The dealers should also have been registered, and if a dealer is found to be selling firearms without the approval of the state, the correct legal action should be taken on them. The most important forum that the state government should use is to enforce the public with the knowledge about firearms. This empowerment of the public is a very key method in trying to enforce any rule.
In conclusion, the state government of California despite having already in place strict rules in firearms, there is a need to work an extra mile. This should make the state maintain the strictest rules when it comes to firearms and this will in a good way help reduce the crime rates. The public however, have to play their part to make sure this is successful. The only way this can be achieved is the public helping by being responsive and following the rules set up.
Janiskee, Brian P, and Ken Masugi. The California Republic. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. Print. Pg 297.
Henigan, Dennis A. Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths That Paralyze American Gun Policy. Washington, D.C: Potomac Books, 2009. Internet resource. Pg 67.
Bruce, John M, and Clyde Wilcox. The Changing Politics of Gun Control. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998. Print. Pg 88.
Lott, John R. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print. Pg 233.
The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act is a law passed to protect mentally ill individuals from accessing or owning firearms in 2013. Despite the Act being considered as the only one in the nation to provide comprehensive and effective gun control; the law is faced by a lot of criticism. There have been constant debates on the Act causing more harm than benefits to mentally unstable individuals. Due to the fear of being reported to the authorities, some mentally ill individuals might conceal some information from the medical professionals examining them. The Act has faced a lot of criticism from the fact that it strains the confidentiality code between patients and medical professionals (Daviss et al, 2013).
Statement of the Law
The New York Safe Act of 2013 was made effective on the March 16, 2013, after being passed by the New York Legislature sixty days before March 16. The New York Safe Act of 2013 is the most comprehensive and effective gun control law passed in the United States. The Act is aims at the provision of protection to mentally unstable individuals, who pose a threat to themselves and other individuals, the right to own or access to a firearm. The law is quite effective since it only limits the ownership of a firearm to individuals who due to their mental state cause might cause harm to themselves or others. The Act resolved the problems that the National Rifle Association had to undergo in avoiding putting limits on the ownership of firearms. The National Rifle Association was also avoiding the issuing of firearms to ‘insane killers’. However, the National Rifle Association has no power to single out individuals who have mental illness for further investigation. In this essay, the discussion revolves around the New York Safe Act of 2013 and its effect on the mentally ill patients.
In a certain portion of the Act, the medical professionals are needed to report cases of individuals who possess violent thoughts to the public health authorities. Some experts in the sector are concerned that the law might end up causing more harm than good for individuals who seek mental health services. The mental patients might resort to failing to expose if they previously had any thoughts of suicide or any activity meant to inflict harm on a personal level or to other individuals (Knopf, 2013). This is without considering whether or not they own a gun since they fear the medical professionals might end up reporting them to the authorities. The fear of being reported turns the medical approach of mentally ill patients from a clinical approach to that of the public safety issue. Confidentiality is one of the major qualities that medical professionals need to maintain with their patients to ensure that the patients feel comfortable seeking help.
Evidence for and against the effectiveness of the law
However, the fact that the medical professionals need to report any mentally ill individual that might cause public harm to the authorities is one of the parts of Act that faces a lot of criticism. First of all, this breaks the confidentiality that is supposed to remain amongst a medical profession and a patient. Therefore, due to the code of confidentiality being broken, the patients may feel uncomfortable talking to medical professionals about their mental state. In issues that include suicide or any reasons that can cause harm to the safety of the public, the patients might decide not to reveal such information. The authorities intervene and search for more information on the individual. After that, the conclusion is made to ensure whether a license should be awarded or revoked for the individual. The involvement of the authorities is not necessary since the violent act has not yet occurred (Mukherjee, 2013). The involvement of the authorities should be sought when there is an imminent threat that the medical professionals have discovered.
It is significant to note that when individuals seek therapy to talk about homicide or suicide activities have no relationship to a psychiatric disorder. In addition, the medical professional who reports a dangerous mentally ill patient receives both civil and criminal immunity. However, there is uncertainty on what information and how it should be reported. Another uncertainty is whether a mentally ill patient who has thoughts of harming others or himself and is not a gun owner should be reported to the authority (Gibbons & Michelle, 2013). However, the medical professions are concerned that in case they fail to report one of their patient’s and something terrible happens, then they will feel liable. The Act was created with the aim of trying to protect mentally ill patients who own a gun to cause harm to themselves or the public.
In conclusion, the enactment and approval of the New York Safe Act of 2013 was a recommendable achievement by the New York Legislature. The main reason for the implementation of the Act is to try and prevent mentally ill patients the access of firearms if they have any motives of inflicting harm on themselves or others. According to some critics, the New York Safe Act turns medical professionals into policemen and detectives. Therefore, there is a strain on the relationship between the patients and the physicians. The code of confidentiality meant to be maintained by the physicians, in order to maintain a good relationship with the patients.
There are a number of issues that required resolutions when it comes to the Act. One of them is whether medical professionals should report any mentally ill patients who do not possess a firearm, but have dangerous motives. Another issue that should be reviewed is what methods should be used when reporting the behavior of mentally ill patients that is threatening. The fact that the Act breaks the confidentiality of the patient, and the medical profession should be reviewed. The review will increase restore the trust of mentally ill patients to confide their problems in a medical professional.
Daviss, Steve, Dinah Miller, and Annette Hanson. "Gun Control and Mandatory Reporting of Dangerous Patients." Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness Find a Therapist. 22 Jan. 2013.
Gibbons, Daniel C., and Michelle Yuen. "The New York SAFE Act of 2013 and Its Profound Effect on Mental Health Care Providers and Their Patients." NIXON PEABODY. 22 Mar. 2013. /NY_SAFE_Act_of_2013_and_its_effect_on_healthcare_providers>.
Knopf, Alison. "Guns and Mental Illness: NY SAFE Act." Guns and Mental Illness: NY SAFE Act. 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
Mukherjee, Sy. "Why Mental Health Professionals Are Concerned About New York’s New Gun Safety Law." ThinkProgress RSS. 16 Jan. 2013.
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