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Improving Legitimacy in Community-Based Corrections

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 78 Issue: 1 Dated: June 2014 Pages: 22-27
Joseph A. DaGrossa
Date Published
June 2014
6 pages
This article discusses the need for applying the concept of legitimacy to community-based corrections.
Studies have shown that people are more likely to comply with instructions from police officers if they have the view that the institution of policing is legitimate and just. Little research has been done, however about applying the concept of legitimacy to community-based corrections. This article seeks to address the lack of research in this area by exploring the various concepts of legitimacy, examining how perceptions of legitimacy are shaped and how these perceptions can encourage noncompliance with formal methods of social control, and offering a set of recommendations for probation officers to use to enhance the legitimacy of community-based corrections. These recommendations to probation officers include the following: 1) engaging offenders in a discussion of their criminal backgrounds and their motivations behind their crimes at the start of their supervision; 2) making cognitive-behavioral and other interventions available to offenders to enhance their decisionmaking skills; 3) emphasize the collaborative nature of the supervision process to offenders; 4) clearly outline the terms of supervision and any potential penalties at the beginning of supervision; 5) encourage offenders to provide their own account of any alleged violations of supervision; 6) explain the sanctions imposed as a result of violations; 7) form trusting relationships with family members of offenders and other collateral contacts; and 8) take steps to enhance the perception of legitimacy among organization staff. References