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Probation Officers' Views on Supervising Women Probationers

NCJ Number
Women & Criminal Justice Volume: 16 Issue: 1/2 Dated: 2005 Pages: 65-85
Magnus Seng; Arthur J. Lurigio
Date Published
21 pages
This article examines probation officers' views on the different needs between male and female probationers.
Recently the proportion of women probationers has grown rapidly, yet few researchers have explored probation officers’ perceptions about these women’s needs for services or the case management techniques the officers use to supervise them. The authors conducted an anonymous survey of the probation officers employed by the Cook County Adult Probation Department (Illinois). Of the 315 surveys distributed, 224 officers (75 percent) completed the survey; more than half of the respondents (n=114) were women probation officers. After the self-report surveys were analyzed, follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of the probation officers to supplement and expand on the initial survey data. Analysis of the data shows that probation officers believe men and women on probation have different needs and therefore require different supervision strategies. In addition, the findings suggest that the multiple problems and challenges female clients present to their officers and the greater emotionality these clients express in their interactions with their officers often place greater demands on the officers’ time, energy, and skills. For these reasons, it was concluded that probation officers, especially female officers, thought that women probationers were more difficult to supervise than men probationers. References