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Review of Probation Home Visits: What Do We Know?

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 77 Issue: 3 Dated: December 2013 Pages: 32-37
Eileen M. Ahlin; Maria Joao Lobo Antunes; Heather Tubman-Carbone
Date Published
December 2013
6 pages

This article highlights the importance of incorporating home visits as a key element in probation programs.


This article looks at the historical use of home visits in probation programs and discusses their use as a key element of these programs. Home visits are an important part of a probation program because they allow probation officers to have quality contact with a client in his or her personal environment. These visits also allow officers to act as positive role models and to monitor the treatment and service needs of their clients. This article documents the historical development of probation, from its beginnings in religion to its widespread use in English common law. During the latter part of the 21st century, probation programs moved away from the use of home visits and the overall use of probation and rehabilitation and towards a crime control policy focused more on control and punishment. Recent research suggests however that this shift has been far from effective at reducing crime and recidivism. Evidence-based research indicates that home visits can be a key element in probation programs because it serves the dual purpose of seeking to ensure public safety and the rehabilitation of the offender. Future research efforts should address several issues regarding the use of home visits. These issues include the impact of home visits on families and communities, how often and how many visits are needed for each offender, the use of home visits to monitor the behavior of high-risk offenders, and balancing the needs of offenders with the goals of probation officers. References