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Standards in the Privatization of Probation Services: A Statutory Analysis

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Review Volume: 32 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2007 Pages: 233-245
Christine S. Schloss; Leanne F. Alarid
Date Published
September 2007
13 pages
This research examined Missouri statutes that address private probation guidelines and compared them with States that authorize private probation.
Analysis found statues lacking in standardization both between and within some States, but because the amount of detail within the statutes varied enormously, a comprehensive comparison could not be provided. Most private probation agencies supervise misdemeanor and municipal offenders; however, budgetary constraints in some States may push felony offenders into the hands of private providers as well. Probation supervision as a joint effort between State and private agencies could provide more extensive services with the cost at least partially paid by probationers. Mandating a set fee for supervision, and ensuring that all agencies charge at least the lower limits of the fee structure would also even out the requirements of supervision. If the fees were set and enforced, there would be a lower likelihood of agency competition for monetary compensation, and more focus on the actual services provided. A concerted joint effort could lower costs, encourage rehabilitation, mandate restitution, and increase community safety. In standardizing such guidelines and practices, extreme care should be taken to ensure that big business and political lobbyists do not influence legislators, and support company profits over the interest of the client or the general public. Through a statutory review of Missouri private probation guidelines, Missouri was found to have no statewide standardized guidelines for private agency approval, no requirements to provide any verification of fees collected, and an absence of educational and training requirements for private probation staff. Private probation agencies in Missouri are not required to carry insurance, and the current standards in place allow for wide discretion, inconsistencies, and possible conflicts of interest with treatment services provided by probation agencies. Other comparison States lacked standardization in offering private probation services. References