Goals Theory Essay: Probation and Parole – Theory and Goals

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Probation and Parole – Theory and Goals

Unit III


BCJ 3150

Columbia Southern University

The goal of both probation and parole are to rehabilitate offenders and guide them back into society while protecting the community from these very same criminals (Abadinsky, 2018). Existing in both probation & parole are incentives to following the rules, staying out of trouble, not breaking laws & ordinances, addiction assistance, and mental health care among others. For many parolees and probationers, these programs and assistance measures provide them with the resources to learn from past mistakes. The hope is that they will minimize the chances of doing the same thing(s) that landed them in jail in the first place. Reducing recidivism is a core tenant of both probation and parole and agencies for both strive to reduce the chances of repeated criminal behavior (Bureau of Justice, n.d.). There are various studies which debate the degrees of which these programs work. When a subject is released on probation after attending an Alternatives to Domestic Violence class and then rearrested on a charge of vandalism, critics claim the class did not work and point to continuing criminal behavior. Others, in favor of these programs, often state that the new charge was not domestic violence related and therefore call it a success; the suspect vandalized property instead of battering his/her spouse. Because we are all trying to grasp what causes some to commit crime while others avoid it, there have been countless theories and attempts at answering the question.

Some theories have gained ground over others through studies and time while others have simply vanished into history. It is important to both question and understand theory in hopes of coming up with better ways of limiting the impact of crime and criminal behavior (Abadinsky, 2018). While no one seriously thinks that we can eradicate crime completely, if we are able to mitigate its effects, while lessening the chances of someone becoming a criminal, we would realize at least some measurable amount of success.

One leading theory into why some commit crime is the differential theory. It prescribes the notion that criminality is a learned behavior that is fostered via friends and family (Abadinsky, 2018). As an impressionable youth, the theory goes, an adolescent watches others commit crime while he/she learning to do the same. Imitation is not the only way by which criminal behavior is gleaned, but rather it is simply the way of life for those in his/her immediate family and even neighborhood. A subculture of crime is realized and the person simply falls in line accordingly.

The social bond theory, introduced in 1969, claims that nurturing bonds to family, community, and even self are low or broken in certain individuals resulting in increased criminal behavior. When certain elements such as commitment and involvement are lacking, the person may feel nothing for the potential victim(s) thus increasing chances of crime (Abadinsky, 2018).

While there are likely as many theories as to why some people commit crimes as there are crimes, it is important to search out these answers and continue with actionable ideas to mitigate this behavior. Simply washing our hands of trying and throwing in the towel not only allows criminals the chance at victory, but lessens the value of each victim’s loss.


Abadinsky, H. (2018). Probation and parole: Corrections in the Community (13th ed.) [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780134559506

United States Bureau of Justice. (N.D.). Probation and Parole. Retrieved from: https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=qa&iid=324

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