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PARAPROFESSIONALS IN PROBATION - A SYNTHESIS OF MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND OUTCOME STUDIES

NCJ Number
65169
Date Published
January 1979
Length
11 pages
Author(s)
H E ALLEN, E W CARLSON, E LATESSA
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES IN THE USE OF PARAPROFESSIONALS IN THE PROBATION SYSTEM ARE DISCUSSED, AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SUCH PARAPROFESSIONALS IS CONSIDERED.
Abstract
THE USE OF PARAPROFESSIONALS IN PROBATION IS BASED ON THE THEORY THAT PERSONS INDIGENOUS TO THE LIFESTYLE AND SOCIOECONOMIC CONDITIONS OF PROBATIONERS CAN BETTER RELATE THEM AND FACILITATE POSITIVE CHANGE THAN CAN A MIDDLE-CLASS PROFESSIONAL OFFICER WHO HAS NOT EXPERIENCED THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE PROBATIONER. BEFORE RECRUITMENT OF PARAPROFESSIONALS IS BEGUN, THE PROFESSIONAL STAFF SHOULD BE PREPARED TO UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THE ROLE OF THE PARAPROFESSIONAL VIS-A-VIS THE PROFESSIONAL. SOURCES FOUND TO BE PRODUCTIVE IN RECRUITING PARAPROFESSIONALS ARE RECOMMENDATIONS OF PROFESSIONALS, LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY REFERRALS, 'WORD-OF-MOUTH,' LOCAL MEDIA COVERAGE, BROCHURE DISTRIBUTION, AND EMPLOYMENT OFFICE NOTICES. SELECTION OF PARAPROFESSIONALS SHOULD BE DIVIDED INTO THREE STAGES--SCREENING OF WRITTEN APPLICATIONS, INTERVIEWS, AND SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF AN ORIENTATION AND TRAINING PROGRAM. THE MAJOR OBJECTIVE OF ORIENTATION IS TO ESTABLISH A FOUNDATION FOR SUBSEQUENT IN-SERVICE LEARNING IN BOTH GROUP AND INDIVIDUAL SUPERVISION. DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITY TO A PARAPROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE A GRADUAL AND INCREMENTAL PROCESS. PARAPROFESSIONALS SHOULD BE MATCHED WITH 'NEW' CASES AFTER THE SUPERVISOR HAS EXAMINED THE CASE FILES OF PROBATIONERS TO DETERMINE THEIR BACKGROUND AND SPECIAL NEEDS. RESEARCH EVALUATING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PROBATION PARAPROFESSIONALS HAS NOT PROVEN CONCLUSIVELY THAT THEY ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL WITH CERTAIN TYPES OF PROBATIONERS THAN ARE PROFESSIONALS. HOWEVER, THEY APPEAR TO BE EQUALLY SUCCESSFUL AND POSSIBLY MORE EFFECTIVE WITH HIGH-RISK PROBATIONERS. COST-BENEFIT AND COST-EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATIONS ARE NEEDED. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (RCB)
Date Created: December 30, 1979