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A sentence imposed on convicted offenders (or adjudicated minors) that allows them to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer (in lieu of prison or of a lengthy custodial commitment).


The Birth of Probation

•John Augustus, the "Father of Probation," is recognized as the first true probation officer. Augustus was born in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1785.

•In 1841, John Augustus attended police court to bail out a "common drunkard," the first probationer. The offender was ordered to appear in court three weeks later for sentencing. He returned to court a sober man, accompanied by Augustus



the probation idea nearly died when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that judges may not indefinitely suspend a sentence (Ex Parte United States, 1916)


National Probation Act of 1925

•Signed by President Calvin Coolidge, provided for a probation system in the federal courts (except in the District of Columbia).
• The Act also authorized courts to appoint one or more persons to serve as probation officers without compensation and one salaried probation officer.

Allowed judges to suspend sentences and place convicted individuals on probation if they found that circumstances warranted it.


Formal supervised probation.

●Specialized case loads
●Intensive supervision


Informal Probation:

•Sanctions/orders still to be completed, but not monitored by a probation officer. Court monitored.


The Officer’s Role

roles: to protect the community and to assist their probationers and parolees in becoming productive and law-abiding citizens.


The “hybrid” approach:

following both the law enforcement and social work models when appropriate.


Probation Revocation Hearing: AKA Probation Violation

•1. DPO recommends probation revoked and reinstated with additional conditions/time/consequences.
•2. DPO recommends that probation be revoked and sentence imposed (could mean a prison sentence, or jail time).

Deputy probation officer



•Interventions utilized by the probation officer, prior to arrest and revocation hearings:
•Day Reporting Centers, Drug Treatment, Counseling, Employment Services, Electronic Monitoring.
•The court or jail may also authorize work release, house arrest, sober living home, residential drug treatment or residential placement (with juvenile wards of the court).