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Probation services are provided in several different models. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each model? For example, should probation services be centralized or decentralized? Should it be administered by the executive branch or the judiciary? Should probation and parole services be combined?

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G. F. Allen identified four models of probation service, based on four different aims of punishment in his 1985 article "The probationers speak: Analysis of the probationers' experiences and attitudes" (abstract attached below). These models are based on the four goals of rehabilitation, deterrence, retribution, and justice. The goal of...

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G. F. Allen identified four models of probation service, based on four different aims of punishment in his 1985 article "The probationers speak: Analysis of the probationers' experiences and attitudes" (abstract attached below). These models are based on the four goals of rehabilitation, deterrence, retribution, and justice. The goal of punishment and probation must be decided before such administrative matters as centralization, or which branch of government administers the service. It often makes sense for probation and parole to be combined, particularly in rehabilitation-based models.

This is essentially a philosophical question, and your answer will depend on what you see as the primary purpose of the justice system. Should the system help offenders to rejoin society? Should it deter others from offending? Should it punish wrongdoing? Should it seek to make society fairer? If you think it should do all these things, which is most important?

When you have decided these questions, you can examine the advantages and disadvantages by looking at the way a focus on one area may cause neglect of others. You can also decide the administrative questions by referring to the objective. For instance, a system of probation which focuses mainly on justice might be centralized in the interests of equity. One which emphasizes rehabilitation might be decentralized to allow a flexible, individual response.

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