Correction is very critical in community rehabilitation and discipline centres. As part of the offenders’ correction program, the probation sentence may include a requirement to perform a specified amount or number of hour of unpaid labour for any organization as provided by the law. The community service crew sometimes takes part in unskilled labour jobs such as picking trash, digging trenches, remodeling public buildings. There have been increased reports and growing concerns with regard to misconduct of the staff of the centers. The scope of the misconduct is particularly devastating since it involves allegations of sexual misconduct. Buell, states that sexual misconduct can range from harassment and inappropriate language to sexual assault between the staff and the offenders (2003). Misconduct of any kind tends to undermine the credibility and authority of the Georgia Department of Correction and the agencies involved hence diminishing both the public and legislative support. A number of important elements have been put forth to resolve these issues since inmates or even the parolees are subjected to trauma and could easily develop other health risks related to the incidents . The important elements of the misconduct prevention are:
- Acknowledge the fact the issue is emerging and shared by a variety of organizations in the corrections field
- Recognize that the issue affect not only female offenders and male staff, but occurs in all four quadrants
- Blend elements of state statutes affecting community corrections into policies and procedures
- Train staff on professional boundaries, risks of engaging in prohibited acts and also impart skills for effective management of clients
- Developing and delivering orientation to offenders about the policies of the correction facility
It is well known a fact that the power of the staff over offenders is substantial and this precludes any consensual relationships and whether the misconduct involves “favours” or extends to sexual misconduct, it equally represents a breach of professional boundaries (Buell, 2003).
Coupling the above practices with effective leadership, employee training and policy development should insist that misconducts are not tolerated; policies that institute zero tolerance to sexual misconduct; training of the employees being very essential for provision of tools and skills necessary to work in a challenging condition; Supervision is vital; Offender orientations and investigations for empowerment to determine and investigate allegations of misconduct.
There are no major differences with the correction practices at the state level and the ACA or APPA since the major roles taken all these agencies endevour to instill knowledge to the employees, training then on the center policies as regarding the misconduct issues and the professional boundaries. According to APPA, fostering the development of necessary knowledge, skills, resources and legislation is important for the most effective and realistic probation, parole and community based correctional programs. The fact that all states can be members of APPA, then each member state is equipped with up-to-date information on the community correction facilities presenting cases of misconduct and how they can be handled.
Caputo states that probation refers to the action of suspending a sentence and allowing the offender to serve the sanctions imposed by a court of law. Probation is mainly used for convicted offenders and less frequently as a means of supervision. When convicted offenders have served some terms at a facility, they could be released conditionally for community supervision and are normally guided by certain constraints. Intermediate sanctions include a rage of punishment options between probation and imprisonment. The major form include: Intensive supervision programs; boot camps; day reporting centers; home confinements; monetary penalties; compulsory labour hours of community service (2004).
According to Georgia Department of Corrections, probation is the most frequently used sentence and a number of supervision types assigned to each probationers including: Community Supervision; Intensive Probation Supervision; day Reporting Centers, Probation facilities and Specialized Probation Supervision for supervision of sex offenders. The effect is quiet notable since in the state of Georgia, a number of parolees often respond to the intermediate sanctions in order to avoid frequent confrontations with the state security or agencies. The public must be safe guarded even as much as the intermediate sanctions are place on an offender to avoid the risks of committing further crimes on vulnerable individuals and also the rights of the offenders need to be respected since some will regard the sanction period as the only moment they might have to change. Boot camps provide for very structures and military-like activities that are focusing on discipline, physical labour and education. The is, however, a tendency to misuse the power given by the state in the camps to oppress the entrants in the name of training for power or discipline and this was the case of Anderson. Though the camps are not associated with the military, there is the tendency of simulating the military experience by featuring elements of intense indoctrination, mandatory physical fitness, and harsh punishments (McBride, nd). He asserts that military approach lends itself to abuse.
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The structures of boot camps are high and can help channel the unfocused energies of a teen child. The physical fitness emphasized can also help for the teens to prepare them later in harder situation of life and support their health in terms of general well being of the physical body and activeness. It is a common belief that students who do well in the boot camps had some low motivation or none at all and often times they attempt to succeed and contribute to their well being hence end up being extremely willful and can do well in a number of situations.
Many case for supervision can be a load for the practitioners and may at the end of the period not be productive of effective. It is there recommended that to enhance the effectiveness of the cases APPA must ensure that reduce the load of cases in order to allow for effectiveness. The reason for these standards is that leaders often have pointed out that supervision is cheaper that incarceration but since each parole officer has a predefined period of working hours hence increase in case load would definitely result to decrease in quality of work with the parolees.
Intensive cases: No more than 20 cases per officer; or Moderate to High Risk: No more than 50 cases per officer; or Low Risk: No more than 200 cases per officer. Juvenile caseload standards are as follows: Intensive cases: No more than 15 cases per officer; or Moderate to High Risk: No more than 30 cases per officer; or Low Risk: No more than 100 cases per officer (Durrell, 2007). In conclusion, it is very important for agencies to determine the goals that probation is to achieve and subjecting these to the workload of the officers. Once this has been satisfactorily done, the officers can be assigned cases based on magnitude and the objective to be attained with the specific case. This will enable productivity and effectiveness in dealing with the case.