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The Role of Community Supervision in the Criminal Justice Process

Community corrections, specifically pretrial services, probation, and parole/aftercare, are among the criminal and juvenile justice systems least known and understood aspects by the public. NIC and APPA recommend that undergraduate criminal justice (and related degree) programs allocate more time and specific attention to community corrections courses and within the overall degree program as a means of raising student awareness, interest, and understanding of this important and growing component of the justice process and corrections industry.

car scales of justice

One of the many results in the era of criminal justice reform is criminal justice systems collectively working towards creating safer communities by employing strategies that improve/enhance public safety resulting in less crime and fewer victims. The community corrections field, guided by the research supporting positive offender outcomes, has seen the role of the community supervision staff evolve into a duel role of law enforcer and caseworker,sometimes, defined as a change agent consisting of combined skills and approaches that support the working relationship between the officer and offender. One such approach is the application of the tenants of motivational interviewing,enhancing communication strategies that help offenders resolve ambivalence about changing behaviors that are linked to criminal behavior. In supporting the role of the officer as enforcer of compliance of the conditions of supervised release, another approach is the application of contingency management principles: consistently identifying the selected behavior, addressing the behavior immediately, and reinforcing the behavior with either reward or sanction. The intended outcome of these approaches is to move the role of the community supervision officer from solely focusing on the terms and conditions of community supervision to include addressing the criminogenic needs of the offender to mitigate the risk of re-offending.
Combining Officer Supervision Skills: A New Model for Increasing Success in Community Supervision. Brad Bogue, Jennifer Diebel and Tom O'Connor

John Lizama, Chief Probation Officer, Judiciary of Guam

John Lizama talking about transforming the role of the probation officer in Guam.

Denise Symdon, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Division of Community Corrections Administrator

Denise Symdon talking about the role and responsibilities of probation officers within her organization.


Brian Lovins,PhD. Assistant Director, Community Supervision and Corrections Department, Harris County, TX.

Brian shares his thoughts on framing the conversation with clients to encourage success.