The Future of Parole and Probation

The present Penal System is built on three theories or models – retributive, rehabilitative and restorative theories. These theories or models are ultimately levels, which a wrong doer undergoes. This means that when a person participates in the penal system, ideally the system is designed to allow such person to undergo all of these theories or levels in order for the system to succeed. This means that first and foremost, the person is punished for his/her wrongdoing by placing him/her in a cell or by incarcerating the person.

As he/she is incarcerated, he/she is cut off from his/her contacts in society, his/her actions are limited, his/her life is put on hold for the period of time that he/she is to stay in prison as he/she can only do the things that are laid out form him/her by the officers in the jail. In the first level, taking the wrongdoer’s freedom away punishes him/her. The same is true for one who is on parole or on probation. There are limits that are imposed that restrict one’s freedom of movement at least.

Secondly, through the clear-cut programs inside jail, it is the hope of many that incarceration will cause the wrong doer to take an inward look at himself, recognize his/her misgivings and change for the better. The same is true for one who is on parole or on probation. The restrictive lifestyle and harsh consequences of parole or probation guidelines are hoped to have the same effect on those on parole and probation. This is the goal of the second level. Thirdly, after going through the first and second levels, the system aims to restore the wrong doer to his/her previous place in society.

The future of parole and probation relies on the examination of these three levels. It must be noted that ideally these theories and models have to work together in order to achieve the best results both for the wrongdoer and for society. However, at present what is prevalent is the fact that these models work apart. There is nothing that links the three together except the fact that the wrong doer is involved in all three. This is evident with the fact that the present system is mainly retributive and rarely rehabilitative; case in point are instances of recidivism, habitual delinquency and reiteracion.

The focus of the system at present is to punish wrong doers and hope that they do not repeat the same actions. This translates to instances when a parolee or a person under probation inevitably has to be incarcerated. The system is to remain this way in the future if society does not play its part. As have been said “[t]he intent of the law in subscribing parole and probation is admirable. It aims to avoid isolation of offenders from society and eases up their transition from prison to society.

However, the future of parole and probation seems to be blurred. Its dissolution will not come in the near future, however, as the incidence of recidivism increases, changes in the way offenders are handled will have to be implemented in order to address the fear of society. ” (OCOS) Indeed the future of parole and probation is blurred, unsure and hazy. For as long as the rehabilitative and restorative aspects are not looked into, cases of recidivism, habitual delinquency and reiteracion are bound to happen over and over again.


Fuller, John (1998). Criminal Justice: A Peacemaking Perspective. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Kappeler, V. & Blumberg, M. Potter, G. (2000). The Mythology of Crime and Criminal Justice, 3rd ed. Prospect Heights: Wavelend Press. OCOS. Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists. Retrieved January 9, 2008, from www. bls. gov/oco/ocos265. htm The U. S. Penal System: Restorative and/or Retributive Justice? (2000). Woodstock Theological Center. Retrieved January 7, 2008, from http://woodstock. georgetown. edu/publications/report/r-fea61a. htm.