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Probation Techniques in North Carolina Courts


Probation is an area that draws immense interests amongst researchers, thus necessitating heated discussions throughout the country. When courts are reached to reveal data on adult probation statistics and their research on the frequency of recidivism, the number of first-time lawbreakers, and repeat criminals on probation, only scanty information is available. Amazingly, the available data gives only the details of the existing probation officers and approximate figures of probationers under supervision. Consequently, this research aims at assessing the viewpoints of probation officers under the Supreme Court of North Carolina on the effectiveness of traditional probation. The following research questions will guide the exploration:

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  1. Does probation safeguard the residents and society from more criminal deeds?
  2. Does probation serve as an effective way of curbing the recurrence of criminal activities?
  3. Is probation an efficient tool for handling wrongdoers and recidivism?

Literature Review

Probation is a ruling imposed on sentenced wrongdoers, which sanctions them to remain in society under the control of the probation officer rather than being locked in prison. The sentence serves as provisional freedom; hence probation period is used to gauge the behavior of the offender and ascertain whether they cope in satisfying specific stipulated requirements (Stohr & Walsh, 2017). Consequently, the convicted individuals are required to demonstrate to the sentencing body that they are fit to reunite with the public and can live up to the prerequisite legitimate standards and morals.

Over the years, the universe has experienced the challenge of criminal deeds. In response to these illegal activities, many operations have been devised and employed to inhibit misconduct. Most of the mechanisms that were utilized to deal with criminals were strange and unpleasant (Stohr & Walsh, 2017). However, sometimes the practices failed to commensurate with the committed wrongdoing. The lawbreakers faced branding, humiliation, corporal castigations like whippings and disfigurement, or even killings. In extreme situations, torture was implicated in the offenders who had done grievous crimes.

Amazingly, all the attributions against the criminals were perpetuated at the sight of everyone in the community. Indeed, the spectators were often allowed to take part in pronouncing judgments to culprits (Skeem et al., 2017). In most of the instances, the convicted folks were not hanged (Stohr & Walsh, 2017). The victims were allowed to continue to live amongst the same public that punished them. They had to persevere embarrassment for the violations they had done. Everyone in the community was entrusted with the monitoring of any behavior change among people with prior incidences of wrongdoing.

The humiliation levied on traditional convicts, and probation schemes could only be compared with the recent trend of defamation accorded to the sex offenders in society. Notably, the photographs of this class of wrongdoers are exposed on the internet, and the civic notification guidelines facilitate ease of recognition by their fellow citizens (Stohr & Walsh, 2017; Tonry, 2017). Consequently, cases of new offenders in this category of crime are curbed because nobody would wish to face such humiliation.

The purpose of this study is thus to investigate the effectiveness of these conventional probation techniques towards the successful suppression of criminal activities in the community. The course utilizes the probation officers in North Carolina State who are working under the current probation settings. The officers are selected as they have experience in the modern probation protocols and knowledge of the traditional probation practices.

Research Design


The intention to undertake the study of traditional probation in the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of North Carolina was initiated by filing a formal written request to the Director of Probation Services. The letter sought consent to survey the probation officers in the institution. The application appealed to the need to assess the opinions of the adult probation officers regarding the practice. Eventually, the authority to proceed with the survey was granted subject to the prior submission of survey questions before commencing and refurbishing the department with the findings upon completion.

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Subjects, Data, and Ethical Considerations

The participants eligible for the survey were adult probation officers whose names appeared in the directory of probation officers under the Supreme Court of North Carolina. The surveys were sent to individual respondents in enclosed envelopes with the explanations of the intended study and consent forms for their authorization to participate. The study dispersed about seventy-two surveys to the targeted adult probation officers. The data acquired from the survey entailed inquiry-based questions on issues regarding customary probation effectiveness. The collected responses from the institution were afterward subjected to quantitative analysis.

Study Limitations

The findings of the research cannot be used to generalize the views of other probation officers across the jurisdiction of the US as the study concentrated only on North Carolina. Secondly, with a response rate of about ninety percent, it is anticipated that findings may have accrued sampling error. Finally, utilizing close-ended questions deprived of the respondents the freedom to provide further information and explanations, especially where they felt reforms were desirable.

Research Findings

The study targeted about seventy probation officers under the Supreme Court of North Carolina. However, the response rate was about ninety percent, where seven officers gave diversified reasons for not rejoining the survey. The active partakers constituted the Caucasian, American Indian, and African American, comprising thirty-seven males while twenty-six were females. The feedback from respondents exhibited they had worked as probation officers for between three to ten years, the majority of them being in the corrections department.

Responses to the first research question exhibited that about seventy-two percent of the participants found probation essential in safeguarding society from further criminal doings. In reaction to the inquiry of whether probation was crucial in curbing the recurrence of illegal activities, approximately eighty-five percent of the respondents expressed that the parole was key in taming recidivism. Furthermore, about eighty-seven percent of the participants exhibited a strong belief in probation towards attaining effective handling of wrongdoers.

From the results of the pilot study, it was evident that the majority of the probation officers in North Carolina believed that probation was efficient in the accomplishment of the three questions under exploration. However, some of the respondents gave their opinions pegged on conditions. Remarkably, the research questions design was such that there was no room for clarifications of opinions, thus omitting the elucidations from the analysis.

Discussion of Research Findings

The main goal of the research was to evaluate the perceptions of the probation officers on the effectiveness of probation in the guarding of the citizens and community from further accounts of delinquency. The reduction of recidivism, as well as its efficiency as a tool for managing offenders and crime recurrence, also served a fundamental role in this assessment. The study revealed that most of the probation officers believed that the parole was necessary and an effective way of dealing with the lawbreakers and inherent behaviors. However, the majority of the participants emphasized that probation would be more effective if some conditions were incorporated into the practice.

Implications of the Study

The feedback in this exploration propounds that the officers in charge of probation in North Carolina have confidence in the effectiveness of the parole in accomplishing the core essentials of probation. These fundamental features encompass guarding the public, handling of reprobates, and lowering recidivism rates. However, further statistics are required nationwide to establish, among others, the total offenders in every state, first-time lawbreakers on probation, the nature of the offense that prompted placement on parole, and the employment status of the transgressors. Information to also encompass the form of service given to the offenders, the number of discharged lawbreakers, and the after-care strategies in place. The probation agencies are required to utilize the central database in tracking the history and information of the wrongdoers. The implementation will prevent the culprits from moving from state to state committing similar offenses; thus, accurate rates of recidivism would be established.

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The research has delineated the success of the traditional probation practice through the involvement of the probation officers under the Supreme Court of North Carolina as target respondents. Results depict that its adoption has resulted in a positive trajectory towards mitigation of criminal activities. However, subsequent studies ought to expand the scope of the research to incorporate other states to draw national probation trends. Additionally, the analysis should include the wrongdoing population to gauge their reactions to the effectiveness of probation in fulfilling their necessities.


Skeem, J., Manchak, S., & Montoya, L. (2017). Comparing Public Safety Outcomes for Traditional Probation vs Specialty Mental Health Probation. JAMA Psychiatry, 74(9), 942. Web.

Stohr, M., & Walsh, A. (2017). Corrections: The essentials. Sage publications.

Tonry, M. (2017). Making American Sentences Just, Humane, and Effective. Crime and Justice, 46(1), 441-504. Web.

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