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Let the Punishment Fit the Crime: an Overview of the Historical Approach to Probation in the State of Texas

Description: Adult probation evolved in the United States as a result of the suspended sentence concept. As a result of a lack of follow through when an individual obtained a suspended sentence, there was no “checks and balances” to monitor whether an individual completed the guidelines set forth. As time progressed, it became apparent a more cohesive and monitored system was needed. Thus, an energetic and motivated individual, John Augustus, started the concept of probation by taking it upon himself to assist in the rehabilitative process of individuals charged with criminal behavior. Subsequent to his death, the concept of probation was embraced by his advocates who lobbied legislatively in order to enact probation laws that would oversee the success of probationers. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the counties in the state of Texas took it upon themselves to enact their own system of monitoring of probationers. Over time the states have guided their probation concepts from evidence based research. Juvenile probation in the United States didn’t gain a solid foundation until the end of the 19th century with the development of the first juvenile court in Illinois. It took this country time to understand that juveniles were different than adults mentally; therefore, there would need to be a separation of juveniles from adults from being subjected to the same punishments as adults. The approach in dealing with juveniles was more grounded in treatment rather than in punishment. In the state of Texas, the focus for juvenile probation was based on different approaches based on the areas within the state. The juvenile system has gone through the due process era to its current state of the evidence based research. This thesis will provide the reader an overview of the history of the development of probation in the United States and in ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Reichstein, Sheldon Philip