Criminology, probation and stuff

Some musings on criminology with a focus on probation

Probation in America

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I would guess (although I hope to find out!) that probation officers in the UK feel like they’re ‘screws on wheels’, purely an enforcement agency responsible only/mainly for the monitoring of offenders rather than their rehabilitation. Should they think themselves lucky that they’re not in America? This is from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

Sex offenders on probation may face even tougher monitoring in Virginia. “They bring in all offenders on probation before Halloween and go over their restrictions for the holiday,” Lee said. “And they’re required to sign a document stating they understand they can’t hand out candy, they can’t have their lights on, they can’t go to functions. If they fail to do that, it’s a violation of their probation.

Lee said the probation office also brings in convicted sex offenders twice a year for polygraph tests, during which they question them on issues regarding any contact they may have had with children.

Its the polygraph thing that interests me. In Britain, the DWP wants to use polygraphs to see if benefit claimants are genuine or not. There has understandably been concern about this especially if one considers that polygraph tests are not permissible evidence in court if someone wants to prove their innocence. In America they are used to see if peadophiles may have been bad in the last year. I don’t know which is a greater infringement on privacy. Oh, yeah, I do, the British version which is amazing considering the US stance on sex offenders’ rights to privacy.


Written by criminologyandstuff

December 21, 2008 at 4:42 pm

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