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Understanding the U.S. Corrections System


The corrective system in the United States is essential to conserving public safety and rehabilitating those who have engaged in criminal activity. This handbill seeks to give family members of those arrested and being held by the police a thorough review of the most critical factors of the American corrective system (Daley & Douaihy, 2019). Family members may better assist their loved ones during the process by being aware of the goals, background, community corrections, and responsibilities of probation officers, parole officers, and the juvenile correctional system.

Purpose of Community Corrections

A community correction program offers an alternative to incarceration and focuses on rehabilitating criminals while ensuring public safety. The main goals of original area amendments are to control, support, and guide criminals to permanently keep them out of the purview of law enforcement (Haines et al., 2019). Considering the opportunity to remain in their communities, people can maintain their company’s operations, provide for their families, and participate in rehabilitation programs.

Evolution of Corrections throughout History

In corrections, the emphasis has changed throughout time from punishment to rehabilitation. While earlier methods emphasised punishment and deterrents, modern prisons prioritise rehabilitation and reintegration into society (Haines et al., 2019). This change acknowledges that giving offenders the tools, resources, and assistance they need to live law-abiding lives increases their chances of success.

Types of Community Corrections Options


In a community-based probation program, criminals are permitted to live in the community while being watched by a probation officer and subject to several rules. The goal of probation is to monitor offenders’ adherence to court-ordered conditions, similar to frequent checks- sways, drug abuse treatment, community service, and reparation. Probation’s objectives include rehabilitation, public safety, and recidivism reduction (Daley & Douaihy, 2019).


A conditional release from jail before the conclusion of the offender’s term is known as parole. It enables people to balance their sentences while being watched in the community. Parole officers supervise over and direct parolees, ensuring they follow the rules and participate in rehabilitation activities (Haines et al., 2019). Successful reintegration into society, lowering recidivism, and supporting parolees are the main objectives of parole.

Comparison of Probation Officer and Parole Officer Duties

Probation Officer

Officers on probation deal with criminals who have received probation as a standalone sentence or as a component of a suspended sentence. They identify an offender’s needs and dangers, create a plan for their supervision, and offer advice and assistance to help them follow the court’s rules (Daley & Douaihy, 2019). To help people with their recovery, probation officers keep track of progress, hold frequent meetings, and recommend them to rehabilitation programs.

Parole Officer

Parole officers assist those who have been given parole and are reintegrating into society after incarceration. They determine the parole requirements and the parolee’s risk level and offer monitoring and assistance (Haines et al., 2019). To support parolees’ successful reintegration into society, parole officers connect them with community services, perform home visits, help them find work and housing, and check compliance with specifications.

Comparison of  and Juvenile Corrections

Adult Corrections

Adult offenders are those who have attained majority age and have received a criminal conviction. The primary goals are punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation, and public safety. The foundation of the adult correctional system is jails and prisons, where criminals complete their sentences and get support as they prepare to reintegrate into society.

Juvenile Corrections

There is a juvenile justice system for those who have committed crimes but are under the age of majority. The main objective is rehabilitation, considering the unique requirements and capacity for change of juvenile offenders. The system aims to give counselling, education, job training, and community-based alternatives to incarceration, emphasising the offender’s wellness and successful reintegration into society rather than corrective measures (Haines et al., 2019). In juvenile imprisonment, an emphasis is generally placed on personalised rehabilitation programs that address the core reasons for misbehaviour, similar to domestic issues, trauma, or substance abuse. Counselling, the development of life skills, educational support, and community service may all be included in recuperation programs.

In contrast to the adult prison system, the juvenile correctional system is centred on the patriarchal concept, which states that the state serves as a parent to protect and guide the juvenile criminal. The emphasis is on providing therapies that encourage character development, particular growth, and responsible decision-making to help future reoffending (Daley & Douaihy, 2019). Juvenile offenders may be held in several settings, including juvenile detention centres, domestic treatment centres, or community-based programs, depending on their requirements and severe offences.

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Daley, D.C. and Douaihy, A. (2019) ‘Recovery for individual family members, A Family Guide to Coping with Substance Use Disorders, pp. 106–115. doi:10.1093/med-psych/9780190926632.003.0012.

Haines, J., Matthewson, M. and Turnbull, M. (2019) ‘Other family members, Understanding and Managing Parental Alienation, pp. 117–123. doi:10.4324/9780429316111-9.


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