Dr. Frank J Porporino
Senior Partner, T3 Associates Training and Consulting Inc.
Editor, Advancing Corrections, International Corrections & Prisons Association
Board Member, International Association for Correctional & Forensic Psychology
"DEVELOPMENTS AND CHALLENGES IN PROBATION PRACTICE: IS THERE A WAY FORWARD FOR ESTABLISHING EFFECTIVE AND SUSTAINABLE PROBATION SYSTEMS?"
Probation has been an historically important option for sanctioning criminal offending since the mid 1800’s. Beginning with the pioneering work of John Augustus, a successful boot-making businessman in Boston Massachusetts, probation was originally grounded in the notions of volunteerism and community engagement to support the rehabilitation of less serious offenders ‘through understanding, kindness, and sustained moral suasion’. Probation evolved and was quickly institutionalized around the world as a major component of the criminal justice system offering an acceptable and more humane alternative to imprisonment. But modern probation practice is now struggling to define its proper aim, priorities and ways of working. On the one hand, the phenomenon of ‘mass probation’, with ever increasing caseloads taxing available resources, has forced many jurisdictions to settle for a simple risk-management paradigm – reliance on various modes of surveillance and supervision in the interest of public safety. Yet on the other hand, the evidence is conclusive that without a breadth of focused support and some level of intervention, intensity of supervision on its own has little if any impact on risk for re-offending. Probation varies considerably across jurisdictions in how it is structured and organized, how well it is resourced, and how commonly it is used. But clearly what modern probation practice is ‘able’ to do in many jurisdictions doesn’t match with what it ‘should’ do. The presentation will highlight some of the key challenges faced by probation and suggest some ways forward for it to get closer to what it ‘should’ do – in adopting a well integrated, theoretically sound and evidence informed model of practice.
Frank Porporino has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a career in corrections spanning more than 40 years as a front-line practitioner, senior manager, researcher, educator, trainer, and consultant. His primary career focus has been to help translate research findings into practice and to that end he has authored numerous monographs, book chapters and journal articles on the assessment and treatment of offenders and developed more than a dozen well respected cognitive-behavioral and motivational programs for both juvenile and adult offenders. Throughout his career Frank has been active internationally, working as a consultant in over 20 countries, and serving on various professional associations, including on numerous committees and on the elected Delegate Assembly of the American Correctional Association, on the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel established by the Home Office of England and Wales, on the Executive Board of the International Corrections & Prisons Association (ICPA), as well as Chair of the ICPA Research and Development Expert Group and member of the Annual Conference Program Committee. He is currently on the Board of the International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology and is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at the Namibian University of Science and Technology. Frank was the founding editor of Forum on Corrections Research, a Canadian quarterly journal dedicated to promoting an effective, accountable and knowledge-based corrections. He is now also Editor of a new practitioner-oriented journal, Advancing Corrections, launched recently by the ICPA. In 1998 Frank was awarded the American Correctional Association Lejins Research Award, in 2003 the International Community Corrections Presidents Award, and in 2011 the Volunteers of America Maude Booth Award for his career contributions to research and program development in the field of corrections. Recently Frank was honored by the International Corrections and Prisons Association with the Outstanding Contribution Award (2016).