The assessment effort was designed to compile and synthesize the information available in the probation and evaluation literature, to identify deficiencies in existing research, and to provide a priority listing for future research efforts. This first of nine volumes provides an overview of the subject of adult probation, with attention to the conceptual problems associated with the often conflicting definitions of probation, the legal and statutory development of probation, its major objectives and tasks, and its effectiveness. Some of the critical areas addressed include the locus of probation administration, the roles of probation officers, caseload management techniques, strategies for the provision of services, the use of paraprofessionals and volunteers, education and training for probation officers, time studies in probation, management information systems, cost analyses, and model standards for probation. Also examined are issues in the production and impact of presentence investigation reports, issues involved in the provision of probation treatment, innovations in probation structure and programming, trends in international probation applicable to the U.S. and the state of research in adult probation, particularly its strengths and deficiencies. Reference source notes are provided for individual chapters. A bibliography is included. For the other volumes of this evaluation, see 57667-57674.