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Variations on Felony Probation: Persons Under Supervision in 32 Urban and Suburban Counties

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1991
Information from 12,000 offenders sentenced to probation in 32 large metropolitan and suburban jurisdictions in 1986 was analyzed to provide an overview of how probation cases were processed in these jurisdictions and the extent to which jurisdictions varied in their caseloads and case outcomes.

Results showed wide variations in probation practices among these jurisdictions. The use of probation ranged from 30 percent to 75 percent of sentences, with an average of 51 percent of all convicted felons receiving probation. Similarly, the probation rate ranged from 39 to 462 per 100,000 population, with an average rate of 162. The "typical" probationer was an unmarried, minority male, age 28, who was convicted of a nonviolent offense, and sentenced to a 42-month probation term. Most probationers had stable residences, but lacked high-school diplomas and full-time jobs. Three-quarters had no prior felony convictions, but a majority had drug abuse problems. The jurisdictions varied in both the imposition of behavioral or financial conditions and in the types of conditions imposed. Fifty-one percent of the probationers underwent at least one formal disciplinary hearing, 22 percent were revoked, and 10 percent absconded. Tables and appended methodological information

Date Published: March 1, 1991