Chapter Activities

These lively and stimulating ideas for use in and out of class reinforce active learning. The activities apply to individual or group projects.

Activity 1:

Probation Case Management

Provide students with the following probationer’s caseload:

Primary Offense

Total Number on Caseload

Sex offense (e.g., rape, statutory rape, child pornography, sexual assault of a minor)


Possession with intent to distribute (e.g., heroin, marijuana, cocaine)




Parole violation




For this assignment, students will create a reporting schedule to include the following:

  • Drug testing (including frequency)
  • Education/vocation requirements (e.g., job training, GED)
  • Treatment requirements (e.g., drug/alcohol counseling, medication)
  • Reporting (including frequency and type; in person/remote)

Students will present their case management plans to the class, answering the following questions:

  • What treatments were selected and how frequency was determined?
  • Why were some offenders required to report more frequently than others? Will frequency be reduced for some offenders over time or not?
  • How will the distribution of offenders reporting in person compared to remotely impact probation officer caseload and workload?

Activity 2:

The Role of the Probation Officer

Building on the background knowledge accrued in Chapters 1 and 5, have students write an essay (three to five pages) describing the history of probation and how it is currently implemented in the United States. Use the following prompts to encourage description and application of knowledge:

  • Describe the history of probation, as developed by John Howard. How has it changed and remained the same in the modern era?
  • How have the original tenets of probation been implemented in modern probation?
  • Should current implementation of probation remain the same or updated? If you believe that changes should be made, what actions would you take to enact changes? If you do not believe modern probation should be altered, describe what is going well with probation as it currently exists? (Allow students to argue and provide support for both positions).
  • How would you present your changes or support for maintaining current operations to the head of probation in your agency?
  • What criteria would you use to assess success of a new form of probation or the existing model?