Chapter Activities

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?

Activity 3:

Applying Intermediate Sanctions

Using the following scenarios and list of possible sanctions, have students create a probation supervision plan using the intermediate sanction model.

Scenario 1: John, a 50-year-old with a spotty work history in plumbing, was released on parole after serving 5 years of a 5- to 10-year sentence for armed robbery. He was assigned to meet with a parole agent monthly for supervision and monitoring of his conditions of release including employment, restitution, 10 p.m. curfew, and anger management. John violated the conditions of his parole after being arrested for possession of 20 ounces of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Scenario 2: Janine was convicted of forgery after impersonating her mother-in-law in attempts to secure a $30,000 loan. When arrested, she had a vial of white powder on her person and was initially charged with possession of cocaine though this charge was dropped after toxicologists could not confirm that the powder was cocaine. She is a married 36-year-old with two children under the age of 5, employed, with no prior convictions.

Scenario 3: George was arrested for domestic violence after his girlfriend Jill called the police during a fight they were having at their shared apartment. When the police arrived, Jill described the altercation, showed the police the three places where George hit her with his fists (her lower back, shoulder, and jaw). She mentioned that she had called the police previously when George assaulted her and George was not arrested instead receiving a warning after Jill chose not to press charges. When police reviewed George’s prior history, they discovered he had spent 8 months in jail in a nearby town for assault and battery. He is 20 years old and recently completed his GED. He is trained as a sous chef and has been employed at a new restaurant in an urban town.

Possible intermediate sanctions:

Shock incarceration

Increased supervision

Anger management

Education/vocation classes

Drug/alcohol treatment



House arrest

Electronic monitoring

Halfway house

Intensive supervision probation

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Interpersonal skills training

Family counseling

Mentoring program

Activity 4:

Are Intermediate Sanctions Helpful or Net Widening?

Discuss with students how intermediate sanctions arose as a sentencing option in U.S. corrections in response to overcrowding in prison and the need for balance between unsupervised probation and incarceration. In a reaction paper, ask students to evaluate the success of intermediate sanctions in the 21st century from two perspectives: (1) providing increased supervision over traditional probation and (2) increasing the number of persons under more intensive supervision who may have completed traditional probation successfully.

The paper should include the following sections: an introduction summarizing the goal of intermediate sanctions and describing what they entail, a developed statement about how they are currently implemented in your state, and a summary highlighting whether they have been successful in achieving their intended goal.