We use a time and motion study to understand how probation officers spend their time. What officers spend their time doing and whom they spend their time with demonstrates a deeper symbolic meaning of how the convicted should be treated, what is believed effective to change behavior, and informs the community about definitions of public safety. Explicitly studying officer time is a neglected area of research. We model a count variable of minutes per task as a function of offender, offense, and task characteristics using zero-truncated negative binomial regressions. Results show that officers spend significantly more time with higher-risk offenders, mixed results regarding domestic violence and sex offenders, and significantly less time with older and black probationers. Our intentions are to delve deeper into how officers spend their time to contribute to the development of an evidence-based model of corrections.

Matthew DeMichele, Brian Payne
Probation Journal, March 2018