Probation and Parole Officers’ Compliance With Case Management Tools: Professional Discretion and Override [2018]

Actuarial assessment has become an integral component of offender management, helping to structure the decision-making of correctional staff about offenders’ case plans. Despite research validating instruments and documenting best practices in offender assessment, fewer studies explore how practitioners use these diagnostic and case management tools. Using survey data from a sample of probation and parole staff, the current study examines the influence of professional characteristics, job burnout and stress, and supervision strategy preferences on noncompliance with assessment data entry and deviations from the tools’ risk and needs recommendations. Results indicate various forms of noncompliance with case management tools are fairly common. Staff with greater tenure and heightened depersonalization and emotional exhaustion exhibit greater odds of assessment noncompliance. Case managers who adopt surveillance and rehabilitation supervisory tactics are less likely to deviate from the tools’ processes and results, while staff who prefer opportunity-reduction strategies have increased odds of assessment noncompliance.

Lacey Schaefer, Harley Williamson
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol 62, Issue 14, 2018