TPILE Student White Papers

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Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
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    Breaking Barriers: Refreshing the Reputation of Community Supervision by Introducing Defendants to an Educational Tool
    (Texas Probation Institute for Leadership Excellence, 2021) Whitehead, Corina
    John Augustus, acknowledged as the first American probation officer, believed he could save offenders from crime by his method of sympathetic supervision rather than cruel punishment (Chute & Bell, 1956). Barriers in community supervision, such as offenders lacking knowledge regarding the procedure of community supervision and negative offender and supervision officer relationships are regularly causes of recidivism. Research suggests a pivotal factor in influencing defendant behavior is the nature of the Community Supervision Officer (CSO) and defendant relationship (Leibrich, 1994). This paper focuses on the significance for Community Supervision and Corrections Departments to have an educational tool that informs offenders of the mission of community supervision and their expectations throughout their supervision term. CSOs receive education established on improving the supervision experience, objectively lessening recidivism but on the other end of the aspect, offenders do not. An introduction to offenders upon placement of supervision could result in the creation of a positive visualization of community supervision, motivation to seek positive offender and supervision officer relationships, and more successful supervision term completions.
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    High Risk Probationers and Cognitive-Behavioral Programming in Denton County, Texas: An Argument for the Use of Moral Reconation Therapy or Thinking for a Change
    (Texas Probation Institute for Leadership Excellence, 2021) Miller, Melinda
    Community supervision has seen a shift from community supervision officers (CSOs) acting as a case manager to a change agent. With this shift in focus, there has been an emphasis on addressing criminogenic needs through the use of the Risk-Needs- Responsivity (RNR) model. A tenet of this model is that cognitive-behavior interventions should be used to target behavior and attitude change among persons at highest risk of reoffending. While felony revocation rates have held steady in the state of Texas, it is important for community supervision and corrections departments (CSCDs) to continue to work to rehabilitate those most at risk of reoffending for public safety reasons. Common programs used to help lower recidivism rates include Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) and Thinking for a Change (T4C). In Denton County, Texas specifically, high risk probationers should be required to complete one of these programs. Program efficacy has been well-established for MRT and T4C in reducing recidivism rates. Barriers to consider when implementing this policy change include the length and cost of the programs. However, longer programming has been found to be effective in reducing recidivism among high risk probationers, and the cost of the program could be offset by departmental assistance. If this requirement is approved, the department needs to take into consideration increasing departmental assistance, training staff in the implementation of one or both programs, and creating a sound policy regarding this requirement.
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    Comprehensive Screening and Assessments of Driving While Intoxicated Offenders: A Pro-Active Approach
    (Texas Probation Institute for Leadership Excellence, 2021) Polk, Stanford
    Many community supervision and corrections professionals frequently question the utilization of traditional screening and assessment instruments to screen and assess the needs and risk level of repeat Driving While Intoxicated/Driving Under the Influence offenders. The most common question is how mandated screening and risk assessment tools designed to measure an individual's probability of reoffending and areas of need assess the risk level of a repeat DUI/DWI offender as low or low moderate? This study examines factors often omitted or not accounted for when evaluating and screening criminogenic risk and need elements of DUI/DWI offenders. The study reviewed validated risk assessment and screening tools specific to DUI/DWI offenders. The results of this study support that the utilization of validated screening and risk assessment tools specific to DUI/DWI offenders with traditional or mandated assessments and screening tools enhance the assessment and screening process. The utilization of both required and validated DUI/DWI screening and assessment tools assist in determining the probability of DUI/DWI offenders reoffending and correctly identify the criminogenic need and risk factors associated with DUI/DWI offenders.
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    Firearms and Community Supervision Officers
    (Texas Probation Institute for Leadership Excellence, 2021) Meza, Cristina S.
    Should CSOs (CSO) carry firearms? The 33rd/424th Judicial District allows all of its CSOs to carry firearms. This has been an eye-opening research topic as I did not realize how controversial this topic would be. This paper is not to influence Community Supervision and Corrections Departments one way or another but to simply show the data so that Directors and Judges can make an educated decision. CSCDs across the State should be aware that their decision impact their CSOs.
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    Using Best-Practice Standards to Manage Probation Caseloads During a Reduction in Force Mandate
    (Texas Probation Institute for Leadership Excellence, 2021) Lopez, Faustino III
    On top of facing underfunding issues for several years now, probation departments across Texas face additional financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020 and continues to be an issue today. In response to underfunding concerns, the Hidalgo County CSCD began utilizing best-practice standards to develop programs to manage a high volume of probationers with less staff while managing minimal risk simultaneously. The slow but steady transition started in 2012 and continues to be a big part of the organization's restructuring process. As the department faced a reduction in force mandate due to additional financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it accelerated the transition of utilizing best-practice standards to become more efficient and remain financially solvent. Hidalgo County CSCD administrators faced the dilemma of drastically reducing the number of CSCD personnel without completely overwhelming the organization's workload, which had to operate with less staff due to COVID-19 financial losses. The Reduced Risk Program created in 2012 to supervise low-risk probationers was used to redistribute a high volume of cases of nine officers furloughed within months after the pandemic emerged. The Reduced Risk Program continues to be viewed as a viable solution should financial issues continue to plague the department over an extended period.
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    Drug Courts in Rural Communities
    (Texas Probation Institute for Leadership Excellence, 2021) Miller, Julie
    Criminal Courts in rural communities in Texas seem to provide little to no assistance for the real problems drug offenders are faced with. Many are charged and incarcerated, while the disease itself goes unaddressed. There is a desperate need for provision. It is apparent that the system currently set in place is failing these individuals. The relevancy has much to do with the community. If offenders can get the proper help that they need, the community will undergo a substantial change for the better. The adults that indulge in substance abuse will begin to be better examples for the impressionable youth in the respective counties. Environments and lifestyles within families stricken by drug abuse will heal and prosper. (THESIS) Although implementing a drug court in a rural community means extending the counties budget, resources, and time, it is a necessity to enforce this system in rural communities because misdemeanor and felony narcotic related offenses have consumed the county’s court dockets for years now when other violent transgressions should be a top priority, many offenders get put into a system without their drug dependency issues being addressed appropriately, and the repercussions of non-violent charges from a criminal court case have long term consequences on an individual for the rest of their life. This proposition can be achieved in a multitude of ways. I suggest appointing a team of acclaimed professionals that acknowledge and study addiction as a disease, drug patches or frequent ua's, NA/AA meetings, involvement of the offender’s family or support system to prompt change as a group, utilize the materials we do have and provide the current probation officers curriculum to better understand substance abuse. Through this and drug courts, rural communities will begin to see a reduction in the recidivism rate and new offenses. It can be concluded that change is necessary, and support can be adequately provided in the areas that are needed (funds, resources, time).
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    Connecting the Dots: Factors in Employee Retention
    (Texas Probation Institute for Leadership Excellence, 2021) Grusendorf, Herlinda M.
    Criminal justice agencies are seeking alternative means to retain staff and decrease turnover as organizations face ongoing budgetary challenges. While monetary benefits continue to serve as an effective and traditional means to enhance retention, leadership teams must also take into account other non-monetary methods in order to increase employee job satisfaction through effective management and leadership practices in times when budgets do not allow for financial compensation as the sole means to retain or maintain quality staff. Retention remains a priority; however, antiquated management practices focus more on staffing levels rather than reasons an employee departed from the agency (Crews & Bonham, 2007). A review of strategies such as hiring and onboarding training practices to maintaining organization support for employees from all levels of leaderships are some key factors that facilitate increased retention rates among organizations. Agencies that cultivate a positive work environment of support, empathy and communication in lieu of solely using "assertive, directive and dominance-oriented" supervisory approaches promote trust and an increase in job satisfaction, which in turn results in commitment and higher levels of productivity from employees (Nowack, 2020). The use of effective performance evaluation tools that fit the needs of the employee and agency also plays a role employee retention. Adjustments to past practices are unavoidable as criminal justice agencies continue to compete with the private sector and other professions seeking to retain and maintain a high caliber of staff.