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Prison, Probation, or Parole

Prison, Probation, or Parole: A Probation Office Reports

Copyright Date: 1954
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Prison, Probation, or Parole
    Book Description:

    Prison, Probation, or Parole? was first published in 1954. Some were petty thieves; some had committed murder. Some had careful plans to defraud their employers; others had committed crimes in the heat of anger or excitement. All had offended against society in some way. Any one of them might be your neighbor. That is how Paul W. Keve introduces the people with whom he dealt as a probation and parole officer and of whom he writes here. Mr. Keve recounts the details of some 30 actual cases which he has handled. The stories make vivid and absorbing reading but are not fictionalized except for the identity of the offenders. The chapters add up to an overall story of the probation and parole system, how it works and toward what goals, how it succeeds and how it sometimes fails. The stories will interest anyone who is curious about lawbreakers - what sort of people they are, what leads them into trouble, and how they feel about their own crimes. In addition, the book should be of special interest to such professional groups as social workers, penologists, police officers, judges, psychologists, and, of course, probation and parole workers themselves.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6327-9
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-2)
  3. 1 Friends with a Past
    (pp. 3-15)

    This is a story of a probation and parole officer — myself. What is more important, it is many other stories of many other people, most of them lawbreakers. It is the story of a man who stood both with and against those lawbreakers; with them in their struggles for the good life; against them in their moments of rebellion.

    Because this mission was carried out within the framework of an organized system of probation and parole, it is also, to some extent, the story of a system or program, of how it worked and toward what goals, of how...

  4. 2 Not Very Good and Not Very Bad
    (pp. 16-31)

    The pre-sentence investigation is the probation officer’s first important function and a symbol of one of the really important new sociological developments that we have had the privilege of witnessing. For centuries the attitude prevailed that the antisocial person was an entirely willful transgressor, deliberately choosing to do evil when he could just as well have chosen to do right, and that, consequently, the way to prevent his crime was to provide a severe enough punishment. The fact that this process was not at all effective as a deterrent seemed never to occur to anyone, but instead punishments became more...

  5. 3 When Is Parole a Success?
    (pp. 32-44)

    When the probation officer puts his other hat on and becomes a parole officer, he is still doing the same sort of job in the same sort of way, with just one difference. As a parole officer he is working as a field agent for the parole board instead of working for a court, and he is supervising an offender who went to prison and now is conditionally released. Except for the case having come to him from a different direction, however, the officer is engaged in the same basic task — to help a convicted man find his way...

  6. 4 The “Case” Is Many People
    (pp. 45-60)

    The task of helping the paroled man readjust successfully to ordinary living after an absence of several years may often mean working with some of the people around him as much as, or even more than, with him. A principle of good probation and parole work that will emerge again and again in this account is that the officer must concern himself with any aspect of his client’s life that seems important for successful rehabilitation. In the course of doing so, he may find himself working intensively with some other person whose problems are so tied up with the client’s...

  7. 5 White-Collar One-Timer
    (pp. 61-70)

    In a recent study of the middle class calledWhite Collar* effective use is made of some words from George Orwell’sComing Up for Air: “ ‘My active life, if I ever had one, ended when I was sixteen,’ says Mr. Bowling. ‘I got the job and . . . the job got me. . . . Everything that really matters to me had happened before that date. . . . Well, they say that happy people have no histories, and neither do the blokes who work in insurance offices.’ ” The statement is a poignant one. Yet, to the...

  8. 6 The Ordeal of Mrs. Quinn
    (pp. 71-82)

    It was in the year 1799, the year George Washington died, that construction started on the Fairfax Court House. It was the county where Washington’s beautiful Mount Vernon was built, and even yet the legal papers concerning the Washington estate, carefully composed in the former President’s own hand, are faithfully preserved in the office of the Clerk of the Fairfax Court.

    With all the additions that have been made to the Court House through the years, the original court room is still intact, and for a century and a half its quaint, dark, walnut-finished interior with its tiny balcony has...

  9. 7 Justice Humanized
    (pp. 83-97)

    The service that the probation or parole officer can give to the community is not merely that of exercising surveillance over the lawbreaker. Good probation and parole work, I have already said, means a concern with any phase of the client’s life that needs and can profit from case-work service. This is a theme that will appear throughout this volume. But first it will be well to mention that the probation officer’s ability to use this enlarged approach is dependent upon the court’s understanding and acceptance of it. The probation officer is not an independent agent but functions as a...

  10. 8 Embezzlement, Feminine Gender
    (pp. 98-106)

    Embezzlement cases are likely to present the probation officer with one of his more interesting philosophical problems. In all criminal cases — an elementary precept of his work that I have stressed before — the officer must look past the crime itself to evaluate the true amount of guilt or the true extent of the personality problem in the offender he is investigating. There are several reasons why this is a rather special problem in the embezzlement case.

    For one thing, this type of crime is usually committed by some trusted and supposedly stable person whose prior record of respectability...

  11. 9 Grand Larceny, Small Scale
    (pp. 107-117)

    Judge McCarthy one day handed me the case of Fred Gentry, who was an excellent example of the embezzler as a type. Like the soldier who goes safely through the hottest campaigns and then comes home only to be injured when he trips on the livingroom rug, Gentry had come unscathed through a long career in banking, and then met his Waterloo in handling the kitty in his bowling league. By the time I was through with the case I had been in the Gentry family enough to see with unusual clarity some of the things that brought Fred to...

  12. 10 Addicted to Marriage
    (pp. 118-128)

    Bigamy is an intriguing offense. It is a type of law-breaking that can suddenly involve the supervising probation or parole officer in a quick re-examination of his own moral values as he tries to evaluate the casual and strikingly different moral concepts that are typical of bigamists. In cases of any kind it can happen, though especially in bigamy cases, that the officer becomes sharply aware that the clients he works with are living in a different world in respect to concepts of right or wrong. This is a puzzling and sometimes very disturbing phenomenon. The officer who is stubbornly...

  13. 11 The Psychopathic Charmer
    (pp. 129-140)

    I should hasten to point out that it can be somewhat risky to make generalized statements about bigamists on the basis of the type of case of which Joe Maddox is a representative; for there will always be a few bigamists of another type who are not good probation or parole risks at all. These will be the psychopaths whose bigamous marrying is just one of several forms of conscienceless behavior which they have followed in the course of satisfying their immediate desires.

    The psychiatrists, in their search for more accurate terminology, are now shifting to the use of a...

  14. 12 The Casual Burglar
    (pp. 141-150)

    Like everyone from the judge down, I had been quite taken in by Eddy Moesta’s smooth explanations of his conduct. It was one more experience that taught me how important to the probation officer is the ability to suspend his judgment until an investigation has been made, no matter how appealing to the sympathies or how convincing to the intellect the story may first seem to be. Cynicism has no place in a probation officer’s equipment, but a healthy skepticism will save him from embarrassment countless times. And this skepticism will in no way be contrary to the officer’s important...

  15. 13 The Big Operator
    (pp. 151-161)

    Whether the thinking of a man who is really a psychopath can ever be effectively remodeled is highly questionable. A prison term can seldom be shown to have any useful effect upon him. Yet, putting him on probation, which is often the only alternative, is far from satisfactory either. The basic egocentricity of the man’s personality remains uninfluenced by any experience he may undergo. He does not, in fact, seem to undergo experience at all, but rather to ride upon its surface, whether the wave is at the crest or in the trough.

    It is rather generally said that the...

  16. 14 The Foibles of the Young
    (pp. 162-181)

    As an officer in an adult probation and parole system I supposedly was not concerned with cases of delinquent juveniles, but in actual practice the idea of an arbitrary age limit beyond which all persons are adults is discovered to be a fiction that the probation officer learns to view somewhat cynically. The courts, too, recognize that chronological age can be very different from what we might call “social” age. Even the statutes recognize this problem to a certain extent, usually making provision for certain serious juvenile cases to be transferred to a court of general criminal jurisdiction when the...

  17. 15 Sex and Middle Age
    (pp. 182-192)

    Probation officers sometimes joke about how their whole efforts are bent toward working themselves out of their jobs. Yet they never do, and they are all quite sure that they never will. The very fact of people living together in an organized society creates strains and frictions that will produce rebellious behavior on the part of poorly adapted individuals as fast as we can think up effective antidotes. More explicitly, our modern quest for security and for community peace and order has slowly removed many of the opportunities for adventure and excitement that came legitimately enough in a pioneer society....

  18. 16 “Ill Met by Moonlight”—or by Daylight
    (pp. 193-202)

    Sometimes the title “probation officer” is an initial handicap when investigating a case for the court, as it implies to many people that if aprobationofficer is working on the case, the judge must be considering probation for the defendant and the officer is just out looking for a plan that will justify it. Strictly speaking, in respect to his pre-sentence work he should not be called a probation officer at all, but a social investigator for the court. He is not looking for material to help sell any particular view, but is looking for the complete picture of...

  19. 17 Rape—Who Is the Victim?
    (pp. 203-210)

    Among other things which the case of Sam Lawson illustrates, it certainly helps to point up one important element usually found in some degree in nearly all crimes — the cooperation of the victim. Usually this cooperation is altogether unintentional, resulting from naivete or carelessness, but it nevertheless is present and it contributes substantially to the fact of the offense. Here is an element in crime which the public all too often overlooks; nor do our established court processes provide any way adequately to deal with the portion of guilt belonging to the complainant. I have seen defendants in court...

  20. 18 Educating the Probation Officer — the Hard Way
    (pp. 211-223)

    One of my more fondly remembered probationers is Larry Crowder, a huge and hearty man who had twice been charged with rape. His case is memorable for several reasons. For one thing it is another that illustrates graphically the extent to which the rape victim often contributes materially to the crime; but it is even more memorable for me because it is the sort of case that is finally of more help to the officer than to the probationer. It gives the officer a real lift to have an occasional smoothly successful case in the midst of so many that...

  21. 19 Willing Victims
    (pp. 224-235)

    Abortion has not yet achieved a thoroughly settled, standardized status in the public’s category of wrongful acts. It does not, for instance, evoke the same universality of disfavor that accompanies the crime of stealing. The simple command “Thou shalt not steal” is clear-cut in everyone’s mind, and though many people do steal and rationalize their acts, almost no one will actually defend stealing as a practice. The majority of persons, discussing the problem of abortion theoretically and in an atmosphere of detachment, will give support to the general thesis that abortion should be outlawed. Yet in situations where they have...

  22. 20 Abortion Is a Business
    (pp. 236-247)

    Abortion cases are among the most interesting that a probation officer is ever called upon to investigate, but outside of such a statement it is not safe to make broad generalizations about this unique crime. Probably the most that can be safely said is that, in this country, at this time, it is against the law except for recognized therapeutic purposes. Our laws vary greatly, showing a wide difference in the concepts of the seriousness of this crime, and there is even wider variation among the attitudes of certain social groups. There are groups which oppose it energetically from the...

  23. 21 Brown Eyes to Remember
    (pp. 248-258)

    If i were trying to write all this for Hollywood, putting the life of a probation and parole officer into scenario form, I’m sure I would have to include at least one glamorous blonde who would be paroled from the penitentiary to loom provocatively in my case load and add a dash of intrigue and romance to the daily grind. It seems to happen in the celluloid world, but somehow it just didn’t happen to me. Furthermore, I’m afraid it didn’t happen to any of my fellow officers, or I should certainly have heard about it. When p.o.’s get together...

  24. Index
    (pp. 259-263)