The Curious Disappearance of Sociological Research on Probation Supervision

Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Annual: Global Perspectives, V. 7 (NS V. 2): 1-30, 2015

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 Last revised: 12 Jan 2016

See all articles by Michelle S. Phelps

Michelle S. Phelps

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Dept of Sociology

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

At the start of the prison boom, scholars in the U.S. vigorously debated the future of “alternative” sanctions, particularly community supervision, and whether they represented a true avenue for potential decarceration or a widening of the net of social control. Community supervision, particularly probation, was central to these debates and the empirical literature. Yet as the carceral state ballooned, sociological scholarship on punishment shifted almost entirely to imprisonment (and, to a lesser extent, parole supervision), despite the fact that probationers comprise nearly 60 percent of the correctional population. This article invites criminologists to turn their attention to sociological or macro-level questions around mass probation. To help start this new wave of research, I provide an intellectual history of sociological research on probation and parole, review the national-level data available on probationers and probationer supervision today, and outline an agenda for future research.

Keywords: probation, punishment, mass incarceration, mass probation

Suggested Citation

Phelps, Michelle S., The Curious Disappearance of Sociological Research on Probation Supervision (2015). Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Annual: Global Perspectives, V. 7 (NS V. 2): 1-30, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2499821

Michelle S. Phelps (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Dept of Sociology ( email )

909 Soc Sci Bld
267 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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