An Exploratory Study on Disproportional Probation Rates in the State of Georgie

An Exploratory Study on Disproportional Probation Rates in the State of Georgie

Author: 
Ronald Coloma
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
The State of Georgia ranks among the leaders in probationary sentencing in the United States. This is used as a form of public policy to ease the overcrowding in jail and prisons. To understand the complexities of the probationary system in the state of Georgia, this explorative case study identifies the factors influencing judicial discretion in the State of Georgia as it relates to probation. The case study was formulated to explore the factors influencing the overutilization of probation as a sentencing alternative. Structured interviews with probation officers, investigators, district attorneys, solicitors, and judges focused on the factors influencing probationary recommendations. The research questions asked the participant what factors influence a judicial leader’s decision to impose probation, while what was the overarching purpose of probation and how is probation ensuring public safety? The study revealed members of the criminal justice system are insufficiently collaborating, as each branch seeks intrinsic objectives, many times disparate from one another. Each professes a different set of goals and vision detrimental to society, victims, and offenders. The collected data illustrated the variation in vision within the criminal justice system are underpinned by economic antecedents which explain the paradigm shift from incarceration to the less expensive approach of rehabilitation. The report illustrated achieving this requires a fundamental change in the beliefs of judicial leadership. Reintegration of the offender back into society through a collaborative framework within all of the criminal justice components can best benefit the offender, society, and the offender.
Dedication: 
It is with a profound sense of joy I dedicate this body of work to the loving memory of my mother and father, both of whom passed at such an early age over a decade ago. Without their tireless commitment to education, hard work, morals, and justice; attributes instilled within me from early adolescence, none of the goals that I have achieved and yet to achieve could have ever been possible. It is my sincere aspiration, those same tenets grounded my upbringing and which would later ideologically influence this dissertation topic is applied as recourse to ameliorate the problems of probation.
Acknowledgements: 
I would also like to thank my committee chairperson, Dr. Ray Bynum, who empowered me with the ability to achieve a level of geniality during the dissertation processes’ many setbacks. Dr. Ray would provide the continued encouragement needed for the continuation of the program. His ensuring phrase “that’s ok, just have fun” can best conceptualize the approach I assimilated from him as easygoing yet interested approach. As such, I can sincerely say I am ecstatic with the role Dr. Ray performed during this journey, a journey that without him could not have been possible. I would also like to thank my committee, Drs. Gonzales and Gilberts who tirelessly devoted themselves to my success. Also meriting acknowledgement are my friends, particularly Kayin, “Phongy”, and Scott who were instrumental in emotionally motivating me to succeed. Many in our line of work in policing typically shun continued education because it is not needed for career advancement. However, that core group of friends offered encouragement to succeed, proving paramount in the continued progression of my studies. Lastly, I want to thank all of the respondents interviewed for this study as all displayed a level of altruistic generosity in contributing their time to this study’s overarching goal, exploring the methodologies to ameliorate the probationary system. This is why the circuit that employs me is so special; we can come together, as a family and contribute to each other’s successes, obstacles, and endeavors. As such, I want to thank all of them for their time and devotion to this study, keeping in mind any analysis of their practices is accomplished with the overarching goal of constructively criticizing the prevailing praxis preventing an optimal level of efficiency among the components of the criminal justice system.