Using Volunteers in Adult Probation
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Discusses the arguments in support of using volunteers in adult probation: (1) cost effectiveness, (2) enhancing agency public relations, and (3) benefits to the probationer. Well-trained volunteers can improve agency efficiency in one-to-one counseling (strongly supported by a professional staff) provided that confidentiality can be maintained, that the probation officer has enough time to supervise, and that firm guidelines have been established against the loaning of money, home visits, breach of probation conditions, and the use of a car. Volunteers can help client's with graduate equivalency examinations, obtaining a commercial driver's license, improving employability, family counseling, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Limited use of volunteers in pre-sentence investigations, clerical assistance, courtroom assistance, and in subsidiary capacities are considered traditional ways to use volunteers. A comprehensive job design for volunteers (e.g., college interns) has been used in several small municipalities. Standards for selection of volunteers and an orientation and inservice program must be developed. A table is included that lists the use of volunteers with a summary of responsibilities, reservations, and recommendations.