The limits of individual control? Perceived officer power and probationer compliance


Interactions between correctional agents and the offenders they supervise are assumed to be highly contingent upon latent power dynamics. Yet, currently there is little research that differentiates the bases of power used by correctional personnel. The present study drew on a classic typology to examine the role of power in probation supervision. Perceptions of power and their impact on probationers' compliance were examined using data collected from self-report surveys and case files of 376 misdemeanor probationers. Although the results for perceived power were similar to those of prior research, the current study's findings largely did not support the expected relationship between bases of power and compliance with the conditions of probation. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

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This paper was published in Research Papers in Economics.

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