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Our primary goal is that our clients lead successful, law-abiding lives. We provide them treatment, services and support to facilitate their rehabilitation. Our aim is that they will not recidivate.
At the same time, we recognize that some clients persist in criminal behavior. Therefore we do everything we can to detect any unlawful activity as early as we can so that we can intercede before something worse occurs – such as violent crime. Field searches of homes and vehicles are important "early detection" tools for the probation officer because they sometimes reveal instruments of violence – guns, knives and other weapons – that are illegal in the hands of felons and could later be used to victimize others.
To be sure, our primary aim is that our clients not illegally possess weapons. Again, the avoidance of recidivism is always our first goal. But for those clients who continue to break the law, we should try to detect that law-breaking behavior as early as possible. As we know through experience, we want to catch any felon in possession of a firearm before he uses it.
The impact of this early-detection work is enormously important. Removing illegal weapons from the hands of felons immediately eliminates a terrible risk to our community. The National Institute of Justice states that gun recovery strategies that target felons have a high impact on crime reduction.
So while we continue to provide supportive services and treatment programs with the goal of helping our clients to lead successful crime-free lives, we must continue to complement those efforts with home visits and compliance checks that keep illegal weapons out of circulation.
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