An Exploratory Study of the Views of Supervision Strategies by Community Corrections Probationers in China

AuthorShanhe Jiang,Darrell D. Irwin,Minhui Xing,Can Yang,Dawei Zhang
Published date01 January 2020
Date01 January 2020
Subject MatterArticles
/tmp/tmp-17MnNK19Y6Gmq5/input 882040TPJXXX10.1177/0032885519882040The Prison JournalJiang et al.
The Prison Journal
2020, Vol. 100(1) 3 –26
An Exploratory Study of
© 2019 SAGE Publications
Article reuse guidelines:
the Views of Supervision
DOI: 10.1177/0032885519882040
Strategies by Community
Corrections Probationers
in China
Shanhe Jiang1, Dawei Zhang2, Darrell D. Irwin2,
Can Yang2, and Minhui Xing2
Offenders’ attitudes toward supervision models are critical for the success
of supervision practices in community corrections. It is surprising, however,
that there is a general lack of research on offenders’ attitudes toward
supervision models or strategies in community corrections. Using a sample
of 351 offenders serving community corrections in City W, China, the
current study found that the majority of the respondents positively perceived
rehabilitation supervision and the environmental supervision strategies. The
punishment supervision strategy was supported by the respondents but with
a lower degree, relative to the support for other supervision strategies.
Institutional factors were the most important predictors of the offenders’
corrections, community corrections, supervision model, offender attitudes,
1Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
2Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China
Corresponding Author:
Dawei Zhang, Central China Normal University, 152 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430079, China.

The Prison Journal 100(1)
Appropriate supervision strategy is critical for the success of probation and
parole. Because of this, correctional professionals and scholars have devel-
oped various supervision models. For example, in the United States, two tra-
ditional strategies of supervision—law enforcement/surveillance-control and
therapeutic/rehabilitative—have been used for long time. Over the last four
decades, a new approach was developed that “aimed at reducing offenders’
exposure to crime opportunities” (Miller, 2014, p. 1236). Cullen, Eck, and
Lowenkamp (2002) labeled this new approach environmental corrections.
The objective of all these supervision strategies is preventing or reducing
offenders’ criminal behavior. This study focuses on the Chinese experience
with supervision strategies to empirically examine the utility of community
corrections supervision in China.
The success of offender supervision in a community may be affected by
many factors.1 Offenders’ attitude toward supervision strategies is impor-
tant. The theory of planned behavior, a widely used theory in psychology,
makes a clear connection between beliefs/attitudes and behavior. It states
that human behavior is guided by behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, and
control beliefs. Behavioral beliefs lead to a favorable or unfavorable attitude
toward the behavior. Normative beliefs give rise to perceived social pressure
or subjective norm, and control beliefs result in perceived behavioral con-
trol. Combined, attitudes toward the behavior, subjective norm, and percep-
tion of behavioral control lead to the formation of a behavioral intention
(Ajzen, 2006).
Social control (or bond) theory in criminology also assumes that belief as
one of the four core social bond elements (other three are attachment, com-
mitment, and involvement) can restrain criminal behavior (Hirschi, 1969).
Both the theory of planned behavior and social control theory imply that to
control offenders’ recidivism—one indicator of the success of supervision—
understanding their beliefs and attitudes is a necessity. Furthermore, the suc-
cess of supervision relies on the interaction and “a trusting collaborative
relationship” (Labrecque, Schweitzer, & Smith, 2014, p. 3) between officer
and offender. The development of a trusting collaborative relationship
requires mutual understanding between the two sides. Therefore, from either
scholarly study or a supervision practice perspective, understanding offend-
ers’ views of supervision models is a precondition for successful officer
supervision of probationers and parolees.
Although offenders’ attitude toward supervision strategies seems the basis
for the success of supervision practices in community corrections, there are
limited studies examining it (Chui & Chan, 2014; Kennealy, Skeem, Manchak,

Jiang et al.
& Eno Louden, 2012; Manchak, Kennealy, & Skeem, 2014; Shapland et al.,
2012). In addition, among the research studies on probationers’ attitudes
toward strategies of supervision, none has investigated offenders’ perceptions
of an environmental supervision model. Furthermore, there is no investigation
from mainland China on probationers’ attitudes toward community supervi-
sion, although social work research conducted in Hong Kong incorporated
attitudinal data and program effectiveness (Chui & Chan, 2014). Accordingly,
this study was undertaken to address these deficiencies. Its purpose, then, was
to discover (a) offender attitudes toward supervision strategies and which
strategy is believed to be most important in mainland China, (b) whether the
perceptions of supervision strategies are inclusive or mutually exclusive, and
(c) the predictors of each supervision strategy view and how they compare to
one another.
This study is significant in theory and practice. In theory, it helps to reveal
which supervision model is important and effective. It extends the supervi-
sion model investigation from officers to offenders, increasing the general-
ity of supervision models. The research also helps explore the connection
between a supervision view and its predictors or causes, so that different
supervision view models can be established. These findings are useful for a
comparison of supervision strategies between community correctional offi-
cers and offenders. Furthermore, the comparison will scrutinize whether
offenders and officers have similar or different perceptions of supervision
models and analyze predictors of those perceptions.
In practice, this research provides correctional officers and decision
makers in China and other nations with crucial information regarding
offenders’ attitudes and the degree to which attitudes match officer and
decision-maker expectations. Accordingly, officers and decision makers
can change or adjust their supervision strategies. Fundamentally, attitudinal
factors become important when correctional officers look to place greater
emphasis on either punitive or rehabilitative orientations of community
corrections programs.
Predictors of Offenders’ Attitudes: A Literature
No clear conceptual framework or theory was found to guide variables’ selec-
tion for the investigation. Also, we have not found a quantitative study that
simultaneously investigates probationers’ attitudes toward the three commu-
nity correctional supervision models—surveillance-control, rehabilitative,
and environmental. A variable that is positively or negatively related to one

The Prison Journal 100(1)
supervision model view may not help predict its relationship to another
supervision model view. Thus, there is no theoretical basis or empirical
grounding to assume the directions of independent and dependent variable
relationships. Accordingly, the purpose of this section is to help identify the
correlates of an outcome rather than the direction of a relationship. In this
sense, this study is exploratory. Following the approach used by Cullen
(1994) and many other scholars, we draw on previous research on attitudes in
correctional settings to identify the correlates of offenders’ attitudes toward
criminal justice issues. To this end, a brief introduction to Chinese commu-
nity corrections is helpful.
Chinese Community Corrections
In 2003, the Chinese government2 officially adopted community corrections
as an alternative to institutional incarceration. This means that China decided
to move from an informal and unprofessional approach to a formal and pro-
fessional one to reeducate and reform offenders. After several years and pilot
tests in some regions, community corrections were extended to all of China
in 2009 (Jiang et al., 2014). Jiang et al. (2014) and Li (2014) provided an
overview of the developmental history and basic types and patterns of
Chinese community corrections.
More recent publications that can contribute to the selection of variables
are from Jiang and his colleagues. For example, Jiang et al. (2015) examined
the level of the public support for community corrections using survey data
from 764 citizens in Hubei province, China. Jiang and his associates also
investigated punitive and rehabilitative orientations toward offenders among
correctional officers in China, as well as correctional officer job satisfaction,
organizational commitment, and predictors of these attitudes (Jiang et al.,
2016; Jiang, Lambert, Zhang, et al., 2018). Jin, Sun, Jiang, Wang, & Wen
(2018a, 2018b) assessed officers’ burnout, stress, and their correlates. From
different perspectives, these studies explored attitudes toward community
corrections among China’s general public and community correctional staff.
Drawing on this research, four categories of variables were incorporated into
the analyses: job characteristics, agency or community characteristics, atti-
tudes, and individual factors.
Besides these studies from mainland China, one relevant...

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