Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

William C. Burger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Carl M. Riden, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Kenneth B. Perkins, Ph.D.


This exploratory, qualitative study reports on the experiences of 20 participants currently working within the juvenile justice system. The study investigated whether role strain was present among juvenile probation officers (POs) in an unspecified, Mid-Atlantic state. This study examines probation officers' role as it relates to the division in power between the state agency which employs the juvenile POs and the local juvenile courts in which they work closely with local judges. The state agency's move to standardize was also explored in relation to an increase in role strain for juvenile probation officers. The expected role strain did not appear in the data. The POs in this study found ways to resolve the prospective conflict of balancing the dual goals of rehabilitation and protecting society. The study also found that juvenile POs have discovered creative ways in negotiating their place in the division of power and often use it to their advantage in accomplishing the goals of probation. This study unexpectedly found that regardless of rural or urban locality, the state agency's increasing standardization has brought about a new conflict in which the POs in this study found it difficult to resolve--a conflict not discussed in previous literature: Traditional PO verses the Data Entry Personnel. Differences in findings between rural, urban, and administration participants are also discussed in this study as well as an application of Weberian theory and bureaucracy.



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