Adam K. Matz

Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Bitna Kim, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Timothy Austin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Alida Merlo, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Jennifer Roberts, Ph.D.


Formalized police-probation/parole partnerships reached prominence in the mid-to-late 1990s elevated by the perceived successes of Boston’s Operation Night Light, a component of the larger gun violence initiative known as CeaseFire (Braga, Kennedy, Waring, & Piehl, 2001; Corbett, 1998). Despite limited empirical evidence to confirm their impact on crime trends, Night Light programs were replicated elsewhere throughout the U.S. (International Association of Chiefs of Police [IACP], 2007a, 2007b, 2012; Matz & Kim, 2013). At the time, federal funding was plentiful; however, by the mid-2000s, many programs such as Texas’ Project Spotlight would cease formal operations as the U.S. entered into a time of economic instability (Beto, 2005). Later research would show partnerships would continue informally, as they had existed previously for decades (Kim, Gerber, & Beto, 2010; Kim, Gerber, Beto, & Lambert, 2013; Kim, Matz, Gerber, Beto, & Lambert, 2013).

While considerable research on partnerships had been levied concerning police officer perceptions and operations, few studies examined probation/parole perceptions, with one qualitative study conducted in an unnamed Pennsylvania county the exception (Alarid, Sims, & Ruiz, 2011). This study fills this gap in the empirical literature, utilizing the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) membership as a national proxy, by surveying probation/parole leaders and officers across the U.S. concerning their favorableness to partnerships with law enforcement in relation to a variety of important concepts derived from the empirical literature (Chrislip & Larson, 1994; Hughes, 2000; Jones & Sigler, 2002; Kim et al., 2010; Parent & Snyder, 1999; Rojek, Smith, & Alpert, 2012; Weiss, Anderson, & Lasker, 2002). Results reveal, similar to the law enforcement literature (Kim et al., 2010), that informal information sharing partnerships are the most prevalent across probation/parole agencies. Those in leadership positions and in frontline officer positions displayed considerable interest in partnerships with law enforcement. Probation/parole leaders’ partnership favorability was influenced by partnerships’ potential to reduce recidivism as well as buy in from agency executives and supervisors. Officers’ partnership favorability was influenced by perceived leadership support, the notion that probationers/parolees benefit from a balance of services and accountability, and stalking horse concerns.