This study investigates stigmatization in the probation process from the perspective of the probationer. Hereby we use the concepts of primary and secondary deviance provided by labeling theory to differentiate between stigmatization by others and self-stigmatization. While stigmatization by others is less direct in the guidance of the probationer's behavior, it can support self-stigmatization. In our empirical study in rural West Texas, we found that stigmatization of probation is perceived to originate mainly from employers, but also from law enforcement officers and the general community of the probationer. This stigmatization is counterbalanced by the perception of the probationer that the probation initiates support from friends and family. Contradictions in the different forms of stigmatization might be one of the reasons why our subjects do not stigmatize themselves as a result of probation.
- Community support