Provided below is a short case about a probation officer’s decision regarding the defendant he is in charge of. Read the case carefully and answer the questions that follow:

Probation officer Nichols is in charge of Jim. Jim was sentenced to three years of imprisonment for drug trafficking. However, because Jim had no past records of criminal activity, he was granted probation. He also had an excellent work record. The terms of his probation were specific. He was to live within a restricted area, was required to maintain employment at a grocery store, and was not allowed to leave town for the term of his probation. He was also required to complete 300 hours of community service during his probation period.

Unfortunately, Jim was unable to restrict his activities during his probation period, and on two occasions while he was under the effect of drugs he attempted to solicit acts of prostitution at a bar. His probation officer wants to revoke Jim’s probation.

  • What theories might underlie Nichols’ decision to revoke Jim’s probation?
  • What would Nichols’ goals be and what kind of information should he make sure he has before he makes a decision?
  • How likely would it be for Nichols to make a rational decision in the situation above? Why?
  • What would the limits of rationality be for Nichols? Why?

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