Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 10 Issue 3 (May/June 2000), Pages 171-251

Improving understanding and recall of the probation service contract (pages 199-210)


The role of the probation service within the Criminal Justice System is to provide support to probationees so they can serve out their probation orders in accordance with certain regulations. These regulations are expressed in a formal contract. The current article reports an assessment of the readability of the current Kent Probation Service's users' contract. A Flesch (1948) analysis of the original document indicated that it required an IQ of 111+ for full comprehension. Using several criteria suggested by the Flesch formula and other literature, the document was revised to improve its readability. Analysis revealed the revised document to require an IQ of 84+ for full comprehension, indicating that the revised contract should be considerably easier to understand than the original. An exploratory study revealed that both understanding and recall were significantly greater for the revised contract than for the original. We conclude that in assessing readability of written materials, it is important that (in conjunction with a Flesch analysis) documents are actually tested on the intended readership. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>