Years ago, people were put "on probation." In many ways similar to public/private reproof but with a one year minimum probation period having to report monthly to the elders.
*** w72 2/15 p. 126 Questions From Readers ***
May a person who has completed a period of unannounced probation be recommended for appointment as a ministerial servant?
Regarding ministerial servants 1 Timothy 3:10 says: "Let these be tested as to fitness first, then let them serve as ministers, as they are free from accusation." An individual’s having concluded a stipulated probation period for wrongdoing does not of itself imply that he is "free from accusation." It is not wise to entrust responsibility to such a person too soon. (1 Tim. 5:22) Enough time should have passed for him to establish that he has completely recovered himself from the weakness that was manifested in his wrong act or course. Over a sufficient period of time after the completion of the probation period he should have proved himself to be devoted to righteousness and as having genuine love for Jehovah and for his people. Others should be able to view him as a fine example in Christian conduct. So if he has really built up a fine reputation since completing his probation period, consideration could be given to recommending him to become, not an elder, but first a ministerial servant.
*** w67 2/15 p. 127 Avoid the Snare of "Saving Face" ***
In most cases it is the unrepentant who insist on ‘practicing sin’ that are expelled, disfellowshiped from God’s organization. (1 John 3:4; 1 Cor. 5:11) ‘A man who takes some false step before he is aware of it’ does not fall into the class of such incorrigible sinners. However, there may be occasions, due to the seriousness of the sin, when the congregation committee finds it necessary to place a person on a probation of surveillance, as a helpful, corrective measure. Such probation is not to be viewed as some adverse judgment, something destructive of one’s "honor," a penalty to be bucked against. Rather, it is a loving provision affording him opportunity to prove the sincerity of his repentance and at the same time to help the repentant sinner recover his spirituality and to make him strong again. Kindly counsel given during the probationary period will build the person up so that he will not make a ‘practice’ of sin. Rather than try to "save face" by protesting a probation, and getting others involved emotionally, one who has committed a sin should welcome this loving arrangement leading to his recovery.
*** w66 9/1 p. 542 A Provision for Spiritual Help in Times of Need ***
If the wrong committed was not a public scandal, but serious enough to require discipline, then the erring one can be placed on a probation that is not announced to the congregation. During this time, usually one year, he should be given regular spiritual assistance to overcome his difficulty. Then the probation is lifted, again without announcement to the congregation. What a loving provision of God for truly repentant ones who fall into serious wrongdoing!
If the sin was grievous and a public scandal, then where mercy is shown, a probation period is again imposed, but this time it is announced to the congregation. Yet in this case, as in an unannounced probation, there is a loving effort to help the erring one.
*** w63 7/1 p. 410 What Disfellowshiping Means ***
If the sin has not caused public notoriety and does not endanger the congregation, the one involved may be placed on probation. The terms of the discipline would be made clear and the one under such surveillance would report to the overseer once each month for the specified period as a loving arrangement to assist the individual to regain himself.