Fremont County Probation Services
While most would agree that serious, chronic, or violent offenders require incarceration (prison or jail), not all offenders fall into this category. Many pre-adjudicated and adjudicated adults and juveniles will safely be sentenced to community correctional options. Pre-trial diversion, probation, parole, and other community corrections or community service options can reduce recidivism and save taxpayer dollars.
As of January 2012, there were approximately 7,800 juveniles in the state of Idaho on some sort of community supervision and approximately 350 in state custody. Keeping the 7,800 offenders in the community is a significant benefit to the Idaho taxpayer when you consider the costs involved when offenders are placed into custody.
While the criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system are created differently, many of the supervision (pretrial, probation, parole) strategies are similar. Probation is a court ordered sentence that allows a person to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. The conditions of this sentence can vary. It may include treatment recommendations, classes, community service, fines, and/or restitution.
Pretrial Release oversees adult or juveniles that the courts have released from detainment (pre-conviction) and ordered those individuals to participate in a pretrial release supervision program during their court process.
Community supervision (probation) can be a complex topic. It ranges from pre-trial options to secure detention within the community. In between are probation and parole and a myriad of tools and strategies to be considered. Research is firm in documenting the requirement for risk and needs assessments targeted at criminal behavior for every offender. A valid assessment provides a critical roadmap about the security and strategies that may be most effective for the individual. Probation is a court ordered sanction that allows a person to remain in the community under the supervision of a Probation Officer. As previously mentioned, conditions of this community-based supervision can vary. It could include jail/detention time, fines, restitution, community service, or other sanctions.
Probation can also require counseling, drug/alcohol restrictions, house arrest, GPS monitoring, weapons restrictions and probationer reporting to their Probation Officer. If an individual does not follow the rules of their probation, they could go back to before a judge and be sent to detention, jail or prison. Probation officers will also visit and sometimes search a probationer's residence or locations where they may be living. Probation Officers will often speak with family members and neighbors in efforts to see how a probationer is doing. Officers will also sometimes contact employers of the probationers as well as any counselors to ensure that the terms and conditions contained within the court order and probation agreement are being followed.
The primary goals of our probation department are:
- To ensure public safety. Every citizen has the right to be free from fear of harm to their person and property.
- To hold offenders accountable for their behaviors. This happens through the court process when an individual is placed on probation or when they have violated terms or condition of probation and are summoned back to court.
To provide competency development. This is to instill skills and behaviors in probationers that will assist them to be successful later in life and to provide tools to assist them in avoiding future criminal behaviors.
A Probation Officer is someone who supervises a person who has been placed on probation. Probation is granted by a judge to allow someone to stay in a community and abide by specific rules rather than be sent to detention, (jail or prison for adults) or what is called incarceration. Incarceration is extremely costly compared to probation(approximately $100 per day to incarcerate offenders compared to approximately $8 (eight) dollars per day for probation).
Keeping an offender in the community reduces costs to society by requiring a probationer to work to support themselves and their families, pay restitution to their crime victims, attend therapy and counseling to address criminal behavior rather than being incarcerated. Probation is a court ordered sentence that allows a person to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. The conditions of this sentence can vary. It may include treatment recommendations, classes, community service, fines, and/or restitution.
Some of a Probation Officers' job duties include:
- Administering drug tests
- Conducting probationer work and home visits
- Monitoring compliance with court orders
- Overseeing the rehabilitative efforts of the probationers
- Preparing reports and recommendations for the court
- Providing support and help to victims in securing restitution
Probation Officers must become competent in addressing the following issues: drug and alcohol abuse, sexual deviancy, child abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness. One of the most important qualities for a Probation Officer to have is that of flexibility and the ability to continue to adapt and learn and develop new strategies for the supervision of offenders.
Probation officers (Juvenile and Misdemeanor) must be certified through the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. They receive additional training in the areas of substance use, mental health, domestic violence, and sexual offenses and they must stay updated with best practices and research on these topics.
In addition to holding probationers accountable and working within the court system, Probation Officers work hand in hand with community groups and social service agencies to provide probationers and victims with the support and services they need. Probation Officers maintain partnerships with law enforcement and other justice agencies so the agencies can benefit from the expertise of each other and share information on criminal activity.
Offenders on Probation
Probationers that are deemed appropriate for community supervision. Typically, adult offenders are placed on probation for one to five years. In Idaho, juvenile offenders can be on probation until age twenty-one. If you have specific questions about probation or the roles of a Probation Officer, please don't hesitate to contact our office. Our focus is the safety and protection of the community, holding offenders accountable for their behavior and competency development of the juvenile offenders. We strive to attain this through a multifaceted approach with the courts, treatment providers, strategic partnerships with community members and families. Our goal is to use evidence-based approaches to confront and minimize criminal and delinquent behaviors within the probationers we supervise.
A considerable body of research demonstrates that, under the proper conditions, community supervision strategies can increase public safety through risk reduction, mitigate collateral consequences (i.e., harm reduction), and yield monetary and other benefits (see, e.g., Bonta & Andrews, 2017; Lipsey, 2009; MacKenzie, 2006; Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2018a, 2018b).
Specific to the juvenile justice system, Fremont County Juvenile Probation is the hope and core of justice and safety in our community. We intervene to prevent the recurrence of crime among juvenile defendants and offenders by supervising them and getting them the help they need to change the problem behavior. The field of Community Corrections - probation and parole officers and other critical support services - is doing work that makes a critical difference in the safety of our communities and society. We provide supervision and treatment resources to protect and help people, families and communities address the issues and problems that drive crime. Effective intervention is a proven way to prevent recurrence among offenders and keep communities safe.
- A force for positive change against delinquency and crime in the community
- Building bridges to community safety
- Turning lives around
- Correcting courses
- Raising hope
- Lowering crime
- Our field is a vital part of the state and nation's justice system and the most effective solution to long-term public safety. We strive to maintain and attain the capabilities and resources to bring more effective and modern approaches to quelling crime.
- Nationally, community corrections receive less than 10% of total correctional funding.
- Juvenile Court caseloads have grown and changed. In 2002, U.S. courts with juvenile jurisdiction handled an estimated 1.6 million cases in which the juvenile was charged with a delinquency offense- an offense for which an adult could be prosecuted in criminal court. Thus, U.S. juvenile courts handled more than 4,400 delinquency cases per day in 2002. In comparison, approximately 1,100 delinquency cases were processed daily in 1960.
- Probation/Parole caseloads rose 270% from 1980 to 2006. At yearend 2021, an estimated 3,745,000 adults were under community supervision (probation or parole), down 136,600 from January 1, 2021.
- An estimated 1 in 69 adult U.S. residents were under community supervision at the end of 2021.
- During 2021, the probation population decreased in 31 states and the U.S. federal system and increased in 18 states and the District of Columbia. This could reduction could be a direct result of the COVID19 Pandemic.
- Agencies and services need funding and political and civic support to create and maintain an infrastructure to support community safety while minimizing impact on budgets already stretched thin, especially now.
Our communities and individuals face more challenges than ever before:
- The Census Bureau estimates that the juvenile population will increase 14% between 2000 and 2025 - about 1/2 of 1% per year. By 2050, the juvenile population will be 36% larger than it was in 2000.
- In the last half of the 20th century, the proportion of juveniles living in single-parent households increased. A recent study by McCurley and Snyder explored the relationship between family structure and self-reported problem behaviors. The central finding was that youth ages 12-17 who lived in families with both biological parents were, in general, less likely than youth in other families to report a variety of problem behaviors, such as running away from home, sexual activity, major theft, assault, and arrest.
- Although the dropout rate fell over the last 30 years, nearly a half million youths quit high school in 2000. Educational failure is linked to law-violating behavior. The difficulties finding employment for high school dropouts can be documented by examining their labor force and unemployment status. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that 64% of the 2000/2001 school year dropouts were in the labor force (employed or actively looking for work), with more than one-third (36%) of those in the labor force unemployed. In comparison, 81% of the 2001 high school graduates who were not in college were in the labor force, and a far smaller proportion of this workforce (21%) was unemployed. Further, holding and maintaining employment can also be linked to a lower likelihood of being engaged in criminal behaviors.