What is Probation?
The granting of probation is a privilege not a right. After an adult offender is convicted of a crime, the Court can suspend the sentence and place the offender on probation to the Court or on formal probation. If Court probation is ordered, the defendant does not report to a Probation Officer. If formal probation is ordered, the Probation Department will monitor the defendant’s compliance with the Court’s orders. The Court can order the defendant to serve up to a year in the custody of the Sheriff as a condition of probation. While on probation the offender must obey all laws and follow the specific orders issued by the Court.
What is the difference between Probation and Parole?
Probation occurs when imposition of sentence is suspended or stayed. This is in lieu of a prison commitment. If prison is the sentence of the Court, then the defendant serves a period of time in prison as opposed to spending time in County Jail (commonly called local time). The prison term is almost always longer than any term ordered as a condition of probation. Parole is a condition of early release from prison. There are usually a number of restrictions placed on the parolee and a Parole Officer closely supervises the parolee.
What does the Probation Department do to protect the community from the adult offender?
The Probation Department has many types of supervision programs to monitor a defendant’s conduct. For example, if he/she has a drug problem, the defendant could be referred to Drug Court, the PC1000 program, or the Probationers in Recovery program. Whatever the type of supervision, the defendant is expected to abide by the conditions of probation that were set out by the Court. The frequency and method of Probation Officer contact with probationers depends on the seriousness of the offenses committed. If the defendant does not comply with probation conditions, his/her probation can be revoked and he/she can be sentenced to prison to serve the prison term that was suspended or stayed earlier. In addition to special supervision programs, there are special programs (conditions of probation) offered such as Work Furlough and Work Project. These programs allow consequences for the defendant other than jail custody.