Essex Vicinage Probation Division: Adult Supervision
Probation is an alternative disposition to be considered at sentencing time. Depending on the offense, circumstances and prior record a guilty person often need not be sentenced to jail. Instead the court can impose sanctions and fees. The Probation Division monitoring compliance with the imposed sanctions and advises the court. The probation alternative allows the offender to remain in the community, be gainfully employed, take care of his family and pay taxes. In contrast incarceration is estimated to cost taxpayers $35,000-$40,000 per year for each inmate.
Does the probation alternative happen often? Absolutely! In Essex County, in mid-2000, there were nearly 20,000 persons on probation or paying through the Probation Division for their criminal activities.
Probation officers are mandated to enforce the orders of the court. Additionally, they monitor the activities of offenders and assist them in living a crime-free, productive life. Probation officers deal with many types of offenders with a variety of risks and problems. The work of a Probation officer is gratifying since many persons on probation consider it a second chance and take steps necessary steps to turn their lives around.
Probation officers are in a unique position, in that they can be a friend or perceived as a foe of the probationer. Officers make numerous attempts to assist the probationer to become a productive, law-abiding citizen. For example, if the probationer has a drug-related problem, help is sought through various treatment programs. The first step a Probation Officer takes to is to seek agreement with the probationer about the problem and proposed solution. Evaluations may be followed with out-patient or in-patient treatment. Many probationers benefit from participation in treatment programs. Some probationers participate in support programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous. If the probationer fails to comply with court ordered terms and condition of probation the Probation Officer must make the court aware of non-compliance. The court must be made aware of noncompliance. The officer may return the case to court on a violation of probation. At which time the court will review the matter and may order incarceration or new conditions.
Volunteers in Probation
Essex Probation is looking for volunteers to work one-on-one with probationers. If this work sounds interesting to you, if you would like to assist an offender in need of supervision, both juvenile and young adult, please contact us about our Volunteers in Probation (VIP) Program at 973-776-9300.