By Mike Mathis
JT Briefing Editor
Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrator of the courts, addresses the new probation officers before administering the oath.
The Judiciary has hired 30 new probation officers who are handling adult mental health caseloads across the state.
Judge Glenn A. Grant administered the oath to the officers during a ceremony at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex on June 22. The officers began work in May after completing 30 days of probation officer training.
“Probation officers do their jobs better when they have a better appreciation, a better understanding of those on probation,” Judge Grant said told the new officers. “There are few jobs in life where you can change the lives of the men and women you come into contact with.”
The goals of the program include establishing partnerships between probation and community agencies and increasing access to professional quality mental health assessments and treatment services
Probationers are referred into the program by supervising probation officers and judges. An assessment by a licensed mental health professional is required.
Probationers can be assigned to a mental health probation officer if they are determined to be mentally unstable, if they have been hospitalized recently for mental illness, if they are not taking their medicine and if they are having trouble adjusting outside of jail.
A total of 30 new probation officers hired to handle adult mental health caseloads were sworn in on June 22.
Probationers can move off the specialized caseload if they stabilize and comply with their treatment.
Funding for the new officers was obtained through a $5.4 million in federal stimulus money. The program was piloted in Atlantic, Camden, Gloucester and Ocean counties.
Judge Grant challenged the new officers to improve society and families through their work.
“Do something for someone who will not be able to repay you,” he said.