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Providing Funds for Neighborhood Probation and Parole Officers

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $136,243)

The Recovery Act Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program) will help communities improve the capacity of state and local justice systems and provide for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. This competitive grant announcement focuses on initiatives in eight areas: 1) preventing and reducing violent crime through community-based data-driven approaches; 2) providing funding for neighborhood-based probation and parole officers; 3) reducing mortgage fraud and crime related to vacant properties; 4) hiring of civilian support personnel in law enforcement (training staff, analysts, dispatchers, etc.); 5) enhancing forensic and crime scene investigations; 6) improving resources and services for victims of crime; 7) supporting problem-solving courts; and 8) national training and technical assistance partnerships.

Under category 2, Chelan County will use the grant award to retain a probation officer position. Chelan County has an established misdemeanor probation department currently supervising approximately 2,200 adult offenders. It provides the following essential services: community corrections supervision involving felony reductions, juvenile declines, gross misdemeanors (such as domestic violence assault), serious traffic violations (primarily driving under the influence) and other misdemeanors (such as shoplifting and vehicle/property vandalism); sentencing investigations; community service placement; monitoring of restitution to victims; behavioral/crisis counseling; and treatment referral brokerage to the offenders. In addition to supervising offenders and enforcing the orders of the court, the probation department also provides support to problem-solving issues the court must deal with, most especially mental illness. Chelan County currently faces a significant budget crisis due to the current economy. In 2009, all county departments were required to reduce their budget allocations by 2.5 percent. Facing the same or possibly higher reduction for 2010, this reduction in the district court probation budget would force the elimination of a full time probation officer. A county probation officer has a caseload of 500 to 800 offenders. The loss of a probation officer would require the absorption of those cases to already overburdened probation officers, as well as a potential reduction in the overall departmental caseload. Additionally, it would most likely eliminate two special programs recently enacted to provide more intensive case management of those committing domestic violence crimes and mentally ill offenders.

The goal of this project would be the retention of a probation officer for two years, thus alleviating a portion of the county's budgetary crisis, as well as maintaining viable, essential probation services for the court and the community.


Date Created: September 15, 2009