The Nation’s First...

The Massachusetts Probation Service was the nation’s first Probation agency established in 1878. The Boston boot-maker John Augustus introduced the concept of probation. He believed that people could be rehabilitated through understanding and treatment instead of jail.

Today, the Massachusetts Probation Service continues to be inspired by the vision of John Augustus. We believe that the potential for positive, lasting changes can occur over time: during every interaction between probationers and our skilled probation officers, from assessment to case planning, to supervision and support, to sanctions and rewards.

First to Track Restraining Order Violators

Massachusetts Probation was the first agency to create a national Restraining Order Registry in 1978 to track domestic violence offenders and share information about these offenders with law enforcement and affiliate partners.

Operation Nitelite: a National Model for Community Supervision

In 1994, Probation created Operation Nitelite, a successful model of community supervision. The model pairs probation officers with police to conduct regular field work, which includes interactions with probationers, victims and the community at large. During special operations, Probation Officers also work collaboratively with state and federal law enforcement agencies on warrant sweeps.

Electronic Monitoring Program: an Alternative to Incarceration

In 2001, the Massachusetts Probation Service was among the first in the United States to track probationers using the GPS device as an alternative to jail time.

In 2005, Massachusetts Probation Service became one of the first states to track high-risk offenders using the GPS monitoring device as an added supervision tool. We are among a few states to perform our own monitoring of offenders using the system.

Electronic Monitoring to Deter Domestic Violence and Crime

Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to monitor domestic violence offenders using the GPS bracelet and has served as a catalyst for states such as Connecticut and Illinois, which used the Massachusetts Probation Service as a model.
Probation became one of the few state agencies to use crime correlation, a tracking system to determine if a person is at or in the vicinity of a crime scene.

Evidence-Based Practices: Risk-Need Assessments

In 2016, the Massachusetts Probation Service continues to lead the way, as one of the first probation departments in the country to implement a set of validated risk assessment tools, the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS) and Ohio Youth Assessment System (OYAS). These new risk assessment tools align with our mission to keep the public safe by changing the trajectory of the lives of the people who come into our care and custody.