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|July 5, 2011
Director of Communications
Massachusetts Probation Service Highlights Community Partnerships
to Mark Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week in July
This month, the Massachusetts Probation Service will join Probation, Parole, and Community Supervision agencies from across the nation and Canada in observing Probation, Parole, and Community Supervision Week from July 17th to 23rd. The agency celebrates its 170th anniversary, along with its unique status as the first Probation agency in the nation, with the theme "Building New Pathways to Enhance Public Safety."
Under the leadership of Acting Probation Commissioner Ronald Corbett, Massachusetts Probation the agency is using this milestone to reinvigorate community partnerships at the state and local levels.
"The committed men and women of the Massachusetts Probation Service collaborate every day with a wide range of rehabilitative and public safety agencies statewide," said Corbett. "The agency's long heritage of innovation continually inspires Probation staff to improve practices and identify new programs that assist local communities in addressing criminal justice and public safety issues in these challenging times."
On any night of the week, Probation Officers can be found in the community checking on offenders in their homes, enforcing court orders, and ultimately holding offenders accountable. In Massachusetts, close to 90,000 offenders are serving on probation. They are supervised by 848 line Probation Officers in more than 100 courts across the state. In addition, at the state's 21 Community Corrections Centers offenders can earn their GED's, participate in job training, and receive drug and alcohol counseling.
Probation is a cost-effective alternative to incarceration at an annual rate of $780 per probationer on risk/need probation compared to the $40,000 yearly cost to incarcerate an individual.
The agency collected $15.4 million in restitution which was paid to victims in fiscal 2010. In addition, $54.3 million in court and probation fees were collected and placed in the Commonwealth's general fund.
In addition to resources provided by the courts, Probation Officers have created programs to promote law-abiding behavior among offenders. Parenting Programs, such as the Fatherhood and Mothers Programs, which teach offenders good parenting skills; Changing Lives through Literature, which introduces offenders to literature and poetry; and Drug Courts are only a few examples of initiatives designed and implemented by Probation Officers, based on the needs of offenders and local communities.
Probationers, ordered to do community service in lieu of court costs, performed more than 400,000 hours over the past year. Offenders across the state work at food pantries where they have helped distribute healthy food to struggling families. Probationers played a pivotal role in the clean-up of the aftermath of a devastating tornado that hit western Massachusetts in June. Offenders have assisted in the construction, remodeling, and painting of non-profit organizations such as churches and synagogues, as well as senior citizen centers.