Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bexar, Collin probation departments thumb noses at state diversion goals

The main reason Texas does not currently face a prison overcrowding crisis right now has been the implementation over the last two sessions of new diversion programs at local probation departments aimed at reducing felony revocations.

Most local probation departments that received new diversion funding have seen their felony revocation rates decline significantly, according to an analysis by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (pdf), but three counties receiving grants saw increases in revocations (p. 20):
  • Bexar: 79.9%
  • Nueces: 10.7%
  • Collin: 91.6%
Collin and Bexar's numbers, in particular, are as disgraceful as they are untenable. At this point, if they don't improve immediately, the state should take away their grant money.

I don't know why the Bexar County judges keep probation chief Bill Fitzgerald around at this point. Not only has he alienated the bulk of his employees, he's doing an incredibly poor job running the agency as measured by these outcomes. His probationers simply are less successful now than they've been in the past, and that makes everyone in San Antonio less safe.

Other large jurisdictions did much better - both Dallas and Harris Counties saw a double digit decline, and Travis County, which reported no decline in revocations last year, this time around improved their performance and reduced them by nearly 20%

We also discover from this report that caseloads declined and the number of early discharges from probation increased overall thanks to 2007 funding and changes in the law.

Still, I was interested to learn how rapidly the number of probationers is growing statewide given that crime overall is declining. The number of new probation placements in 2008 was 7.7% higher than the statewide number 2005, TDCJ reports, with the largest county departments witnessing even greater increases (p. 18). That makes little sense to me: If there's less crime, why are there more placements?

Also, I'm not sure I understand why Dallas County has a much higher number of people on probation than Harris County, which has a larger residential population. Dallas supervised 31,708 probationers in 2008 compared to 24,456 in Harris. What explains that?

These data tell us that diversion funding is working, but also that there's still much to do. Even with reduced revocations, it's troubling that the overall probation population is growing at such a rapid clip at a time when crime is declining. And while most large counties are using new diversion tools, clearly Bexar and Collin in particular need to either be brought to heel or have their funding reduced.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

"His probationers simply are less successful now than they've been in the past, and that makes everyone in San Antonio less safe."

To imply that probationers are less successful because of the action or inaction of the probation chief is foolish at best. It is also shows a total lack of understanding regarding the success or failure of a probationer!!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"foolish" to demand outcomes from agency heads?

If probationers are failing at much higher rates on his watch, why shouldn't he be held accountable?

Anonymous said...

Bexar Revocation rates were already lower than the other big counties before this revocation reduction?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 9:17 - even if that's true, it doesn't explain Bexar's high rate of increase, or Collin's.

Anonymous said...

That is the problem with probation. We measure success by recidivism or revocations, two measurements that can be so easily manipulated.

Anonymous said...

Grits,

As a parole officer I can tell you why Harris county has fewer probationers. You should look at how many people are quickly getting sentenced in Harris County to lesser state jail confinements or are sent straight to TDCJ-ID without getting probation.

Bexar county's number's are staggering. What I have to wonder is why are so many getting revoked? Is it because the majority is committing new offenses or behind on fees? I'm all for revoking offenders committing new offenses. Revoking those who just can't pay all of their fees is beyond ignorant.

Anonymous said...

I'm with 9:41, if they reoffend file the motion, if it is money or some other technical, there needs to be another option. And as to 9:07, why are "his" probationers less successful? He has more money and more programs than his predecessor had?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't length of probation have something to do with these statistics?

Say you have 100 probationers with a 1 year term and 10 are revoked, that's a 10% revocation rate. If you have 100 probationers with a 10 year term and 10 are revoked per year, that is a 100% revocation rate. Year over year change has to be viewed in light of the length of probation.

TDCJ statistics on parole suffer from the same problem. Upon eligibility for parole, most offenders are reviewed once a year year. The % paroled is not presented in the context of length of sentence or behavior while incarcerated. The fact that two-thirds of inmates are parole eligible, tells far more than all the useless statistics published by the BPP.

I also have ask the question, why are parole revocations up when crime is down?

Anonymous said...

"Still, I was interested to learn how rapidly the number of probationers is growing statewide given that crime overall is declining."

Crime is declining because of the way agencies, most of them metro areas, are now reporting part V UCR crimes. Burglaries where no property is taken or no forced entry are now being classified as criminal mischief. Aggravated assaults are now being reported as misdemeanor assaults. And many reported offense such as theft and motor vehicle theft are reported as unfounded.

I will admit I don't know why probationers are up as you say, but
resist the notion for any drop in the crime rate, because it is the result of simply changing the reporting system.

Don said...

Agree with anon9:24. Probation initiates a revocation. They can file a MRP or do something else, or do nothing. True there is some accounting to do when they have an audit, but my point is that they have lots of control over the revocations that are instigated. So, if they need to revoke 10% fewer in order to get money, as was the case a couple of sessions ago, it's really not that difficult to effect. Re: Harris Co. Think another post already stated this, but one reason they have fewer probationers is because their would-be probationers are in PRISON. So, there ya go.
To anon 10:34. You are straight on. There is a wide disparity in length of probation county to county. That has been an argument for shortening these probation periods. A 10 year probation period is silly, and impossible to complete unless you have a very helpful CSO. All in all, TDCJ, including CJAD, is such a circus that comparing county to county is like comparing apples to oranges.

Anonymous said...

"Revoking those who just can't pay all of their fees is beyond ignorant."

And putting someone on probation who does not have the means or cannot afford to pay the fees is ignorant.

Anonymous said...

How does the fact that Austin PD and other Texas le agencies who do not report UCR have an effect on the "the declining crime rate?"

Anonymous said...

Grits, how does the number of misdemeanor probations compare between Harris and Dallas Counties? In Dallas, it appears that we supervise a lot of misdemeanor probations for DWLS, Shoplift, etc., that could be dealt with some other way.

Anonymous said...

Grits, how does the number of misdemeanor probations compare between Harris and Dallas Counties? In Dallas, it appears that we supervise a lot of misdemeanor probations for DWLS, Shoplift, etc., that could be dealt with some other way.

You bring up a good point. I wonder if the statewide rise in probationers is due to misdemeanor offenses and maybe felony probationers are going down. Anyone know? Maybe state jail felonies being pled down to a misdemeanor with probation?

Anonymous said...

To all the (Active or Retired) District/County Court at Law Judges, District Attorneys, Criminal Defense Lawyers, CJAD officials, Law school Deans & the Adult probation officers in the entire State of TEXAS,

How does your Adult Probation Department (In your respective County) deal with Motions To Revoke Probation Warrants. Do the officers type/prepare and file the Motions To Revoke Probation Warrants or do the Probation Officer's simply submit a violation report to the District Attorney's office and they type/prepare and file the Motion's To Revoke themselves?

Second question? Who is authorized and not authorized to approve the filing of the Motions to Revoke Probation Warrants?

Third question? Where is it written in the TEXAS PENAL CODE, ARTICLE 42.12, CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE or any CERTIFICATION handbook which states as part of their job duties Probation officers are required to TYPE/PREPARE & FILE the MOTIONS TO REVOKE PROBATION WARRANTS.

If you respond to this post, please indicate which County you are employed at or were employed at when your job status was active.

Anonymous said...

Bexar did not work the program correct. There was no training and the new officers (half of them) were placed in misdemeanor courts.
Fitzgerald is lost and in 2005 he gummed down the revoctaion rates then dropped the ball and bingo up 80%.

Anonymous said...

"If probationers are failing at much higher rates on his watch, why shouldn't he be held accountable?"

Yes, lets fire him just like a football coach whose team doesn't win because the players don't perform. Lets not hold the players (probation officers) accountable either.

Nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Guess what 6:43! Officers in Bexar did not even know that they were suppose to be keeping the revocation rates down. With 50% turnover it is is hard to know who is even at work. The coach forgot to get enough players on the field and then didnt call a play!!!!!

Fire Bill Fitzgerald!!!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"lets fire him just like a football coach whose team doesn't win"

No, you're right. Let's keep him, because everybody loves a loser!

Anonymous said...

"Officers in Bexar did not even know that they were suppose to be keeping the revocation rates down."

Well what exactly were they suppose to be doing then, collecting fees?

Anonymous said...

7:18 you need to understand we are in the land of Susan Reed. Cough wrong = revocation. Bexar was doing the normal revocations. Felony courts revoke for new offenses, failing to report for two months plus and positive UA's.

Maybe the rates were so high in Bexar because everyone was coming out positive for UA's on the faulty UA lab in Bexar and then going to prison. Positive UA's went from 7% to 45% in Fitzgerald's new lab by his own admission.

Anyway you look at this Fitzgerald needs to go and maybe in cuffs.

Anonymous said...

It's a number's game. I'm a Travis County Probation Officer. We got a grant to lower caseloads. Given the ineptitude of our administration, we're going broke. We've had a hiring freeze for a year now. How will they report a lowering of of caseload numbers then? Well have new fangled minimum caseloads which even newly probated offenders can get placed on. They're in a rush to fill them up because the day of reckoning is here.

As for the lowering of revocations, that tends to happen when you can't recommend revocation on Administrative violations. If you do Administration will call you on it.

We have had zero new diversion programs in our Department. Zero. We also weren't given raises last year. Our Director has also been sending out emails warning us about the budget restraints for the State (i.e. no raises this year either). My husband tells we need to unionize, but I don't know where to start.

Anonymous said...

Travis County....

Bexar and Dallas probation officers are Union together. We are just waiting on Travis, Harris, and the rest of Texas to join us. We are under the United Steelworkers.

Anonymous said...

What's the process? How do you get started? People are really angry. We got screwed out of three raises last year. Cost of living, merit and a reclassification.

Anonymous said...

Well what exactly were they suppose to be doing then, collecting fees?

Funny you mention that. Under Fitzgerald fee collection became part of how a Probation Officer is evaluated.

Anonymous said...

Call the United Steelworkers and get a hold of either the Bexar or Dallas Probation Locals. They have a rep. who will fill you in.

Harris County needs to wake up also.

Officers need to be paid enough to stay and make it through training to understand what it is a probation officer does. The turnover rate is out of control in my county also.

All this diversion money and no officers to carry it out. They put the cart before the horse. We all saw it coming why didnt our Beloved Chief???

Anonymous said...

Probation Departments, actually now CSCD's, that have in place Community Sanctions, and actually impose those sanctions with the cooperation of the District and County Court at Law Judges as well as the District and County Attorney's are the ones proving successful in reducing recidivism in Texas. Revoking offenders for failure to pay fines, court costs, supervison fees in this day and age when educational systems are failing is past ridiculous! Failing one drug test is often an indicator that an offender NEEDS assitance is drug treatment, not institutionalization in TDCJ. When all Courts realize this and become more educated in the system and quit revoking offenders for failing to pay and failing drug tests when drug rehabilitation will work, recidivism will be reduced and productive defendants will return to society as productive citizens!

Anonymous said...

Whatever Pollyana. The fact that drug users get to remain in the community is a danger to the community. Get your house broken into or one of your kids get assaulted and your singing a different tune. It's extremely narcissistic for anyone to think they can change anyones behavior.

Anonymous said...

If you cannot change behavior then why ever let offenders out of prison?

Drugs are all over the streets. If we lock up for ever positive then we will have more in jail then out. When you have a defendnat who is working and reporting and is law abiding, then why would you lock the offender up for a positive? If you have an offender who is not working or not looking for work, will not report, and refuses to work court ordered drug treatment,then you might want to start looking at some time up. You get trained officers in the job and you treat each offender fair and try to find what works and does not work for each offender to avoid jail/prison.

Anonymous said...

Hey folks you are asking the wrong questions. You need to find out why Dallas , Travis, Harris, and whoever else have declining revocations rates! Do you think all these magic programs are reducing these numbers? They are flat out not filing on probationers unless they get a new felony offense or have absconded! Running probation departments by just looking at revocation numbers is unethical and dangerous. Wake up! Go do some serious journalism and find out what is really going on in these magic counties!

Anonymous said...

That's what's done now. No one gets locked up for one positive or for only owing money. People get locked up for numerous violations not single ones. At least they do in Travis County. At some point you have tohold criminal accountable. He's got a lot more to do with his success than his officer does.

Anonymous said...

All you folks who are hawking the counties with a high revocation rate even know how that number is calculated? Probably not. Do you know the difference between a technical revocation and a non-technical revocation? Probably not. Do you know if they calculate placement increase numbers in the revocation rate? Probably not. What would you do with a probationer who does not attend a substance abuse program, does not report, does not work,does not pay and submits multiple positive urine tests? If you are in Dallas ,Tarrant, Harris, or Travis nothing will happen to you because they don't want the revocation rate to go up! They won't do anything with that probationer until they commit a new felony offense against you! Think this through folks and quit buying these rediculous stats and headlines.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

If you think the answers to those questions are relevant to the point at hand, 6:08, by all means enlighten us with your version of reality - with documentation specific to the agencies in question, preferably.

The idea that all those additional revocations are for someone "who does not attend a substance abuse program, does not report, does not work,does not pay and submits multiple positive urine tests" is completely ridiculous. If you can document what you say, put up or shut up.

Finally, if Bexar and Collin's revocations increased that much in one year, are you claiming the year before they were slackers?

I particularly love the advice: Don't believe official statistics, believe an anonymous, unsourced blog commenter instead. Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

First those revocation rates are not for one year. They compared 2005 numbers to 2008 numbers. Read the report it is obvious. The difference between technical and non-technical revocations is key to what the state is trying to do. they are attempting to reduce techincal revocation which are not paying, not reporting, not attending programs, submitting postitive uas, not working, shall i continue? However they lump technical and non-technical revocations together which skews the numbers. Not to mention if a probationer abscondes supervision that is counted as a technical revocation(not reporting). How do you work with someone who does not report? Also those numbers the state relies on comes from the counties that have a stake in having a low revocation number. Fox watching the hen house? My point is do some research and look at this thing a bit closer and you will find it is not as simple as looking at a single revocation rate and then conclude the counties with high revocation rates are not doing their job. It may be the other way around look at the counties claiming these wonderful things and ask the tough questions.

Anonymous said...

The anon bloggers are right on some of Bexar's problems. The chief did not pass down the right info or understand the concept. Sept.thru Oct. 2005- they reported lower revocation numbers than normal. Chief was manipulating numbers to make him look better-IMO.

The PSISM model was never given to the officers for the officers to even work the program. How many times do the officers from Bexar have to prove that Fitzgerald is lost in space. How long will we have to continue to prove this until our crappy judges get a clue?

Grits, the audit is out there that proves it was all leadership. We can get the audit to people who doubt.

If you lower your numbers in 2005, fail to involve the ada's, forget to tell the officers and then heck who knows what the judges knew????

Read the Audit!!!We can get it to you!!!

Also another point..... if a defendant has a new charge and also has failures to report on a Motion To Revoke.... the ADA's will procede on the failures to report so they do not have to prove a new charge. Then it is turned into a technical violation revocation instead of a new offense revocation. However if not for the new offense violation a Motion To Revoke would not have been filed!

Anonymous said...

Statistics in this case don't lie, so this "polyanna" who posted yesterday is now wondering why CJAD, TDCJ and the Legislature is not doing what they can do by CJAD standards and withhold funds from those departments that are not meeting specific funding requirements? There is the question for GRITS to pose to CJAD and TDCJ! It's very obvious the department Directors and District Judges are snubbing their noses at CJAD requirements. Anyone who thinks that "Polyanna" type revocation and incarceration of offenders into TDCJ for failure of one drug test should be more than willing to fork over huge amounts of increased taxes and obviously is not in the business of criminal justice, just some "high crime punishment DA type from Georgetown".

Anonymous said...

grits, call travis county and find out what new diversion programs they have instituted with their money. If they say Cognitive classes they are lying to you. That predated any grants. Also ask them what the average caselod is. Ask them how many empty caseloads they have and when the last new officer was hired. Do it quickly because they are about do another mass transfer of cases so they can tell CJAD that they have lowered their officer's caseload.

And don't let your beliefs and ideology cloud your judgment. I used have your same beliefs. Working probation has just beaten them out of me.

Anonymous said...

FROM BLOGGER DATED 1/14/2009 3:42 P.M.

It has been 2 days since I had addressed all GRITS readers especially those employed in the Criminal Justice System pertaining to the questions about MOTIONS TO REVOKE PROBATION WARRANTS.

Do any of you individuals have the BALLS to answer the listed questions.

Mr. Henson, I have read your bio many times. You claim to have done research and written articles pertaining to issues involving the Criminal Justice System for many years. Why don't you post my blog as a main story line so that others may get a better understanding of what an ADULT PROBATION OFFICER'S real job duties are especially pertaining to my questions about MOTION TO REVOKE PROBATION WARRANTS.

Mr. Henson, before you respond, think twice before you make any comments about me or anyone else being an anonymous blogger. Since you have never been employed by a State agency you don't know what it's like with being faced with losing your job for being outspoken.

So, remember most State employed individuals remain anonymous to protect themselves from being RETALIATED against which could result in them being TERMINATED.

It is a SHAME especiallly for all those DISTRICT/COUNTY JUDGES and DISTRICT ATTORNEYS or Asst DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S that they have not answered my listed questions.

I can't believe no one in the entire State of Texas can answer those questions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Grits i loved your statment about not accepting a comment by an anonymous post but rely on the gospel of "Official State Statistics" (paraphrase). Grits call CJAD and ask them what the CSTS(tracking system) error rate is for these counties claiming these wonderful revocation rates. Ask them if there are any problems with the tracking system and how long they have had problems. Open that can of worms. Also ask CJAD how they calculate the revocation rate. It is a flawed system and needs to be looked into and straightened out. Grits don't buy this crap that CSCDs are putting all these people in prison for missing one report or one payment or submitting one positive ua. it just isn't true and has not been true for years. Are there some judges that have a philosophy of holding probationers strictly accountable? Yes, but you can't blame that on officers.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you friggin probation people are so fuc..ed up. How can anyone get ahead with your type running probation. No wonder there are so many problems for released prisoners!

Anonymous said...

1/17/2009 9:13 pm

What does the problems for the prisoners being released have to do with probation. If someone would just follow probation conditions which are merely living a life without breaking the law and paying their debt to society by staying clean, paying fees, and doing community service then they would never even go to prison. Or how about just living your life as a law abiding citizen like the rest of us. Probation isn't a game of what officer can revoke more people than another officer. It's all about holding people accountable for THEIR ACTIONS. Giving them a chance to redeem themsleves. If they blow it, not the officers fault, they have free will and freedom of choice, don't blame probation for another's bad choices.

Anonymous said...

You probably have a close relationship with Twinkle Toes. Have many parolees and probationers have you personally made their lives hell? Many good people are caught up in the system and driven further into criminal behavior by you watch-dogs. If you understood life on the streets or as a normal person, you could help the situation; however most of you are out to force criminals to conform to your own visions of normality, which usually is farfetched from reality.

Anonymous said...

I bet you would be fun to supervise, sounds like you live a life of hell, you don't need anyone to help you out. Sounds like you were on probation for something you claim you didn't do. Many, many people placed on probation by the Courts come in to see their PO for the first time and the first thing out of their mouth is "I didn't do it." You are no different, it's called Poor Me syndrome. Get over, face your faults, get help and move on.

Anonymous said...

814....You are part of the problem. It has been proven, even on this blog, that many have served in prison who were not guilty. YOU assume that everyone who spent time in jail was in deed guilty...but you are wrong. You should not be in a probation position if you mind is so set in mud and you can't give a probationer a fair shot. Resign, or get up to date on reality.

Anonymous said...

I never said there isn't any innocent people in prison. You are so absorbed in your own opinion that you are not paying attention to what I am saying. Those criminals on probation or in the system HAVE TO PAY THERE DUES, PERIOD. These is no reason why probation or parole should not be revoked if they break the rules. If somenone does not want to take the help that is being handed to them, practically spoon fed to them then that is their fault, not the supervision officer. If you feel offended by having to follow rules that will make you a better person in society than probation is not for you. It is not a probation/parole officers mission to revoke people, we don't make a commission on how many people go to jail. Our duty is to protect society and once you become the victim of a criminal who was treated like an innocent soul your tune will change, unless you have already been the soul who has reoffended and blames it on the system and not yourself. Face it laws aren't that hard to follow, millions of people follow the law everyday. I am not the creator of the law or the system, I just help enforce the rules to protect the innocent, and give those that have already been through the court system and are sitting in front of me the tools to make it through their probation term. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse either.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"If you feel offended by having to follow rules ..."

What I notice is that it's Bexar and Collin CSCDs that are offended by having to follow the rules. They were given money to reduce revocations and decided instead to increase them. But I'll guarantee they won't give back the money.

The Lege should take away their grants and spend money on departments who appreciate and take advantage of the extra resources. That would match your prescription for probationers, 8:12, right?

Anonymous said...

GRITS, It is the duty of the Probation officer ONLY to notify the Assistant district Attorney of any violation and it is the ADA's responsibility to file the Motion To Revoke probation or Motion t0 Enter an Adjudication of Guilt on a Deferrred Adjudication case. The CSO's in Bexar County are being forced by the INEPT Chief William "The Fondler" Fitzgerald to type up the MTR's. He and "Her Highness" D.A. Susan Reed continue this practice, even after being confronted. The ADA's in Bexar County won't proceed on a new #1 "arrest" if they can get an easy conviction with an agreement on a "TECHNICAL" violation. The losers are the probation officers who are already overworked, underpaid, retaliated against, quitting in droves AND the probationers who don't receive counseling/help because they are rushed through office visits like cattle at a slaughter house.
Mr. Henson, I have personally sent you numerous articles on the worthless chief in Bexar County, most of it you have NOT POSTED!! Recently an article from WOAI on a federal Sexual Harassment case, yet no mention and your readers go after the individual officerslike it is their fault. He is so busy licking/carressing toes, making sexually suggestive remarks, retaliating against offcers who stand up for probationers/CSO's rights and getting drunk, that he doesn't have time or the knowledge to fix what he has "SCREWED" up. ALL HIS FAULT!!!!!
Many posters ask why we are anonymous, tell them Mr. Henson how the Chief and the Illustrious Attorney General attempted to get the Bexar CSO's identities from Google because of your BLOGSITE!! It is not the fault of the majority of probation officers in Bexar County. They would rather have their probationers be successes....That is a WIN-WIN situation no matter what the rest of you think!
Finally, I dare any of you detractors to go to Bexar and work for that department, I bet you'll be gone in a week. Then those probationers you care about (B.S.) will be the ones who lose.
Easy to spout off if you've never been there, I HAVE so I can tell you it's HELL for those officers and the probationers!
FIRE FITZGERALD and get Bexar back on track.....

Anonymous said...

If you are interested in starting an UNION, get a hold of the United Steelworkers - TEXAS representatives and they will be glad to help you like they did Dallas and Bexar counties.
It will take each and every one of you to get probation where it needs to be. We can't allow the lege to try and figure it out, they have NO IDEA what CSO's do, except what Chief probation officers tell them. LIARS TELLING LIES TO OTHER LIARS. Public Safety is the screen they all hide behind.

Anonymous said...

Gtits, I agree with 9:43! Fitzgerald has screwed up Bexar beyond belief!! The officers are all so new they have no idea what the hell is going on. Hey but the chief doesnt have clue either.

In all seriousness the officers in Bexar where told they would start working the PSISM model when the caseloads hit 95 cases. This never happened. We all have no idea what Fitzgerald did with the money. He must have eaten it because we never have enough officers and they quit as soon as they hit the door. The even bigger problem than Fitgerald is Kathy Cline, the Deputy Chief. When you have your staff on edge,are nasty to get along with, and have no idea what probation does, then you probably should not be Deputy Chief.

When Fitgerald made us all reapply for our jobs he asked us all where we saw our self on the bus. He had this saying from a STUPID BOOK...that you have to have the right people in the right seats on the bus to go from Good to Great!!!

Well, he has not done what he preached. All his admin is a joke and have not one leadership skill among them. Then about 50% of the managers were crap officers, swingers or mental cases (no lie). Now look at what we are dealing with.
There are currently 5 lawsuits against this chief. Really Grits...the money for revocation is nothing to the money the AG will have to put out for this guy. How much does it cost the AG to defend him?

Bexar revocation rates are still lower than the other counties. Fitzgerald goes and takes Cline, then and only then you will see Bexar take that money and work it correct.

Madden and Whitmire's programs do work and we can do better. As for Bexar we can do better with new leadership!!! Collin County I'm at a lost for what happened there???

Steve Henderson said...

Also another point..... if a defendant has a new charge and also has failures to report on a Motion To Revoke.... the ADA's will procede on the failures to report so they do not have to prove a new charge. Then it is turned into a technical violation revocation instead of a new offense revocation. However if not for the new offense violation a Motion To Revoke would not have been filed!

I agree with this statement. I work for a county that did not take diverson funding (although that report shows I did take it for 08-09 and I didn't), mainly because I have a DA's office and one judge who files motions w/o the probation department, and orders MTRs from the bench after what we would normally consider minor techincal violations. I can tell you for a fact that in my county, we use a progressive sanctions policy, refer to 9 different inpatient facilities not including SAFPF or our Recovery Court, but still have high revocation numbers. Sometimes it cannot be helped, so you dont take the funding.

If we file a motion, its only because someone absconded or committed a new crime, and still have high numbers. Now I have to figure out why we have such a large number of absconders, and work from there. There is no easy answer to this problem.

Anonymous said...

I have become really discouraged about how Texas treats individuals as numbers. If the purpose of the system is to deter, rehabilitate and provide retribution I am at a loss. A family member violated his parole while in Louisiana after a compact deal with Texas. He was unable to adjust and fell victim to a meth addiction. After time served in L.A. he was released. eleven months later and fully recovered, working and paying up child support Texas comes a calling. They failed to send the order to hold for a pick up. He is a great example of rehabilitation./ But he's a number and the justice system in Texas fails us all.

Anonymous said...

GRITS and readers!
Why is the probation department held responsibe for revocations???
Community Supervision Officers are only required to file Violation Reports, even though in Bexar County we are FORCED to file Motions to Revoke. CSO's DO NOT have the power to revoke! Most Bexar County Judges could care less what our recommenations are. ADA's don't know what CJAD wants from CSCD's and they could care less. They're too busy trying to act like TV lawyers, and most are so young they have no clue. "NO CLUE" Just like Bexar CSCD Chief "fitzgerald" and Director of Operations "kline" who have run the department like a NAZI concentration camp!
It appears to me that the Chief probation officers tell those in Austin that evrything is fine and the LEGE believes the crock of crap!
Go talk to the people in the trenches and they will overwhelmingly tell you they are underpaid, overworked, treated like CRAP and watch their adminstartors get raises....
Ask Steve Lara, Sheri Simonelli, Michelle Garza and others at Bexar County CSCD about what is wrong with an organization where the CHIEF is the final authority. What do you do when you're greivance is against him?????
Yet none of you care and keep blaming those w/o the power to change things!
That is until the rank and file UNIONIZE and force some change through AUSTIN!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

10:35 asks, "Why is the probation department held responsible for revocations???"

Mostly because they applied for and accepted a grant from the state with the stated goal of reducing revocations. Other counties figured out how to do it.

As you point out, Bexar has a lot of problems at its CSCD, mostly stemming from poor leadership. My guess is leadership priorities also are at the root of Bexar's failure to reduce revocations.

Anonymous said...

Lack of an ACTUAL leader is entirely the problem. Little chief Elmer Fudd is really screwy. He hides in his office and let's the "BIATCH" operations director tell him what to do most of the time. 2 years ago she couldn't spell probation, and she still has no idea what she's doing.
Next they'll promote another harasser to manager. I bet Ms. Garza's settlement on it.....Stay tuned

Anonymous said...

I AM A FORMER COLLIN COUNTY PROBATION OFFICER FROM WITHIN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS (during the time covered by these numbers). Collin County has developed and implemented a full Progressive Sanctions plan aimed at addressing technical violations by NUMEROUS means other than revocation. I am quite surprised to see the numbers on this site as the Directors (we had 3 while I was there) on down to the line supervisors all stress following the Progressive Sanctions plan that we basically worked together to create. But the Judges had to approve that sanction plan, and then they, along with the District Attorney's office had to be on board with following it both in sentencing and in choosing how to handle violations. The Director and officers take the heat from people who have no idea how the system works, especially how a COURT really works from behind closed doors, etc. I cannot do anything but laugh at GRITS and other people who speak from a place of ignorance regarding their topic. I don't claim the place was perfect, it has the same problems endemic in all Texas Probation offices (office politics, etc.), but the department is headed mostly by people who have sincerely tried to do their job and do what the state and their grants mandate. The current Director worked his way through the ranks from line officer to Supervisor to Unit Supervisor to where he is now. He was a good Supervisor and he is a good Director. Your brazen arrogance and ignorance is both laughable and pitiful. I would certainly never deign to analyze and criticize and industry I know nothing about, so I don't understand why you do, unless you just like the hear the sound of your own 'voice.' (And just for your reference, I moved on to another department in another area for personal reasons, I have no reason to take up for Collin County other than it is the truth. Also, I did not supervise the population that was covered in this study (high risk felonies) but I have firsthand knowledge of the policies and the caseloads. I was also on the committee that formed the Progressive Sanctions guidelines, and they are the same if not more stringent than some of the large counties you've named with success rates.)

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:28, you write, ". I cannot do anything but laugh at GRITS and other people who speak from a place of ignorance," and yet you also write, "I am quite surprised to see the numbers on this site"

In other words, you are completely ignorant of the trends in your department, but "cannot do anything but laugh" at the ignorance of others.

Pot, meet kettle.

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Anonymous said...

The main reason the probation program fails is that islet up to fail .. the probation officers will do anything in there power and somethings out of there power to violate and revoke..It is $ that is what all of this is about.. I have ha 4 different PO's while on my 2 years deferred probation .. Of the 4 1 was fair , 1did not care they were moving on to another job , the. 3rd tried everything she could to revoke me .. She twisted the line of the law , she is no longer there.. The 4th P.O. Has no clue and on our 1st meeting called me a liar on 3 occasions.. Probation is a trap .. Not only do the recently released inmates need policing via probation but the probation officers themselves need even more.. It is border line illegal .. I will be starting a coalition against unfair and unjust behaviour .. Look for it soon