The Erie County Adult Probation Department is part of the General Division of the Court of Common Pleas. The department works under the direction of the Chief Probation Officer. The Probation Department is charged with providing supervision of offenders in the community, as well as producing Pre-Sentence Investigation Reports for the Court. Our mission is to assist the Court and the community through effective supervision of offenders granted community control by the Court. It is the department’s goal to assist offenders by mainstreaming them back into the community in a number of ways. This includes but is not limited to holding offenders accountable for their actions, collaborating with community and local services to assist with identified needs, employment, education and any other programming that will assist offenders in reintegrating back into the community and becoming productive citizens. We serve the taxpayers of Erie County by saving the costs of incarcerating offenders who can otherwise be safely supervised in the community. The Adult Probation Department offers several programs to reduce recidivism and protect the public.
In addition to supervising offenders the Adult Probation Department also collects restitution and distributes these payments to victims. In 2013, the department collected approximately $200,000.00 for victims of crime.
The pre-sentence investigation is a thorough and comprehensive study of the past and present life of an offender for the purpose of learning as much about the person’s character and background as is humanly possible. From the information obtained in the course of the investigation a professional report is assembled which serves as a factual case study for Judges, prison personnel, and Probation/Parole Officers.
Intensive Supervision Program
In 1997 the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections awarded the Adult Probation Department a Community Corrections Act Grant to supervise offenders who are diverted from jail or prison. The program will protect citizens by ensuring effective supervision of adult offenders in environments that are safe, humane and appropriately secure; the program seeks to instill in offenders an improved sense of responsibility and the ability to become productive citizens.
The offender must successfully complete the three (3) phases of ISP before they are able to “step-down” to standard supervision. Movement through the 3 phases is based upon the offender’s behavior and compliance with their conditions of Community Controlled Sanctions.
Non-Support Diversion Program
The main focus with this program is to make sure that offenders are making their current monthly support payments. The Non-Support Diversion Officer works closely with CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Agency) as well as the Prosecutor’s Office to ensure that offenders pay child support as ordered as well as offering services to offenders who have difficulty with various criminogenic needs.
The officers in the Standard Supervision unit perform a wide variety of tasks. Besides supervising a caseload of offenders; they are also conducting Pre-Sentence Investigations for the Court. Should an offender violate the terms and conditions of Probation (Community Controlled Sanctions) the officer is charged with writing a Probable Cause Letter to inform the Court of the offender’s current status. The unit also has two (2) Field Officers who are in the community conducting address verifications and home visits.
Electronic Monitoring/House Arrest Program
The program is available to both pre-trial as well as Post-Sentence offenders. The EM/HA Program allows an offender to be “monitored” following his release from the local county jail or as an alternative to incarceration following sentencing. The program is administered through the Residential Enforcement Officers. Services provided to offenders include employment (the offender has the ability to work while awaiting trial or on CCS); the ability to attend substance abuse counseling; mental health counseling; attend educational/vocational programs; obtain housing.
Thinking For a Change Program
In 2011, the Erie County Adult Probation Department, in conjunction with Sandusky Municipal Court, was awarded a grant through the State of Ohio called the Probation Improvement and Incentive Grant. With these funds the department was able to hire a certified facilitator to teach Thinking for A Change.
Thinking for a Change focuses on cognitive restructuring, critical social skills and problem solving techniques. The classes are taught in-house and are approximately 8 to 10 weeks long. For high risk offenders we also offer Thinking Errors in conjunction with Thinking for a Change.
Benchmark/Mental Health Program
The Court offers a Drug Court as well as a Mental Health (Intervention) Program. The Benchmark Program works in conjunction with Bayshore Counseling Center in providing services to the offender. The program is reserved for non-violent offenders. Some misdemeanor as well as probation violators will be accepted. The Erie County Prosecutor has the final determination as to eligibility and entry into the Benchmark Program. Offenders can expect to spend at least six (6) months in the program.
The Intervention Court Program is a court supervised intensive treatment program. The program involves the holistic treatment approach. Community agencies in conjunction with the Common Pleas Court and the Municipal Courts, the Public Defenders Office and the Prosecutor’s, and the Adult Probation Department are working together to help qualified individuals receive the opportunity to change and develop a healthy lifestyle.
Chief Probation Officer