Probation Officers….Under Staffed, Under Paid and Over Worked


4x5 Aiken_Partners_031(1)

Probation Officers….Under Staffed, Under Paid and Over Worked

The Florida Department of Corrections is in crisis.  The caseloads have grown and the Department is having trouble hiring qualified applicants to perform a tough job.  The Department is underfunded and the starting salaries are so low that it is next to impossible to get and keep dedicated employees.  The starting salaries are about ten thousand dollars below other starting salaries in law enforcement.  So why does this matter?  The high case load puts pressure on probation officers to reduce their case load by violating people for relatively minor technical offenses.  Probation is supposed to be a second chance for men and women who have committed minor crimes.  Probation is supposed to be a form of rehabilitation and not necessarily punishment.

If you are on probation you may have run into a probation officer with “attitude”.  Successfully completing probation is tough enough without dealing with an officer whose goal is to violate you.  This is particularly true if you are on sex offender probation with all of the harsh restrictions and law enforcement pressure to find a reason to put you in jail.  The truth is that probation officers are in a tough spot and trying to deal with low salaries, long hours and a frustrating job.  Do not let their problem become yours.

Always keep your appointments, even if the officer does not.  Document each visit and get confirmation that you are paying restitution, court costs and probation fees.  Keep a record of your receipts.  I suggest paying with money orders and keeping a copy for yourself.  Do not wait until your probation is almost over to get the fees paid. Do not wait until your probation is almost over to get the fees paid. Do not procrastinate and put off getting a drug evaluation or treatment.  The best way to not get violated is to not give them a reason.  At our criminal law office we defend probation violations regularly.  The violation still must be proved up to the judge and proved to be willful and substantial.  Having a real lawyer experienced in probation violations can make a difference.  If you are about to be violated or have a loved one in jail sitting with no bond on a violation, give us a call for a free consultation.  In Ft. Myers, call 239 334 8890 and if you are in Sarasota call 941 366 3506.  Do not wait until you are picked up.