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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Misconceptions About Community Corrections

 Probation officers don't supervise violent criminals.

Of the 150,178 offenders under active and active suspense supervision as of June 30, 2011, 30,738 (20.5%) were on supervision for the commission of a violent offense.

* One of the following conditions must occur for a crime to be defined as violent under this definition: actual physical harm or threat of physical harm; or a reasonable probability existed that individual criminal acts could have resulted in unintended physical harm or the threat of physical harm.

 Probationers aren't accountable. It's like paper supervision, not punishment or retribution.

An offender placed under supervision by the court or released by the Parole Commission must abide by "conditions of supervision". The conditions of supervision are mandated by Florida statute (s. 948.03) but the statutes also allow the sentencing/releasing authority to design "special conditions" for the offender based upon the type of crime for which they have been convicted.

The offender under supervision must comply with the conditions prior to terminating supervision. A willful violation of these conditions may result in revocation and imposition of any sentence which may have been imposed before placing the offender on supervision (including prison) or a return to prison in the case of a prison release.

The probationer is required to pay the cost of supervision to the State of Florida, and may have additional conditions requiring payment of restitution, court costs, and fines.

Often, in the case of persons under court supervision, the court will order completion of public service hours which are designed to aid local communities by reducing costs and provide the offender with a means of "paying back" to the community.

Offenders under supervision for drug offenses are often required to attend and complete residential or outpatient drug treatment programs and undergo random urine testing to check for the possible abuse of illegal substances.

Persons under supervision for sex offenses generally have the strictest conditions of supervision. These conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Submission of blood specimen for DNA sample in the FDLE database
  • Restrictions on where they live, visit and work
  • Psychological treatment
  • Limitations on contact with minors
  • Searches of their homes and computers
  • Curfews
  • Maintenance of driving logs
  • Will be photographed
  • No post office boxes
  • Registration as a sex offender and public notice of sex offender status.

Offenders on community control supervision, in addition to the regular conditions of supervision, must remain confined to an approved residence except for one-half hour before and after their approved employment, public service work or any other activity approved by their officer.

Supervising officers visit all persons under supervision at their homes, employment and elsewhere in the community.

Supervising officers have powers of arrest over offenders on supervision and participate regularly with other law enforcement agencies in planned initiatives involving offenders under supervision who are members of gangs, sex offenders or absconders from supervision. Many supervising officers are certified to carry a firearm for protection.

 Drug abusers on supervision are never drug tested or treated.

The Florida Department of Corrections has one of the largest statewide comprehensive and random drug testing program in the nation. Correctional probation officers use drug tests to monitor offenders' drug and alcohol usage while on community supervision. In the period 07/01/2010 through 6/30/2011, the total number of offenders participating in Community-Based Substance Abuse Programs (Non-Secure, Secure, Outpatient) was38,277. The number of offenders participating in outpatient substance abuse programs totaled 34,219 or 89.4%

Total Offenders Participating in Community-Based
Substance Abuse Programs FY 2010-2011

In the period 7/01/2010 through 6/30/2011, the total number of offenders participating in Community-Based Substance Abuse Programs (Non-Secure, Secure, Outpatient) was 38,277. The number of offenders participating in outpatient substance abuse programs totaled 34,219 or 89.4%.

The department uses different methods to detect the use of drugs by an offender. On-site urinalysis and alcohol testing of the offender in the probation office is often administered.

The advantages of on-site testing are the results are known immediately, it is cost effective and it is a useful intervention tool that allows the officer to immediately address any concerns regarding substance abuse.

The number of drug tests decreased last year (bar chart below), as well as  the percentage of positive drug tests, going from 6.8% in FY 2009-2010 to  6.7% in FY 2010-2011.

Community Corrections Statewide Offender Drug Testing Over Five Years
The number of drug tests decreased last year, and the percentage of positive drug tests also decreased, going from 6.6.8% in FY 2009-10 to 6.7% in FY  2010-11

 Persons under supervision never pay restitution to victims.

The Department of Corrections has a computerized payment system into which payments from offenders are receipted and money is proportionally disbursed to victims, or "payees" of those offenders. At the onset of supervision, an offender has a financial obligation agreement established based on the payees he has been court ordered to pay (restitution, court costs, fines, costs of supervision, etc.)

Last fiscal year, the following court-ordered obligations were collected by the department:

Restitution and Other Monetary Obligations Collected
From Offenders Under Supervision in FY 2010-11
Total: $78,391,767.18*

Victim Restitution: $30,397,365 | Cost of Supervision: $19,316,989 | Fines and Court Costs: $17,895,803 | Other Court Ordered Payments: $11,081,608
* Community Corrections also collects other costs (crimes compensation, electronic monitoring, drug testing fees, surcharge, subsistence, and additional costs).

 Offenders never work in the community to pay back society for their crimes.

Offenders perform public service work in the community when ordered by the court. An offender who is under supervision provides public service work in the communities where she/he lives in the form of community beautification projects, construction assistance, work or services for public agencies such as the Red Cross, libraries, United Way and many other areas. These offenders are not recognizable to the person on the street as an offender because they are not required to wear a uniform as incarcerated inmates are.

Approximately 1,660,186 local and public service hours were completed during the period of 7/01/2010 through 6/30/2011 by persons under supervision. Based on the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (7/01/10 through 6/30/11), this equaled a cost savings of over 12 million dollars to the citizens of Florida.

 It is difficult to find out what the minimum qualifications for a (Florida) Correctional Probation Officer are.

The minimum qualifications for a Correctional Probation Officer are listed on the Florida Department of Corrections' Web Site at www.dc.state.fl.us. You can go directly to the Employment Section by clicking on Employment.

 Not many offenders are on supervision.

Actually, there are over 150,000 offenders on active supervision in the state of Florida. Community supervision in Florida is provided to adult offenders who are sentence to a supervision type imposed by: a criminal court, the Florida Parole Commission, or a contractual agreement between the State Attorney's office, the offender, and the Florida Department of Corrections. There are 1,919 Correctional Probation Officers (as of 6/30/11) responsible for the supervision of over 150,000 offenders under community supervision in Florida. For a detailed report on the number of offenders, types of offenses and geographical population visit the Community Supervision Population Report (www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/spop/).