September 16, 2009
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
The Community Supervision arm of the Florida Department of Corrections is making huge strides in assisting offenders on probation to comply with conditions of supervision and improve their chances of succeeding.
In the last year, the number of offenders who committed a technical violation of supervision and were sent to prison decreased by almost 19% or 1,971 offenders (from 10,145 in FY0708 to 8,174 in FY0809). Examples of a technical violation include failing to attend treatment or to pay victim restitution, having contact with the victim when a special condition for “no contact with victim” is ordered, or leaving the state without permission.
In addition, the percent of offenders who successfully completed probation jumped 14.7 percentage points (29.4% in January 2007 to 44.1% in July 2009) in the last year and a half.
“I am encouraged to see the efforts of our probation officers who supervise offenders having positive results. By closely supervising these offenders, our officers are doing their part to keep our state safe. And the outcome is that offenders are successfully completing probation more often, which means fewer Floridians are victimized and fewer taxpayer dollars are spent to incarcerate or supervise them,” said Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil.
All 2,700 Florida correctional probation officers and supervisors have been trained in motivational interviewing techniques, which emphasizes how to motivate offenders to change their behavior and be accountable and successful. By using Individualized Supervision Plans (ISPs), the officer helps the offenders determine what they need to successfully comply with their conditions of supervision. Short and long-term goals are established and monitored.
“By using evidence-based practices like motivational interviewing techniques and Individualized Supervision Plans to address offender needs and goals, correctional probation officers are working closely with offenders to assist them with appropriate referrals to locate jobs, transportation, health services, financial assistance and a way to succeed,” said Jenny Nimer, Assistant Secretary of Community Corrections
Probation Officers are also coordinating and participating in local job fairs, locating community resources for their offenders and providing life skills training for offenders on basics like how to fill out an application, dress and communicate during an interview, or make ends meet on a tight budget.
The primary public safety goal of community supervision will always be to ensure offenders are complying with their terms of supervision. While probation officers continue to be vigilant in monitoring approximately 120,000 offenders on supervision statewide, our stronger focus on re-entry will better assist those willing to be helped.