November 02, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Colorado probation attempts a shift in philosophy---
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"Colorado's Probation Division is five years deep in a long-term transformation geared at changing the way officers, supervisors, and everyone in probation thinks about his or her job and goes about doing their job", according to a report from Denver's ABC News 7. The director of Colorado's Probation Division explained that research and intensive studies began as early as 2008, in an attempt to increase the effectiveness of his agency. He describes the need for the shift, stating, "Historically, only a small amount of time is spent assessing the criminal's needs and behavior. A case plan is created with the majority of the focus placed on supervision. Probation has now inverted that pyramid, putting the largest share of the time on assessing the individual and tailoring a plan to help change their behavior."
Hearings and presentations were held in September, involving lawmakers and representatives from parole and probation departments, to address issues with the effectiveness of Colorado's parole system. The hearings were called in response to the recent killing of the former Department of Corrections Chief Tom Clements and Nate Leon, a father of three, by a parolee whose ankle monitor alerts were ignored during the acts.
The Director of Probation explained that ankle monitors aimed at catching re-offenders are not fool-proof. Based on his 30 years of experience in the business, he believes that, contrary to widespread public opinion, they do not prevent crime, and finds them to be "overrated." These are just a few of the reasons why the State of Colorado and its lawmakers are considering doing away with ankle bracelet monitors.
Enhancing the relationship between the officer and the individual is critical
The shift in philosophy, which parole and probation departments hope will result in less repeat offenses, is based on the idea that the relationship between the individual probationer and the officer is the most critical component, and that the relationship should be based on empathy and developing trust, having integrity, warmth and genuineness. In order to prepare officers for the development of better relations, training is provided, in the areas of motivational interviewing techniques, and officers are encouraged to get proactive. They also receive constant coaching by their supervisors.
According to ABC News 7, the Director of Probation believes "that's how you change behavior. Punishment is the least way to change behavior. Most people hear consequences in a negative sense. We don't talk so much about consequences." The department hopes to see a marked decline in crime and arrests.
A success story in the making
One Colorado man believes the new approach is working for him. He explained that he re-offended while he was on probation for the first time. His experience involved constant threats and little encouragement. His second experience was much different, as he felt that his probation officer was passionate about her job, and his success, and gave him "the right tools to succeed rather than trying to find anything to get someone screwed over," According to ABC News 7. He successfully completed probation and started college.
For those who are a part of the parole and probation system, repeat offenses can have a serious impact on your future. If you have been arrested, are currently on parole or probation, or have been accused of a subsequent offense, contacting an experienced defense attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
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