U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System

Last updated

The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System, also called the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, part of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, is the probation office of the federal judiciary of the United States. It serves the United States district courts in all 94 federal judicial districts nationwide and constitutes the community corrections arm of the Federal Judiciary. It administers probation and supervised release under United States federal law enforced by probation officers.

Contents

History

The first legislation for Federal Probation Law was introduced in 1908, one of which was prepared by the New York State Probation Commission and the National Probation Association (later known as the National Council on Crime and Delinquency) and introduced before Congress by United States Senator Robert L. Owen of Oklahoma. The bill provided for a suspension of a sentence, in U.S. District Court, and a sentence of probation. The bill also provided for compensation of $5 per diem for Federal Probation Officers. This first attempt did not pass and through 1909 to 1925 there were 34 bills introduced to establish federal probation law.

In 1925, the Federal Probation Act was introduced by Senator Copeland as S.1042 and Representative Graham as H.R. 5195. The U.S. Senate passed in unanimously but the House passed the law by a vote of 170 in favor and 49 opposed. On March 4, 1925, President Calvin Coolidge, a former Governor of Massachusetts and very familiar with the benefits of a functioning probation system, signed the bill in law. This Act gave the U.S. Courts the power to appoint Federal Probation Officers and authority to sentence defendants to probation instead of a prison sentence. It later gave U.S. Probation Officers the responsibility of supervising offenders granted parole by the United States Parole Commission, military offenders and pretrial supervision. The responsibility of the United States Probation Service was first under the United States Department of Justice, under the supervising authority of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, however, in 1940 the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts was established and assumed the responsibility.

U.S. Pretrial Services came along more than 50 years later, in 1982, with the Pretrial Services Act of 1982. It was developed as a means to reduce both crimes committed by persons released into the community pending trial and unnecessary pretrial detention. Twenty three districts have both separate U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Offices. In the remaining 71 districts, the probation office provides pretrial services to the court.

United States Probation Officers, also referred to as Federal Probation Officers, are the largest cadre of Federal Law Enforcement Officers in the Federal Judiciary after the small division of Supreme Court Police who serve to protect the Supreme Court and its justices. [1] Despite their law enforcement status and authority within the federal government, their investigators are referred to as Officers, not Special Agents. The Federal Probation Office emphasizes their unique role as law enforcement officers and social case workers. They hold the responsibility to investigate and supervise persons charged with and convicted of crimes against the United States. They have statutory authority to carry firearms, make warrantless arrests of those under their supervision and have jurisdiction over felons convicted in federal courts.

Most districts require that all new officers attend the Probation and Pretrial Services National Training Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center soon after coming on board. Officers are eligible for a 20-year retirement and must be appointed prior to their 37th birthday because the mandatory separation age is 57. Almost all districts require prior experience in a similar field, a background suitability investigation, drug test, and medical examination as a pre-requisite for hiring.

Federal Probation is unique[ citation needed ] to other federal law enforcement agencies in that they are regionally aligned to their judicial districts, rather than a single headquarters element. All officers within a district report to their Chief Probation Officer or Chief Pretrial Services Officer, who in turn serves the Chief District Judge. The national element is the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Washington, DC, which provides administrative support to the courts, including staffing and other resources, and enforces policies promulgated by the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body of the Federal Judiciary.

Many districts have split their Probation Officers into Pre-Sentence Investigation Units and Supervision Units. Pre-Sentence Investigators conduct comprehensive investigations into the background of defendants convicted of federal crimes. Upon completion of their investigation, they are required to employ the sentencing guidelines and submit a sentencing recommendation to the presiding judge. Often, they are also asked to confer privately with judges regarding their recommendation. Officers assigned to Supervision Units supervise felons convicted of federal crimes who are released into society on either Supervised Release or Probation. Supervision Officers must enforce court ordered conditions and are mandated to use their discretion and skills to mitigate the offenders risk to society. Both Supervision Officers and Pre-Sentence Investigators deal with a wide range of offenders, many of whom have extensive criminal histories. Federal Probation Officers also represent the United States Department of Justice in the performance of duties connected with federal parole.

See also

Related Research Articles

United States Marshals Service Federal law enforcement agency of the United States

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is a federal law enforcement agency in the United States. The USMS is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Justice, operating under the direction of the Attorney General, but serves as the enforcement arm of the United States federal courts to ensure the effective operation of the judiciary and integrity of the Constitution. It is the oldest U.S. federal law enforcement agency created by the Judiciary Act of 1789 during the presidency of George Washington as the "Office of the United States Marshal". The USMS as it stands today was established in 1969 to provide guidance and assistance to U.S. Marshals throughout the federal judicial districts.

Imprisonment in law is the specific state of being physically incarcerated or confined in an institutional setting such as a prison. Courts of the United States, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have recognized that the minimum period in an indeterminate sentence that was actually imposed by a court of law is the official term of imprisonment. In other words, any "street time" that was ordered by the court as part of the defendant's punishment does not constitute term of imprisonment.

The judiciary of Germany is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in Germany.

Parole Provisional release of a prisoner who agrees to certain conditions

Parole is the early release of a prisoner who agrees to abide by certain conditions, originating from the French word parole. The term became associated during the Middle Ages with the release of prisoners who gave their word.

Probation in criminal law is a period of supervision over an offender, ordered by the court instead of serving time in prison.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Corrections agency of the US federal government

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a United States federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Justice responsible for the care, custody, and control of incarcerated individuals.

Mandatory sentencing requires that offenders serve a predefined term for certain crimes, commonly serious and violent offenses. Judges are bound by law; these sentences are produced through the legislature, not the judicial system. They are instituted to expedite the sentencing process and limit the possibility of irregularity of outcomes due to judicial discretion. Mandatory sentences are typically given to people who are convicted of certain serious and/or violent crimes, and require a prison sentence. Mandatory sentencing laws vary across nations; they are more prevalent in common law jurisdictions because civil law jurisdictions usually prescribe minimum and maximum sentences for every type of crime in explicit laws.

Probation and Parole Officers are officials appointed to investigate, report on, and supervise the conduct of convicted offenders on probation and or those released to community supervision such as parole. Most probation and parole officers are employed by the government of the jurisdiction in which they operate, although some are employed by private companies that provide contracted services to the government.

Administrative Office of the United States Courts Administrative agency of the US federal court system

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO) is the administrative agency of the United States federal court system. It was established in 1939.

New Hampshire Department of Corrections

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections is an executive agency of the U.S. state of New Hampshire; charged with overseeing the state correctional facilities, supervising probation and parolees, and serving in an advisory capacity in the prevention of crime and delinquency. As of June 30, 2013, the Department had an inmate population of 2,791, 15,267 on probation or parole, and 893 total employees, 470 as corrections officers and 64 as probation/parole officers. The agency has its headquarters in Concord.

DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000

The DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 is a United States Act of Congress that primarily allows US states to carry out DNA analyses for use in the FBI's Combined DNA Index System and to collect and analyse DNA samples.

A presentence investigation report (PSIR) is a legal term referring to the investigation into the "legal and social background" of person convicted of a crime before sentencing to determine if there are extenuating circumstances which should lighten the person's sentence or a history of criminal behavior which should increase the severity of the person's sentence. The PSIR is a "critical" document prepared by a probation officer who uses a system of allocating points to fulfill a number of purposes, including serving as a charging document and exhibit proving criminal conduct. It is said to be akin to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. In hindsight, PSIR is a system that is still widely recognized today in order to give someone a harsher or lesser sentence.

Criminal sentencing in the United States

In the United States, sentencing law varies by jurisdiction. Since the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land, all sentences in the US must conform to the requirements of the Constitution, which sets basic mandates while leaving the bulk of policy-making up to the states.

Austria in 2008 had 141 district courts (Bezirksgerichte) with civil and criminal jurisdiction. There were also 20 provincial courts (Landesgerichte) with civil and criminal jurisdiction and four higher provincial courts (Oberlandesgerichte) with criminal jurisdiction, located in Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, and Linz. The Supreme Court, in Vienna, acts as the final appellate court for criminal and civil cases. The Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof) has supreme jurisdiction over constitutional and civil rights issues. The Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgerichtshof) ensures the legal functioning of public administration. A central auditing authority controls financial administration. Judges are appointed by the federal government and cannot be removed or transferred. Trial by jury was reintroduced in 1951. There is no capital punishment.

United States federal probation and supervised release

United States federal probation and supervised release are imposed at sentencing. The difference between probation and supervised release is that the former is imposed as a substitute for imprisonment, or in addition to home detention, while the latter is imposed in addition to imprisonment. Probation and supervised release are both administered by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System. Federal probation has existed since 1909, while supervised release has only existed since 1987, when it replaced federal parole as a means for imposing supervision following release from prison.

Private probation is the contracting of probation, including rehabilitative services and supervision, to private agencies. These include non-profit organizations and for-profit programs. The Salvation Army's misdemeanor probation services initiated in 1975, condoned by the state of Florida, is considered to be among the first private probation services. The private probation industry grew in 1992, when "local and county courts began outsourcing misdemeanor probation cases to private companies to alleviate pressure on overburdened state probation officers."

Art Bowker, is an author and cybercrime specialist in corrections. His first book, The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections: Managing Risk in the 21st Century, describes the process of supervising cyber-offenders. Bowker cowrote his second book, Investigating Internet Crimes, 1st Edition: An Introduction to Solving Crimes in Cyberspace , with Todd G. Shipley. His second book provides step-by-step instructions for investigating Internet crimes, including locating, interpreting, understanding, collecting, and documenting online electronic evidence to benefit investigations.

Massachusetts Probation Service

The Massachusetts Trial Court Probation Service, more commonly referred to as the Massachusetts Probation Service (MPS), is the Commonwealth's primary supervisory law enforcement agency. Created in 1878, it is the first Probation agency established in the United States. The service was created based on the work of John Augustus, the Boston area bootmaker who is credited as the "Father of Probation".

Felony disenfranchisement in the United States Prohibiting criminals from voting in elections in the United States

Felony disenfranchisement in the United States is the suspension or withdrawal of voting rights due to conviction of a criminal offense. The actual class of crimes that results in disenfranchisement vary between jurisdictions, but most commonly classed as felonies, or may be based on a certain period of incarceration or other penalty. In some jurisdictions disfranchisement is permanent, while in others suffrage is restored after a person has served a sentence, or completed parole or probation. Felony disenfranchisement is one among the collateral consequences of criminal conviction and the loss of rights due to conviction for criminal offense. In 2016, 6.1 million individuals were disenfranchised on account of a conviction, 2.47% of voting-age citizens. As at October 2020, it was estimated that 5.1 million voting-age US citizens were disenfranchised for the 2020 presidential election on account of a felony conviction, 1 in 44 citizens.

Lifetime probation

Lifetime probation is reserved for relatively serious legal offenders. The ultimate purpose of lifetime probation is to examine whether offenders properly maintain good behavior as well as capability of patience under lifetime probation serving circumstance. An offender is required to abide by particular conditions for rest of his or her entire life in order to nurture superior social behaviour as a punishment for their criminal offence. Condition of probation orders contain supervision, electronic tagging, reporting to his or her probation or parole officer, as well as attending counselling. The essential component of lifetime probation carries the sense of being examined for well-being character and behaviour for life term period. Legislative framework regarding probation may vary depending on the country or the state within a certain country as well as the duration and condition of probational sentencing.

References

  1. Koerner, Brendan I. (2004-05-03), "Who Protects David Souter?", Slate, retrieved 2007-04-27.