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MC Weekly

February 5, 2014

RAY MOSCOWITZ: College internship hooked Rice on probation career

Miami County chief helps offenders develop measurable goals.

(Continued)

A client meets with a probation officer and a case plan is developed, including a schedule regarding how often the client will be required to report. Specific goals and objectives are developed with the offender.

“Offenders typically leave the office with some specific requirements they need to accomplish prior to their next appointment,” Rice said. “At that next appointment, they will discuss progress they have made, or sometimes lack thereof, and develop new goals.”

An offender must report to his or her probation officer at different intervals, based on the offender’s individual case.

High-risk offenders need more services and basically more intervention through the department, Rice said. A high-risk client might be required to report weekly, a low-risk client once every couple of months.

Most offenders report to the probation office.

“Typically, most probationers are good about reporting for appointments,” Rice said. “They realize that probation is an alternative to being incarcerated, and the majority of them are compliant with reporting instructions.”

When a probation officer visits an offender’s home or work place, it’s usually because the officer has a specific reason to believe that the offender is doing something that violates the terms of his or her probation.

“For instance, if we suspected a client was using or manufacturing drugs within the home, we could go and search their home,” Rice pointed out. “We always take law enforcement with us when entering a client’s home.”

Each probation officer is responsible for reporting offender non-compliance to the supervising judge, Rice said. If an offender commits a relatively minor violation, the officer might choose to deal with the issue directly without involving the court.

“We can do things like require the offender to seek additional counseling, etc., without going [before] the judge,” Rice noted.

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