Local probation supervisor to receive award in state ceremony
20-year veteran Jonell Casada is one of five recipients in the state to be honored.


In the San Benito Link by Robert Eliason

Jonell Casada, a San Benito County Probation Department supervisor at Juvenile Hall, is one of five people statewide who will be honored for their outstanding performance and significant contributions to the field of probation on Dec. 8 and 9 at the annual 2022 Chief Probation Officers of California Awards Ceremony in Santa Cruz.

“Jonell is a difference maker,” said Joe Frontella, the chief probation officer of San Benito County. “She is very unselfish and will work night shifts, holidays and weekends because she enjoys making sure the youths have as enjoyable an experience as possible. She’s very dedicated to their betterment within our community.”

“I’m pretty humbled by the honor and was a little taken aback,” Casada said. “I am pretty passionate about this work. I don’t brag about the things I do—I just do them.”

Casada, 48, has spent 20 years in service in San Benito County, starting as a dispatcher with the Sheriff’s Department before moving on to the Probation Department.

Frontella highlighted the Sacred Rok program, which allows some Juvenile Hall youths to go to the Pinnacles and Yosemite National parks to work with world-renowned rock climber Ron Kauk.

“The program is for kids who met the incentive goals and were doing well in the program,” he said. “They would be given a day of hiking, exploring, and learning about the outdoors, the environment, and the wilderness. Some of these kids had never been to the Pinnacles before, much less Yosemite.”

Casada also implemented programs to teach life skills that prepare the youths to be released into the community.

“We try to teach them things like how to get a job,” she said. “We will do mock interviews and record them so they can watch them back and see how they did and get comfortable with the process. We teach them budgeting: how much they need to get an apartment or a car, how much they need for food, and how much they need to save for vacations as well as planning where they would want to go.”  

For Casada, preparing the youths to go back into the community is the most important thing.