Probation President Chief Richart’s Statement on Governor’s May Revise Budget Proposal Involving Probation
Probation is a Safety Net of the Justice System and Committed to Keeping Communities Safe
Sacramento, CA, May 14, 2020 – The Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) respond to Governor Gavin Newsom’s overall May Revise budget proposal impacting both adult and juvenile probation including the announcement to realign the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to county probation departments. CPOC President Chief Brian Richart issued the following statements:
“While we understand the unprecedented budget situation, these deep cuts will hurt Probation’s ability to continue providing sustainable community safety and the needed support to our client population. Probation, as the safety net for the justice system, has been navigating uncharted waters along with our community and state leaders to execute our public safety duties and help our clients. As we move forward into the next phase of the effects of this pandemic, we know there are going to be no easy decisions and competing interests and values will be balanced with the fiscal realities of the future. All measures will be complex and painful.
With the evolving economic impact and forecasts, the state needs to be judicious and thoughtful in how ongoing investments are made. Prioritizing spending on the most cost-effective and result-proven programs and services while maintaining high-value services to the community should be paramount. Probation’s focus on rehabilitation as a means to public safety, and individualized interventions as a method for success, have consistently resulted in cost-savings for state and local governments, with reductions in recidivism. This success is contingent upon being properly resourced to provide the necessary evidence-based supervision, support, and programming that have generated these positive results over the past decade.
We appreciate the Governor’s acknowledgment of Probation’s effectiveness and delaying his probation reforms until a comprehensive approach can be taken. We are committed to working with the Administration and legislative leaders to promote sustainable, affordable public safety and provide individuals under our care the support they need to help them succeed.”
Proposal to Realign DJJ to County Probation Departments:
The Governor today also announced his proposal to realign the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to county probation departments. In response, CPOC President Chief Brian Richart issued the following statement:
“We understand the Administration’s acknowledgment that Probation has the expertise needed to be able to shift DJJ to local probation departments. But this structure and the resources provided are simply not enough to make this work.
For us to utilize our expertise and proven success, it will take significant investment and resources from the state, especially during a time where Probation is being asked to make deep cuts in other areas while facing an increased workload. The youth at DJJ have the most serious needs, which if left unaddressed, pose the most serious risk to our communities. As evidenced by the low numbers of youth at DJJ, if probation currently had the services in place at the local level, we would be treating these youth locally already. While we might be professionally prepared for this, we are not financially and structurally prepared for it and this proposal, as written, does not do enough to get us there.
We do have the expertise to be successful. Our officers are highly trained to work with high-needs youth and we have a proven record of success with juvenile rehabilitation both in the community and in residential services. We have reached historic lows in detention and felony arrest rates, become more health and wellness-focused, and specifically trained to manage trauma especially concerning high-needs youth.
However, to be successful, this realignment must be properly planned, properly resourced, and operationally focused and requires a level of expertise with which only Probation has demonstrated proven success through our transformation of the juvenile justice culture. The best pathway for success is to rely on our expertise and ensure proper planning and resources. Not done correctly, the result will compromise public safety and failure of our most high-risk and high-needs youth.”
Since 2007, juvenile detention rates have fallen by 60% and felony arrest rates by 73%. Currently, 90% of the youth under Probation’s supervision are served in the community. County juvenile halls have the capacity to manage high-needs youth that need specialized care and services.
CPOC and the 59 Chief Probation Officers across the state are dedicated to community safety and ending the cycle of crime.
For more information about CPOC, please go to www.cpoc.org.
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