SPOTLIGHT: “I wasn’t afraid of probation”
One Veteran’s Positive Journey Alongside Two Probation Officers
Probation embraces a human service approach toward supervision while focusing on the components associated with effective reductions in recidivism.
The Veterans Court in the Santa Barbara County Probation Department has successfully helped a client named Kevin. Kevin has completely changed his way of life and has consistently maintained a healthier lifestyle. Kevin was recently interviewed along with his current and former probation officers about how his journey and how the relationships built between client and officer helped achieve success:
Kevin a Veteran Treatment Court Client
Kevin expressed how grateful he is for the guidance he received from both Deputy PO Gerue and Deputy PO Medina. The impact Deputy PO’s Gerue and Medina have made on Kevin’s life will never be forgotten.
Kevin said, “both DPO Gerue and DPO Medina made themselves available to me and have been open to talking about anything I wanted to talk about. They both encouraged me to stay positive, ‘keep my head up’, and not worry about things out of my control. I trusted both of them… Both POs told me I could reach out to them anytime, and reassured [me] they would be available for me and that things would work out for the best.”
Deputy Probation Officer Gerue
Kevin’s Former Probation Officer, Deputy Probation Officer Gerue said, “when we first started working with Kevin, he and his girlfriend were new parents without housing, employment, or local family support… Through the various programs offered through VTC (Veterans Treatment Court), Kevin was able to acquire housing for his family…and treatment through therapy… [veterans] won’t fit into a cookie cutter program and each needs to be treated as an individual. Above all when working with veterans one must remember, they are veterans, and respecting them and honoring them as such goes a long way in developing a constructive relationship.”
Deputy Probation Officer Medina
“[Kevin] had such a strong rapport with the treatment team and his former probation officer that Kevin was willing to work with me at the onset of our first meeting. I maintained an open line of communication with Kevin and reassured him that the treatment team, probation, and I were all here to help support him. The more positive feedback and praise Kevin received, the more he was willing to work with our treatment providers. When a client knows you are investing time to hear their stories and struggles, I feel they are more inclined to listen to your advice and know Probation is working with them to better their lives,” said Deputy PO Medina, Kevin’s current officer.
Research indicates the quality of the officer-client relationship is a predictor of success on supervision.
Placing the focus on skill development and performance, through a supportive and trustworthy relationship helps create long-term behavioral change and positive choices.
Regardless of the barriers to success, Probation actively engages and works with clients to provide the treatment and resources necessary to address their risk and need factors.