Probation is a sentencing option for the court in the case of certain crimes. A sentence of probation is given instead of prison time.
What is the difference between probation and parole?
Probation is a sentence imposed by a criminal or family court at the time of adjudication or sentencing. Probation permits the offender to remain in the community under conditions specified that the court and requiring supervision by a probation officer.
In contrast, parole is early release from incarceration for certain convicted prisoners. Parole is granted by a parole board. If granted parole, the parolee serves the remainder of his sentence back in the community under supervision of parole officers. Parole is a state, not a county function.
Is probation just a “slap-on-the-wrist”?
No. Adults and juveniles placed on probation must obey the law, attend school or be suitably employed. They must report to their probation officer as directed and allow these officers to visit their homes. If directed, they must make restitution or complete community service.
Treatment is required for those with a history of drug, alcohol, sexual abuse, psychiatric or psychological problems.
What kinds of offenses can lead to a sentencing of probation?
In criminal court the most common offenses committed by probationers are:
Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
Assault (including domestic violence)
Repeatedly driving without a license
Possession of firearms
Endangering the welfare of a child
In Family Court, adults are placed on probation for committing acts of domestic violence. Juveniles are placed on probation for committing an offense that if committed by an adult would constitute a crime; or after being found to be a Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) due to a pattern of ungovernable behavior.
What is restitution?
Restitution is monetary compensation paid to victims to reimburse them for loss, damage or injury as the result of a criminal act.
In Albany County, the probation department is the designated collection and disbursement agency for restitution collected not only from probationers under our supervision, but from inmates in both local and state penitentiaries and from parolees.
Are there sex offenders on probation?
Yes. In Albany County the majority of convicted sex offenders are sentenced to a term of probation. In view of this, the Department of Probation developed what has become a nationally recognized sex offender program that offers intensive supervision coupled with offense-specific treatment in an attempt to maximize community safety.
The department supervises both convicted adult and juvenile sex offenders. A wide range of interventions are employed, such as on-site group therapy, off-site individual therapy use of polygraph examination, computer forensics and surveillance to maximize community safety.
What happens if a probationer violates the terms of probation?
The probation officer has several options when the orders and conditions of probation are not followed. A series of graduated sanctions can be imposed, some examples include: more frequent contact with the probation officer; referrals for needed services; or the case can be returned to court.
What it ignition interlock?
An Ignition Interlock is a device that, when installed in a motor vehicle, prevents a person from starting the engine, or in certain cases from continuing to operate a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol. The device records numerous activities via photo and data including:
Attempts to start the vehicle
The alcohol level of the individual at the time of starting the vehicle
The alcohol level at random intervals while the vehicle is running
Dates and times the vehicle is operated.
Attempts to circumvent the vehicles interlock device
I have information about a probationer who is committing criminal activity. How should I report this information?
Consideration should always be given to reporting information on new crimes to the local police department. Any individual having information about a probationer may contact the general number (518) 487-5200. They will be directed to the appropriate staff person for receipt of the information.
What qualifications are required to become a probation officer?
Probation officers are college graduates appointed from a certified list of candidates who successfully passed the NYS Probation Officer Trainee civil service exam.Current job openings and information about civil service examinations can be found on the County’s Department of Civil Service website.