A 2018 report indicated that the prison recidivism rate in New Jersey has fallen by nearly 20%. The data shows that less than 30% of offenders released are incarcerated again within three years. Much of this success has been attributed to improvements in the probation and parole programs in the state. Parole is a program that provides supervision of those who have recently been released from prison.
Probation is also a community supervision program that is designed as an alternative to incarceration for offenders. Probation staff assists the criminal courts in a critical role within the Judiciary. The Probation Department for Salem County was merged with Cumberland and Gloucester Counties to improve operational efficiencies. The counties do have separate staff responsible for supervising adult and juvenile offenders that are placed on probation.
What are the Common Conditions of Probation?
- A schedule for regular visits with the assigned probation officer is typically established
- A probation officer may also visit the offenders they supervise at their homes
- Offenders are to abstain from drugs and alcohol and there is usually a drug testing requirement
- Individuals may be required to appear for a drug or alcohol assessment and potentially attend a treatment program
- A probation fee of approximately $25 per month is required, which is in addition to any court-imposed fines or restitution that is ordered
- Offenders are generally required to maintain regular employment or be actively participating in educational or vocational training
- A required number of community service hours may need to be completed
Violating Conditions of Probation
Offenders who fail to remain compliant with the guidelines or conditions of probation may have penalties imposed on them. Offenders that are arrested on subsequent criminal charges can expect to have their probation revoked and may face a jail sentence. A probation officer or member of law enforcement may arrest offenders if they have probable cause to believe that a violation occurred.
Such arrests may be made without a warrant and the offender may be held in jail without bail awaiting their day in court. In some cases, offenders alleged to have violated the terms of probation will receive a written summons to appear before the court or an arrest warrant may be issued.
Hearings involving probation violations differ from many criminal proceedings in several ways. The standard or burden of proof needed to the allegations is a lower “by a preponderance of the evidence” standard rather than “by a reasonable doubt.” Judges are the ones responsible for making this determination, as a trial by jury is not an option. Often, the court may revoke an offender's probation and re-sentence the offender for the original charges.
Attorney Represents Those Facing Probation Violations in New Jersey
Those who have violated the conditions of a community supervision program may be face difficult consequences. Attorney Joseph D. Lento practices exclusively in the realm of criminal defense and he is also a former probation officer. His combination of experience and knowledge will help to achieve positive outcomes in these difficult circumstances. Feel free to contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a case consultation.