Manatee County recognizes National Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week, July 18-24
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (July 17, 2021) – Manatee County Government will recognize its own Pretrial and Probation Services Division and its many accomplishments during National Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week, July 18 – 24.
Manatee County Pretrial and Probation Services team includes four Probation Officers who screen nearly 300 pretrial clients monthly at the Manatee County Jail and 13 Probation Officers who supervise an average of 1,600 Pretrial and Probation clients a month. Despite the pandemic it’s been business as usual, says Jennifer Burgh, Probation Services Manager.
“Our programs are seven days a week,” Burgh said. “People who are arrested still have the right to go before a judge within 24 hours so we still had to be in court every single day and we still had to prepare the paperwork for them to be released every single day,” said Burgh.
Social-distancing requirements were resolved by quickly adapting to staggered work schedules and teleconferencing early in the pandemic in order to effectively monitor everyone and stay in compliance, the main challenge has been the growing mound of clients as a result of the court’s backlog.Pre-COVID, the average pretrial client was 90 days—usually anywhere from two weeks to as long as five years. Throughout the pandemic, with clients moving through the judicial system much more slowly, the average amount of time has doubled to six months, bringing the monthly client average up from 125 to about 175 per probation officer. Each client comes with unique circumstances and the probation team helps connect each to local resources that help them stay out of jail.
“We try to help them with any and everything we can—whether it is employment, housing, substance abuse, mental health, any of those things,” said Burgh.
One Probation Officer, Juan Borrero, explains that often clients look to them to provide multiple kinds of support.
“Besides Probation Officer, we become social workers, counselors,” Borrero said. “We try to counsel them and help them through that. I always tell my people when I see them after they finish their time in probation that I don’t want to see them again for probation. If you come to see me and say hello, it’s fine.”
Manatee County’s Pretrial & Probation Services Division supervises two diversion programs: Pre-trial intervention and DETER. They also facilitate monthly Victim Impact Panels, a Special Response Team and a Offender Work Program. The cost savings for keeping each person out of jail is approximately $101.72 a day.
Each year, the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) recognizes the nearly 100,000 public servants in the U.S. who work to improve outcomes, both for the individual and for the public safety of our communities. While much of the nation was shut down during at least part of the pandemic, Pretrial and Probation Services divisions across all 50 states have remained open.
For more information about Neighborhood Services’ Pretrial and Probation Services and its other divisions/groups, visit www.mymanatee.org/neighborhood.
For more information about the APPA, go to appa-net.org.
About Manatee County Neighborhood Services Department: Neighborhood Services provides a wide range of services focused enhancing the overall quality of life for Manatee County residents. Through Children’s, Aging, Veterans, Libraries, Underinsured Healthcare, Probation and Fee-Assistance Services, Neighborhood Services works to inform and connect residents of the non-profit agencies Manatee County helps fund and other resources available in our community.