Prior to 1967, offenders that appeared before court for any criminal activities would be punished either by imprisonment or monetary fine, regardless of whether the offence was minor or serious.
The Probation Service was formed in 1967 for the purpose of managing pre and post sentence offenders and community service by:
- Managing offenders sentenced to terms of Probation Service
- Managing juveniles placed under supervision
- Servicing the Juvenile Crime Prevention Committee
- Servicing Court Hearings
- Prosecution of Breach cases
The Probation Service is mandated by the Criminal Justice Act 1967 and the Prevention of Juvenile Crimes Act 1968.
Probation is a form of suspended prison sentence of no less than one year nor more than 3 years imposed by the Court that in its discretion feels that it is in the best interest of the offender to be given an opportunity to rehabilitate. If the offender is uncooperative with their probation, the Court may impose a prison sentence.
The Probation Service Vision:
SUPPORT INDIVIDUAL WELL-BEING, BUILD HARMONY IN THE FAMILY AND ENCOURAGE POSITIVE COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS OUR FUTURE AND PRESENT WELL-BEING. TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT.
CURRENT/ FUTURE PLANS FOR ALL
As an individual:
- Make sure that offenders are held responsible for their offence/ wrong doing
- Build self-respect and confidence
As a family:
- Empower families to deal with their own problems
- Improve and strengthen family relationships
As a community:
- Support networking and Awareness programs
- Become more hands-on and positive towards our surroundings/environment
RESULTS FOR THE FUTURE
Reduce re offending
- Support for offenders returning to the community
- Promote safety and social order in the community
- Provide ongoing staff training and development
DUTIES OF A PROBATION OFFICER
The role of the Probation Officer is to advise the Court of the factors affecting a client, which are relevant to their sentencing for an offence.Â Probation Officers are responsible for providing this information to the Courts and checking that all such information is correct and presented appropriately. When advising the Court, the Probation Officer should consider only the following:
- The risk/needs assessment of the client
- The principle of least necessary intervention in the clientâ€™s life
- The reintegration of the client
- The safety of other people
- Individual deterrence
- Legal precedent
- Constraint imposed by the legislation (Sec. 7 and 8 of the Act)
HOW CAN A PROBATION OFFICER HELP?
- Give help and guidance on any problem
- Advise on rights and responsibilities
- Court matters
- Help budget and provide emergency help
- Provide training in social skills and personal development
- Apply to court to change special conditions or to cease the probation order
- Act as a â€œconscienceâ€ advice giver
- Liaise with specialist organization and act on probationerâ€™s behalf when needed, e.g. with lawyer or psychiatrist
- Arbitrate in home or job if needed
- Refer probationer to specialist help- e.g. AA, Marriage counseling
- Help to find a job and accommodation
- Exercise fair and consistent decisions
It is the duty of all Probation Officers to supervise all person placed under their supervision with a view to assist their social rehabilitation and preventing further offence.
PROVISIONAL SUPERVISION PLAN
This is when the offender and the PO discuss a proposal supervision plan.
a. Identify problem areas i.e. alcohol, drugs, psychological, etc.Â Discuss assess these areas.
b. Are they contributing to the offence?
c. If supervision, what additional conditions will be requested/ discuss with offender e.g. control of finances
d. Advise offender for second interview if something new or new information is added
BREACH OF PROBATION
Any probationer who commits an offence or is non compliant with conditions is liable to imprisonment for a period of:Â 3 Months or a $40.00 fine. Where any probationer is convicted, the High Court may in addition to or instead of sentencing the offender, do all or any of the following things namely:
(a) Extend the term of probation by any specific period not later than 3 years after the date on which that term began
(b) Vary any condition of the probation imposed by the High Court
(c) Impose any additional condition
Community Service is a service/help we offer to the community. A community service order may be imposed where an offender who is not less than 13 years of age is found guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment, for a term not exceeding 12 months. Work to be performed:
a) At any hospital or charitable educational institute
b) At the home of any old, infirm or handicapped person or at any institute for the old, infirm or handicapped persons
c) On any land of which the Crown or public body is the owner or lessee or occupier, or which is administered by the Crown or any Island Council or Village Committee
d) On foreshores involving the clearing of debris there from or the prevention of the erosion thereof
Probation Officers are also responsible for pre-release inquiries and preparing reports for the Parole Board. The Parole Board considers the cases of inmates subject to sentences of:
- Imprisonment for life for murder after the expiry of ten years from the date of reception, at least once in every 12 months thereafter.
- Imprisonment for life for every other offender after the expiry of five years
- If parole is granted parolees are released from prison to serve either the balance of their term in the community or if balance of imprisonment term is less than a year on Probation Supervision.
- When any inmate has served the full term of their sentence they shall be on probation for one year from the time of his release from prison.