The Probation Department plays a significant role in both the criminal and juvenile justice systems, working towards safer communities. It is essential that we develop and maintain effective partnerships with the Courts and law enforcement agencies that serve the various jurisdictions within the County. These partnerships also need to extend to the myriad of community service agencies that share our commitment to improving our community. Our approach is to never compromise our core values while continuously pursuing our mission and vision of our department.
Our Vision and Mission Statement
To elevate the quality of life for the residents of Schenectady County by creating safer communities; enhance public safety by providing effective community - based strategies that promote positive behavior change, accountability and law-abiding behavior.
Absconders Tip Line
The Schenectady County Probation Department needs your assistance in bringing absconders to justice. If you have any information on the whereabouts of any of the following absconders, please contact our confidential tip line at 518-388-4779 or you can contact us through the website.
Adult Probation Services provides services to the Courts, offenders, victims, families of offenders and the community in the form of Court reports and dispositional recommendations, as well as community supervision to adult offenders released/placed on probation. Victim services include victim impact statements, restitution determination, collection, and distribution.
- Adult Probation Supervision
The level of community supervision depends on the type of crime, as well as the risk and needs of the probationer, determined by evidence-based risk/needs assessments that are incorporated into an extensive report submitted for the court’s review. Referrals to treatment and counseling, case management, general and intensive supervision, drug testing, and electronic monitoring are aspects of community supervision that can be utilized dependent on various assessments. The Adult Probation Unit works in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and many community based agencies to assist probationers in successfully completing their terms of probation. Probation Officers also provide intelligence gathering activities for gang suppression, drug awareness, and gun involved crimes.
- Adult Probation Investigation
The adult investigation unit completes Pre-Sentence, Pre-Plea, Supplemental, and Certificate of Relief from Disability investigations for all of the criminal courts in the County of Schenectady. Adoption, custody and home study investigations are completed for Family Court. Investigations are a critical time intensive function of the Probation Department’s workload. Reports may require numerous contacts with family members, employers, schools, neighbors, victims, and counseling or treatment centers. The investigation report includes a comprehensive, evidence based assessment and classification process that details aspects of the subject and his/her family situation, current and past behavior patterns and experiences. The investigation assesses criminogenic need and risk factors as they relate to the individual’s likelihood of behavior change. Investigations aid courts in decision-making. The criminal investigation serves as a basis for the individual’s supervision plan as well as assisting jail/prison personnel in deciding facility placement and programming. Depending upon the nature of the crime addressed in an investigation, various assessments are completed. The Static-99 R, an actuarial tool utilized to assist with registration levels of convicted sex offenders is completed with the investigation, prior to sentencing. An investigation for a drinking and driving related matter will involve the use of the Impaired Driving Assessment, a screening tool utilized to identify DWI offenders risk of engaging in future conduct of impaired driving, and help determine the most effective community supervision that will reduce such risk.
- Pre-Trial Release
Release Under Supervision (RUS) program provides the Court an option to release a defendant to probation prior to the disposition of their court matter. RUS is designed to reduce unnecessary incarceration and expenditures by servicing individuals who would remain in jail for the want of a reasonable bail. Our RUS program works collaboratively with the Alternative Treatment Court, a specialty court that focuses on offenders with mental health issues.
- Ignition Interlock Device
Leanda’s Law went into effect August 15, 2010, requiring all persons convicted of drinking/driving offenses to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in any motor vehicle they operate. This includes persons sentenced to probation, conditional discharge, or to incarceration (upon their release from the correctional facility). The Schenectady County Department of Probation is the monitoring agency for all IID sentenced individuals in the county. A Probation Officer has the responsibility to monitor compliance with the installation order and service visits, and notify the court and District Attorney’s Office of any alleged tampering with, or circumvention of the ignition interlock device, report of any lock-out mode, and/or any report of a failed test or re-test where the BAC is .05% or greater.
- Collection of Restitution
The Probation Department is the designated agency for collection of court-ordered restitution, fees, and surcharges. It is the policy of this department to address financial obligations in a manner that is consistent with acceptable accounting principles that provide for the collection, deposits, disbursement, and recording of funds collected. The Probation Department assists the court in collecting victim restitution by enforcing restitution orders. The Department’s clerical staff collects restitution and disburses directly to the victim.
What is Probation?
Probation is an alternative to incarceration that allows sentenced individuals to live and work in the community, support their families, participate in counseling services and make restitution to the victims of their crimes. Probation is the most common sentence imposed by the courts in the United States. The Probation Department provides public safety through supervision, treatment and prevention. Probation Officers are peace officers with dual responsibilities of protection of the community and rehabilitation of the offender. The ultimate goal is long term public safety and the reduction of further victimization.
Is Probation the same as Parole?
No. Probation is an alternative to incarceration for selected defendants, although a short period of jail time may be included at the beginning of the sentence. Parole is an early release of a prisoner before the end of a New York State Prison sentence. In New York State, Probation is operated by County Government and Parole is operated by the State. Please visit: Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Does a person escape punishment by receiving Probation?
No, in fact, some offenders choose a jail sentence rather than be under probation supervision, because of the requirements and restrictions placed upon them. Probationers must obey the law, be suitably employed or in school, report to the Probation Officer as directed and allow Probation Officers to visit their homes. Many probationers are required to pay restitution, fees or complete community service. Treatment is required for those with a history of alcohol, drug or sexual offenses.
What are the rules for reporting to my Probation Officer?
You must report on the day and time your Probation Officer tells you to. If you have an emergency or illness that prevents you from keeping your appointment, call and speak directly to your Probation Officer or their Supervisor and get a new appointment.
What should I bring to my appointment with my Probation Officer?
- Photo ID (Driver License or State ID Card)
- Proof of where you live (utility bill, business mail, etc.)
- Proof of employment (pay stub, note from employer)
- Proof of changes, if any, to your name, address, phone, etc.
- Proof of any completed treatment, community service, restitution and charity contributions
What should I NOT bring to my appointment with my Probation Officer
- Drugs and/or Paraphernalia
- Firearms, Knives, Box-Cutters, Multi-Tools
- Aerosol Defense Sprays
- Any item carried with the Intent to bring harm to another individual
- Any Weapons Determined to be Contraband, Dangerous, or Unnecessary Recording Devices
- Cell Phones must be turned off
Why is it important that I participate in treatment?
Your Probation Officer may refer you to a treatment program. There are many different types of treatment. These programs will help you improve your situation—they are not a punishment. However, failure to cooperate with treatment may result in a violation of probation. You may not want to go to treatment. This is normal. Programs require your time and effort. The most important first step for you is to attend. Once there, if you approach treatment as an opportunity, you will get the most out of it. Give yourself the best chance for success.
What do I do if I am arrested?
If you are arrested, charged with any offense, or have any police contact, you must notify your Probation Officer within 48 hours of the incident. You may do this in person or by telephone.
Can I carry a firearm?
No. Probationer with a felony conviction may possess any type of firearms. There are also certain misdemeanor convictions that will restrict a probationer from owning any firearms. If you are subject to a Protective and/or Restraining Order or other court orders not to possess any weapons, you are expected not to own, possess or purchase any weapons or items that could be used as a weapon.
Do I have to give a DNA sample?
If you are notified by letter to give a DNA sample, follow all of the instructions in the letter about who to contact for an appointment and where to go for the appointment. You will need to bring two forms of identification to the appointment. Your refusal to give a DNA sample is a Class A Misdemeanor and can be a violation of your probation.
Is there a fee for Probation services?
Typically there is a $30.00 charge for supervision fees, A sliding scale is offered to individuals who may have certain financial difficulties.
Can I travel out of state?
You may not travel or move out of state without permission from you probation officer. You must obtain a travel permit and carry it with you while out of state. The decision will be based on your need to travel, and your compliance with your probation terms. Plan ahead, as you will need to give your probation officer at least 48 hours to review your request and prepare your travel permit.
What happens if a probationer violates the terms of the Probation?
The Probation Officer can impose a series of graduated sanctions when a person commits a violation. Many factors come into consideration, such as the seriousness of the violation, the history of the offender and the current circumstances. The sanctions can include more frequent contact with the probation officer, an increase in the level of treatment or even return to court on a violation of probation. The court may then impose additional conditions of probation or revoke the probation and impose a sentence of incarceration or placement.
What should I do after attending court and instructed to go to Probation Department?
You should go directly to the probation department and inform us you were instructed by the court to come to the probation department. Bring with you any documents received from the court so we can properly provide you with further direction. The secretary will then give you a Pre-Sentence Report Questionnaire or other documents to complete and return to us.
How long will it be before I see a probation officer regarding my Pre-Sentence Investigation report for the court?
Probation Department will notify you within a two week period with an appointment to come back to probation department for a PSI interview before you go back to court for sentencing.
The Schenectady County Center for Juvenile Justice is a partnership between the Department of Probation and the Department of Social Services to provide the most effective and efficient services to juvenile justice involved youth and families in Schenectady County. The Center is staffed with 20 full time Probation Department employees and 9 full time Department of Social Services employees. The Center provides intake services, investigations, supervision and community based interventions to our youth, families and victims
- Our Methods
We practice a Risk, Need and Responsivity Model that targets youth with a higher probability of recidivism. The highest risk youth receive the most intensive services specific to their needs. The goal is to deliver services and treatment programs in a style and mode that is consistent with the ability and learning style of the youth and family. Programs that provide structured social learning, family based training and cognitive-behavioral approaches have been found to be the most effective. The Center for Juvenile Justice receives funding from numerous sources that support the Center’s broad range of juvenile programming, which include the NYS OCFS, local DSS, & NYS DCJS. The Schenectady County Probation/DSS collaboration is very unique and is considered a model program for New York State.
The Center for Juvenile Justice continues to focus on the needs of the victims, accountability of youth, and safety of our community, by engaging our youth to take responsibility for their actions and repair the harm they’ve done to their community.
- PINS - Person in need of supervision
A person in need of supervision (PINS) is an individual under the age of 18 whom Does not attend school Behaves in a way that is incorrigible, ungovernable, or habitually disobedient Is beyond the control of a parent, guardian or lawful authority Is suspected of drug abuse Requires supervision or treatment
- What is Juvenile Delinquency?
Juvenile delinquency refers to participation in illegal behavior by minors (juveniles, i.e. individuals younger than the statutory age of majority). Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers, and courts.
- I have a concern about my child. How do I get help?
The Probation Department has someone available every business day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to discuss your situation and answer your questions. The intake worker is knowledgeable regarding community resources and will discuss whether the PINS Diversion Program is right for you and your family.
- My child leaves home without my permission. What can I do?
If your child has left home and you do not know his/her whereabouts, file a Missing Person’s report with the Police. Once you have filed a Missing Person’s report, and you continue to be unaware of your child’s whereabouts, call the Probation Department and ask for an intake worker. If appropriate, the intake worker will assist you in preparing a PINS Petition for the purpose of securing a warrant. If your child’s whereabouts are known, the PINS Diversion Program can help you determine an appropriate curfew for your child, support your child’s adherence to the curfew and address other possible behavior issues in the home. An intake worker would also discuss what community resources may be available to promote more pro-social activities for your child and/or services directed toward the specific needs of your child and family.
- My child will not attend school. What can I do?
You should first let your child’s school administration know that you are having difficulties getting your child to school and see what resources the school may have to motivate your child to attend. If attendance problems continue, your child’s school or you may contact an intake worker at this department to see if a PINS Diversion referral is appropriate for your child. A Probation Officer would works directly with your child, meet regularly with school personnel to monitor your child’s progress, set up supports within the school and work with you to see if there are any community services that might help address the issues behind the poor attendance. According to the Education Law, your child is legally responsible to attend the year in which your child turns 16. However, the Family Court does have jurisdiction of juveniles until they are eighteen and may require your child to attend school if the matter necessitates court intervention.